Substitute teacher shares love of learning

Frequent substitute teacher Greg Soppet goes over the day's lesson plans in Mrs. Fields' class.

Lizzie Miller, Pitchfork

Frequent substitute teacher Greg Soppet goes over the day’s lesson plans in Mrs. Fields’ class.

“Students have needs, some of which are different or special,” long-term sub Greg Soppet said. “As a teacher I was hopeful that I would meet those needs.”

When the teachers of Duncan are hindered in some way from making their way to the school, there is almost always someone to step in and fill their place. This year one such substitute has greatly made his presence known throughout the corridors to both students and faculty alike.

“He has good control of his classroom,” financial clerk Sheryl Chapman said.

Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, Soppet has been a substitute teacher for the past 20 years, starting in Lawton and moving to California before making his way back to Oklahoma, where he continues with both his education, and educating.

Soppet is currently pursuing an education in theology at a school of ministry. This is a part of his attempt at lifelong learning. He believes that it is his constant learning that helps to prepare him for his teaching, especially for his long-term positions, such as psychology teacher Sarah Ivey’s class.

“I’ve had an interest for teaching from the time I graduated high school,” Soppet said.

Soppet has maintained two different long-term subbing positions this school year. He subbed for Ivey during the first nine weeks of school while she was on maternity leave.

“He was very resourceful,” Ivey said. “I appreciated his willingness to step in when I could not be there.”

Later that semester Soppet took the subbing position for Amy Worsham, who has left staff.

According to those who have worked around Soppet during his subbing periods, his background knowledge in multiple subjects has greatly benefitted his teaching prowess.

“Psychology was something I had an educational background in,” Soppet said. “Some of the things it offers in the school’s curriculum I already know.”

However, as a lifetime learner, he is still attempting new things from subbing.

“Ms. Ivey’s long-term assignment allowed me to do grading, quizzes and tests,” Soppet said, “which I had not done before.”

Recently, Soppet left his position as long-term sub for family and consumer sciences class, which has now been put in the care of newly employed teacher, Pam Menz. During his time there, Soppet had the opportunity do many things new to him, contrary to his position in psychology.

“I was interested in letting the students do things in the kitchen,” Soppet said.

Much to his disappointment, when he first arrived there were no working stovetops or ovens. According to him, it wasn’t until mid-December that they came into use in the class.

Despite the many challenges that are faced as a substitute teacher, Soppet has continued to push forward, and he plans to keep going for as long as he is able.

“One thought I have always wanted to share is that I appreciate what teachers do,” Soppet said. “Filling their shoes on a daily basis is a difficult task.”