Das Continues Substituting Virtually



Since August 28, 851 substitute teachers have supported the continuity of education for Loudoun County Public Schools’ students. Substitutes have covered 26,810 jobs for teachers and other staff; 246 substitutes are assigned to specific buildings each day and 111 are working, or have worked, as long-term substitutes.


School-based substitute coordinators and administrators have said repeatedly that they would not be able to meet the in-person and distance-learning needs of all of our students without the support of substitutes. Substitutes have attended technology training, trained on-the-job in Schoology and Google Meet and worked online and in-person.


One of these substitutes is Reena Das at Moorefield Station Elementary School. She has subbed for four years, mostly at Moorefield. Since September 2019, she has worked 858 hours and completed 121 job assignments. Das has worked in special education, second grade, kindergarten and completed a long-term substitute assignment from October 2019 through November 2020.


Das said recently that teaching through distance learning and hybrid models is different, yet the same, to how she taught pre-pandemic.


“Subbing in a virtual or hybrid environment is completely different from teaching in person. However, when it comes to making connections, it's the same everywhere. Perhaps you can't help students physically, but I believe that when you feel the joy of doing something, it shines through. I look forward to seeing the kids and helping them out in any way I can - whether it's through a screen or in person.


“I don't deny that it's a new normal - but I prefer to take it as a challenge, stay positive and have fun.”


Das said she let’s her students know she’s their friend.


“There's no shame in asking a fifth-grader how a breakout room works or asking a kindergartner what they had for lunch. Play freeze dance with the young ones and challenge the older kids with technology questions. It all helps.”


Das doesn’t see her role as a substitute as something less than a full teacher. (She holds a master’s  degree in English and a bachelor's in education.)


“I take immense pride in my work. I make it my purpose to fulfill the plan the teacher has left for me when I am in school. The thought that I am just a substitute has never crossed my mind. My aim has been to offer a safe and engaging environment for the kids - even if it's for a day. I know that the teachers feel that energy and are comfortable knowing that their kids are in safe and trusted hands during their absence.


“My wonderful teachers have accepted and trusted me with anything and everything and I feel blessed for the numerous opportunities they send my way every day. I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for them.”






Published December 23, 2020