Anyone else have that one 'annoying' teacher?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DreamerSeeker, Feb 11, 2021.

  1. DreamerSeeker

    DreamerSeeker Rookie

    Mar 29, 2019
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    Feb 11, 2021

    I was subbing for a kindergarten class. The regular teacher (let's call her Mrs. T -for teacher) was in the hall outside pulling students one-at-a-time for reading assessments, and she would come in the classroom periodically to "check in" and see how things were going while I was subbing. Well, here are some things that happened:

    1. When I first arrived in this class, Mrs. T. was explaining the day's lesson plan for me, but she was doing it in a way like I was a 5-year old. "You have to follow the plan exact, ok?" "So when it says math begins at 9:45, you do math at 9:45, ok?" "When it's time to read to them, the book is right here, ok? Page 2, ok?" etc. As often as she says "Ok?" and the tone she says it in, you'd swear she is talking to a toddler.
    2. Her class had "cooperative games" that day. I was not aware of what that was, so I asked Mrs. T. and she looked at me like I was dumb and said "Well, it's only for kindergarten and you must have taken a kindergarten class to do it before." I assured her that I sub for all grade levels prek-12 at several schools and (as rarely as I sub specifically for kindergarten), I coincidently never had a class do "cooperative games". Mrs. T. just brushed me off, and I still to this day don't know what "cooperative games" is nor have I had any other kindergarten classes since then do it.
    3. During the class' silent 'read-to-self' time, I kept the classroom lights on because it's better for their eyes and they can see their books better since the classroom would have been dark with very little natural light from the only window in the room. Mrs. T. walks in and firmly tells me "I always have the lights off during this time." Like I magically just knew her routine of things.
    4. Before silent reading, I told a kid he could do work on his morning work first since he came to class late and didn't get to do it. And it was just 5 problems, so I figured, no big deal if he works on them real quick before reading... Mrs. T. sees the kid doing it and scolds him "You know this is for morning time only. Put it away and get your book out!" The poor kid tried to tell her that the sub (me) told him he could, but his words went in one ear and out the other. Then she went back into the hall. I told the boy it was my fault and I apologized to him for getting him in trouble. I didn't know it was that big of a deal.

    Is it just me, or does Mrs. Teacher have some...issues? Out of 8 schools and hundreds of teachers, she is the only one I can't stand.
  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Aug 23, 2005
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    Feb 11, 2021

    Cooperative games are a mainstay in elementary education. I'm really surprised you haven't come across that term before, but it simply means players work with one another in order to achieve a common objective. The goal of a co-op game is to reduce emphasis on competition and increase emphasis on the social aspects of play or learning. In cooperative play, you don't play against each other, you work together to solve a problem or meet a common goal. I agree she could have been better in explaining it, but as a teacher, I'd be surprised too if a sub who says they work K-12 didn't know what cooperative games are. I've used those at every level in elementary school.

    In all fairness, she did tell you that you needed to follow the schedule exactly. If the time for morning work was past, letting a student go back and do it is changing the schedule, she had specifically requested that you follow the schedule exactly. If I had asked a sub to stick to the schedule exactly, and then she didn't, I would say something, too.

    You may not realize this but in some schools (like the last one I worked at) the teachers are required to stick to a specific schedule "to the letter." They aren't allowed to change it, and if they are required to cover A, B, and C by 9:45am, and it doesn't happen, then their kids miss out, because tomorrow, they MUST move on to D, E, and F. In my former elementary school, if math started at 10:15am, and admin walked in at 10:17am and you were still finishing reading, you would be written up and it would be reflected in your evaluation. If a sub got us behind, we weren't allowed to go back and cover the material -- we had to move on. Maybe she is under this type of pressure. Many schools, and some districts, are.

    It sounds like you didn't have a pleasant experience, and that is unfortunate, but when the classroom teaching is pulled out into the hall to do reading assessments, they are still the ones who get blamed next week when they discover the sub got off schedule, and the kids are behind. In kindergarten, routines are everything. I agree she should have been nice when telling you about the lights, but just reading the words "We always turn off the lights" just sounds like she was providing you with information she hadn't given you previously, and you took offense.

    Being a sub requires following a plan exactly, being flexible, changing on a dime when needed, and having a thick skin. I know sometimes you barely have any plans left for you, and in other classes, they are incredibly detailed and must be followed to the T. Those are just the reality in subbing.
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Sep 16, 2010
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    Feb 12, 2021

    I agree with everything Rainstorm told you.

    There are always two sides.
    1. You felt she told you like you were a 5 year old and were too mature to have the schedule requirements told to you in that manner yet you failed to follow it. Teacher's perspective - she told you as simply, directly, and repetitively as she could, and you couldn't follow the basic direction.
    2. "Like I was dumb" - Again with determining her intent - I agree she should have told you what it was when you didn't know, but if the directions in the plan told you the kids were to work together, you had the information you needed to do the job and could look up cooperative games on your own time. Why did you still not know what they were when you can google it?
    3. Firmly - again, your interpretation, not necessarily her intent - I am not sure why you have an issue with her telling you the classroom routine when she is there to do so.
    4. See number 1 - You didn't follow the schedule. You got caught. You caused the child to feel bad because you didn't follow the basic directions provided to you.

