Sarah Rahija is a substitute teacher in the Lawrence School District, and this is her second year with MHED. Sarah consistently receives positive feedback from teachers and is frequently requested. The students love having Sarah as their substitute teacher and also say hi to her when she is out and about in Lawrence. Sarah recently completed a short-term job for a school and was a tremendous help. Thank you, Sarah for all that you do.
Why did you become a substitute teacher? What is your background or other jobs you’ve had?
I became a substitute teacher for multiple reasons. Teaching has been my calling for as long as I can remember. I tried teaching my two-year-old sister to read when I was six, took over teaching the music program of Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at 16, and majored in elementary education at Emporia State University. Along the way, I have been a tutor in school and private settings, led and written curriculum for children’s ministry programs, volunteered in my own children’s classrooms, and work with a middle school theatre program. I was a stay at home mom for 16 years, and substitute teaching gives me a way to pursue what I love, with the flexibility to still be a classroom parent and do my other job (office manager at my church)! It is important to me for kids to know that someone cares about them that is not obligated. I love being a trusted face in the lives of these kids!
What is your favorite grade level/subject to teach?
I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites, but I love doing special Ed, EDBD, 1-3 grade, 6-7 grade, and elementary music.
What do you feel the students like most about you when you fill in as the teacher?
I think my students like that I can provide structure and still be fun. I care about their stories, and I can jump right in and teach in a way that is accessible for them! I also bring my Mary Poppins “bag of wonders,” which contains things like my favorite books, thinking putty, sugar-free gum, stampers, fun writing tools, and other treasures!
What do you do in your free time when you aren’t working?
I typically substitute three to four days a week, work my office job one to two days, volunteer with the theater kids and church kids, and hang out with my family. Between laundry and meal prep, I love watching crime dramas and historical series (Call the Midwife!), napping, and I like to plan crafting activities … I’m terrible at completing my projects!!
What have been some of your biggest accomplishment in life?
I hate these types of questions … When I asked my husband for input, he looked at me incredulously and pointed to himself in disbelief … So, I guess my greatest accomplishments are: landing a great husband, having and keeping four exciting kids alive and mostly thriving, and still enjoying my life (most days — I DO have three teen/preteen daughters!!)!
Tell us about your family.
I have a wild and crazy family: my husband is a web developer for a great ad agency in Overland Park. We have a newly licensed 17-year-old daughter, a delightfully kind 13 year old daughter, a sweet 11 year old daughter, and a crazy seven year old son. We all wear glasses, love music and playing it together, and are a hard bunch to find something to watch together that we all enjoy. We love laughing together, at memes, dad jokes, farts, and embarrassing/fun stories — subbing provides me with great fodder for this!!
Tell us something unique about yourself.
I have a couple of really neat tricks … I can catch the side seam of my jeans on the strike plate of the laundry room door … My sneezes sound like tiny elf sneezes and usually come in sets of three … I can stand “in the way” in almost any place I visit – it might be my best life skill!
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