Subbed for the first time and it actually wasn't a disaster.

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Brian of the Hills, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Brian of the Hills

    Brian of the Hills Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2018

    Actually... it was a whole lot of fun.

    I am following up on my post earlier this week about how anxious I was feeling in the days leading up to today. I first want to thank the members of community who offered insight and support. I feel like it might do some good to write and reflect on today and what it did for my confidence going forward.

    So I arrived at the office and spoke to the secretary and sure enough, they were expecting me. That was a massive relief because I heard nothing from this school since I accepted the job online, and I didn't have any prior experience to tell me whether or not that was weird and whether or not I should be freaking out. It might sound silly to you more seasoned folks, but during the hiring process no one really explained the formalities to me except for, well, you guys, after I made that post three days ago. So it was nice when I walked in and gave them my name and the secretary didn't say "Huh? Who?"

    After receiving the keys for the classroom I walked inside about half an hour before the first bell and let out a long, grateful sigh when I saw incredibly detailed lesson plans for each of the three periods that day. All the materials had little Post-its on them with information about what period they were for and quick notes on what the students are supposed to do with them. The plan for the day was simple: students copy the agenda on the whiteboard (already set up by the teacher) and then can devote the period to working on a group project.

    The gist was that the class was social studies with an emphasis on speaking Spanish in the classroom. The kids were learning about Judaism and had a project to collaborate and create a scroll detailing the accomplishments of the kings of Israel: Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon. Each student in a group was assigned one king and after they finished their piece of the scroll they had to combine it with the other members' pieces. The assignment itself was administered in Spanish, the students were to write the information on the scrolls in Spanish, and in the plan the teacher suggested I encourage the students to speak Spanish to each other as they worked. He even had these little "coupon" things that I could hand out to students for good behavior and an effort to speak Spanish. I didn't know what the students could redeem them for, but when I held one up in my hand and explained I would be listening for Spanish, they stared at it with such a hungry gleam in their eyes.

    My Spanish is hot garbage however, so I mostly spoke to them in English (which the plan said was fine if I didn't speak the language) and English more or less dominated the classroom that day. I knew the kids would want to chat it up and be a little rowdy since I'm just the sub, so I let them talk save for occasionally suggesting we might want to keep it down. I spent most of the period walking among the groups, dropping in and asking them about which Israeli king they were writing about and what they could tell me about him. And sometimes I joined in on the idle chit-chat. A lot of these kids are into Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which I read long ago and thoroughly enjoyed so it was nice to have that common ground.

    I did make my fair share of dumb mistakes. I wrote my name on the whiteboard but completely forgot to introduce myself-- I had to answer the "Um, what's your name?" question a lot in the first ten minutes of the group work. I forgot where the faculty bathroom was and was so embarrassed to ask I held it in all day. Definitely not doing that again. Some of the students couldn't finish their project in time, so I told them I would be in the room during lunch if they wanted to join me and finish it then. Not really a mistake I think, but I didn't know whether or not I was out of bounds when I made that judgment call.

    One girl began to cry in one of the classes, for a reason I missed while I was checking in on another group. My mind nearly went blank. I had no idea how to handle this. I knelt by her and asked her quietly if she wanted to step outside. She shook her head. I asked her if there was anyone she wanted me to call, and she shook her head. She was surrounded by her friends, however, and much to my relief when I checked back in with their group five minutes later she was laughing with them.

    I think I lucked out really hard on this one. The staff I met were very warm and accommodating. The students had strong personalities and were very energetic and enthusiastic, as well as endearing and respectful. The neighboring teacher checked in once in a while to see if I was doing okay. I spoke to him later after leaving a letter for the teacher I subbed for and thanked him. I then explained to him that was my first time subbing.

    "First time EVER?" he asked.
    "Yep," I said.
    He suggested I drop my name and contact information so they could contact me directly if I ever wanted to come back. I really liked the sound of that, so I did. When I walked outside to make my way back to the front office, some of the students still meandering around saw me and shouted my name and waved at me. That felt so damn nice. They were great kids and I had a great first experience as a substitute teacher. I sub for a high school science class tomorrow and Friday so I wonder how that will compare. But I don't feel so scared anymore.

    Thank you for sticking it with me to the end of this post! I'm feeling really good right now and wanted to share the vibes with the community here. See you around!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
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  3. Anonymous425

    Anonymous425 Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2018

    That is good to hear. I will be starting to sub next week.
     
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  4. Brian of the Hills

    Brian of the Hills Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2018

    Good luck! You got this!
     
  5. Anonymous425

    Anonymous425 Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2018

    Thank you!
     
  6. Elena3

    Elena3 Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2018

    Nice job Brian of the Hills! Trying something new is always difficult and anxiety inducing. Buy anxiety goes away after you do it a few times. Have confidence that you can do this and you’ll be fine.
     
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  7. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Mar 29, 2018

    I'm so glad your first sub job went so well! It sounds like you did a great job. Want to come sub for me in CA? :)

    I just came back from being out sick, and found out that my sub wrote the directions on the board and sat down with his feet up on my desk and watched a movie on his laptop with earbuds in. The whole day. I have had several reliable students tell me about this in confidence, separately, so I believe it to be true, sadly. What a horrible message to send to the kids!
     
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  8. Brian of the Hills

    Brian of the Hills Rookie

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    Mar 30, 2018

    I'm sorry to hear about that! I feel like I have to engage with the kids for, if not their own, my sake. I would get so restless and bored without any interaction.

    I am from CA myself but given how vast the state is I'd be surprised if we happened to work in the same district. But if the stars align I am happy to get work!
     
  9. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Apr 3, 2018

    Just curious, is this a religious school or public?
     
  10. Brian of the Hills

    Brian of the Hills Rookie

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    Apr 4, 2018

    Public!
     
  11. Anonymous425

    Anonymous425 Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2018

    I subbed this week for the first time and it's going well. Working on the playground before this really helped me.
     

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