    No. I don't think the teacher had the issue here. I think you prefer not having monitoring when you sub so you can do things the way you feel best at the time. In this case, you had to follow the direction and be monitored by the teacher because she was still there seeing you "follow the plans".

    I also think you ascribe intent based on your own emotions which is not a good thing.
    My opinion of the proper way to address the day is:
    1. Teacher reiterates that the schedule must be followed exactly. You should interpret this as it is very important.
    2. Note to figure out what cooperative games are. Read the plans carefully that day.
    3. You should thank her for the directions, turn out the light, and mentally note her routine for the next time you sub in her class. Keeping routines is important.
    4. Remember you are supposed to follow the schedule which she said to you in multiple ways even if you think you are doing something good.
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

    Apr 29, 2008
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    Feb 12, 2021

    So what would have happened if she was actually OUT of school and not there to "supervise" you? Nothing would have happened! It would have been fine. if you started at 9:46 the world wouldn't end LOL
    I think her tone could have been a bit better. She is probably just one of those people.
  6. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Feb 12, 2021

    Before getting too upset, is this person like this to everyone or just you? If it's just you, it might be beneficial to have a conversation before subbing for her again. If she's that particular about how things are done (e.g. lights off), then that information should have been provided to you beforehand.

    On the flip side, some people are just like that. It's not meant to be offensive, they just come off as brusque and demanding. One of the people I work with at my side gig sounds a lot like this teacher. It's just how she is with everyone. SO had been working with her for 7 years and she still talked to him like a child until after she found out I was a teacher too. Now that we're "peers" in our "real jobs", we're addressed as adults. Some people find it hard to get out of teacher mode.
  7. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

    Oct 25, 2014
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    Feb 15, 2021

    While a little annoying perhaps, this seems like it's probably just the result of working with kindergarteners all day. It can be hard to "turn off" the teacher voice when you work with younger kids - I've had to stop myself a few times from saying things to my husband that are frequent phrases in a 1st grade classroom. I doubt that was a reflection of you.

    Google is your friend. While I don't know specifically what "cooperative games" might mean in her classroom, the name itself seems... self explanatory. It seems highly likely that, had you read the plans carefully or done a quick Google search, you would have found a decent explanation of what students were expected to do. Reiterating to the teacher that you don't know what that is and that you've never seen that before in another class isn't particularly helpful, and frankly makes it seem like you don't want to put the effort in to do what's being asked of you as a sub. What would have done if she had not been there? Not knowing something is not an excuse to ignore it; it means you need to figure it out and use the resources at your disposal to do the best you can to follow the plans you've been given.

    Was this piece of routine in the lesson plans? Did any of the students mention it?
    If not, then yes, it's frustrating to feel like you've been told off for something you had no way of knowing. Turn the lights out and move on.
    If so, then this is on you. You were given the information about the routine, so it's your job as a sub to follow it even if it seems weird to you. Kids love reading in the dark. Yeah, it's counterintuitive and probably bad for their eyes, but it won't kill them and often they're more engaged with little tricks like just turning out the lights.

    You said yourself at the beginning that Mrs. T asked you to follow the schedule exactly. In your own classroom, you're absolutely free to change the routine however you see fit. In someone else's room, you follow theirs even if you disagree or don't see any harm in changing it. It's good that you apologized to the student, because it genuinely was not his fault. If the plan says morning work is morning work and follow the schedule exactly, then it's not really your job as the sub to make allowances.

    I totally understand your frustration, because subbing can be hard enough without the teacher present to tell you what you're doing wrong. Personally, I can't imagine coming into my classroom on a sub-covered work day and telling them they're doing things wrong. But I would also be very irritated to come back and find that the sub had ignored basic instructions about the daily routine. Sometimes subs don't get to everything, and that's fine. Plans don't always have enough information and you have to wing it (I've been there as a sub; you make do with what you have). But if the plans are clear, it's your responsibility to read them carefully, multiple times throughout the day, to ensure that you're as close to them as possible. Kids need routine -- especially younger kids -- and bucking them for even a day can cause weird problems for the teacher.
    RainStorm and a2z like this.
  8. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

    Jul 31, 2019
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    Feb 20, 2021

    I think Mrs. T sounds like a control freak personally. We had 1 like that at our old school and the T stood for Tolerate. Everyone pretty much had to tolerate her. I was always thankful just to have a sub. If a kid had not completed a morning assignment, I'd be happy he finished it. If she is the only 1 that you can't stand, then it is her. I'd try to block her sub requests if you can.

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