Are all subs like this?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by AdamnJakesMommy, Feb 23, 2014.

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  1. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Ok, so far this year I have had 2 *scheduled* sick days--both to take my newborn for well-checks--and also scheduled my other sons, yes sons, and any appointments for myself the same day--which is why I took the whole day--plus the doctor's office is 50 miles from the town I work in...

    Anyways, the day before I type SPECIFIC instructions on what I want my students to do. The two subs have gone off and done their own things. I leave relatively simple things I think would be appropriate for a uncertified sub to handle, example:

    9-10 science. The students will play popcorn reading pages F90-98, it is a "game" where the students take turns reading, calling on someone randomly to pick up where they left off. The kids will absolutely know what to do. Stop periodically and ask them questions to make sure they are following along. After reading, they will work with partners on the XYZ activity (worksheet).

    What happened instead?

    In core 1...
    The kids didn't get to read at all--which is important because I have low readers who perform better when there is a read aloud. Then, they were NOT allowed to work with partners and had to work independently on the worksheet. Then the kids told me she gave them all of the answers.

    I'm sure the last point was exaggerated.

    They told me the sub said "everyone does things their own way" Say what? This is MY classroom, I expect for you to facilitate my lesson plans the way I instructed as it is best for my kids. I don't have the subs teach anything, but I do expect that they at least do the monitor activities and have the students do the work in the way I ask.

    Then for math I wanted them to do problems 1-15 odd, she had them do it all. I specifically wanted the even problems not done so they could solve those "another way." UGH.

    Again all of this was typed in a clear, coherent way.

    Core 2...

    Same as the first, except for one new twist. According to the kids the sub answered her cell phone and had a conversation. ?? A non-emergent conversation, according to them. Now I am a mother to three boys, sometimes I get an important phone call, but I hit ignore until the kids are out of the room OR if I feel it is an absolute emergency, I will give them some quick basic work and then go to my classroom phone and call whoever has the emergency. It may or may not be more professional, but I don't think it is ever appropriate to answer a cell phone.

    Now, I'm not one to make waves for anybody. I am NOT reporting anybody. I can get over the phone call, I can get over telling them the answers--I just won't ask this individual to sub for me again. But is it customary for subs to NOT read the lesson plans and just do whatever they want? If I were subbing I would want to do everything precisely as the teacher left them...but that's just me.

    My first sub this year deviated from the lesson plans too, but I'm thinking more because she got there late and started class before she read the info because 2nd core went more according to plan...
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I have had some doozies for subs. Unless I know the sub, I more or less assume that they are semi-literate at best, and that nothing I leave will go the way it is supposed to go.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sorry you had a crud experience. Even if you don't report this, do you have a way to keep this person out of your classroom? Following directions is the best way for a sub to stay in the good graces of teachers. I will admit, once when I was a sub for a week, I cut corners on one assignment direction. I was not invited back to her room again. Totally understood why. Always followed directions in every other class after that and was up to my eyeballs in work until I took my full time job.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Is it possible the behaviors in your class didn't allow for popcorn reading on the day in question?
     
  6. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    She said there were no behavior problems at all. The classes love doing this so I'm sure it was at this point the kids said "Mrs. AdamJakesMommy" does it this way---and sub said "we all do things differently."

    And it is not really a game--the expectations are total silence so you know when you are called if someone calls you out.
     
  7. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I have had some amazing subs... but this year, both of the subs I've had have been total busts. Neither followed my plans and neither followed the very basic instructions I left such as "please pass this out." As a result, my kids didn't get their review sheets the class before a test... because they couldn't be bothered to pass out a sheet. Very frustrating.

    But I assume these are anomalies. I've had fantastic subs before... if our system allowed requests, I'd request them every time.
     
  8. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Yes I can control if she is in my room or not, we call in our own subs. I am new to the district so I don't know who to call or who not to call.
     
  9. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Are these retired teachers? When I was in NC, the majority of our subs were retired teachers, and I discovered pretty quickly that they ignored my plans.
    Giving answers was a VERY common problem. I stopped leaving anything that I had hoped to take a grade on.
     
  10. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I leave plans for a sub, and hopefully more work than the kids can possibly accomplish in a day.

    If the sub chooses to do something different, as long as he or she keeps the class under control I'm happy.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    We have some rather "interesting" subs in my building. My P says they keep getting called because we have a shortage of subs. My para made an "approved" list for me at the beginning of the year based on good subs she has worked with in the past. I only allow people on my list to sub for me, and they usually jump at the chance to be in my room because they like having my para there.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Yes, I know what popcorn reading is although I don't use it. Is it possible your sub didn't understand what this was?


    Ask your colleagues for suggestions on subs.

    I'm pretty specific with my plans, tend to leave mostly review or stuff the kids know how to do (which it seems like popcorn reading is for your class....do you popcorn read a lot?)...I'm not bothered if my subs dont have time to get to something in my plans as I tend to overplan so there's no dead time for my subs....I did have a sub once who saw me after school and said my class was so smart that she figured they were ready to measure to the fractional inch, not the nearest inch as I left directions for...my class wasn't ready for it, their measurements were all wrong, fractions were written incorrectly and I had some major reteaching to do....that kind of hubris and ignoring of a teachers plans is pretty much inexcusable.
     
  13. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I expect new-to-me subs to cover my plans exactly. I write them in great detail so there aren't any issues. Well, aren't supposed to be issues.

    Subs that I know know the material and are capable are given a bit more leeway.

    When I was a sub I did not always follow the plans exactly. Sometimes it wasn't possible, sometimes the plans did not make sense and sometimes the teacher left things open-ended enough (because she knew me) that I could do as I pleased.
     
  14. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I understand your points, the only reason it bugs me is I explained they take turns reading, and they will know what to do." I also said if she needed clarification who the go-to student was AND if she had any further questions to call me on my cell which I carried around like an on-call dr. all day.
     
  15. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    Both of these things happen more often than people who have never subbed would believe.
     
  16. vsimpkins

    vsimpkins Comrade

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    I am a substitute and I follow the plans left by the teacher. If I run out of time to complete an assignment then I will either continue after recess or lunch or just let the teacher know we ran out of time. I like to be organized and keep transitions simple. I assist students whenever help is needed. I grade papers, sharpen pencils, replace any paper that is low, kleenex, etc. I have received unsatisfactory ratings and it really hurts and I have not defense to discuss with the teacher, as the rating might be changed. Some teachers don;t know that most of us are very helpful and thoughtful. One write up was when the teacher was still there and I walked in printed my plans on the computer, read them (only for a half day) walked around as the teacher was reading a test outloud. Checked to make sure students were on the problem the teacher was reading, assisted in collecting the tests. Then she was organizing a game against two teams. I was sitting in front at her desk. Two students walked up to the board, one student was closer to the board than the other student, I asked the one to back up a little. She wrote me up for interfering in her authority.
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've had subs who must be illiterate. I've also had excellent subs.
     
  18. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    Exactly? Really? I'd love to see it in action. Why not be appreciative you have someone to take over your classroom for you? I'd love to see you walk into an unfamiliar classroom and follow my plan exactly. I doubt if you could. Still, I wouldn't use it as an excuse to slam you. Maybe kids could get a refreshing lesson from a different teaching perspective.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would be unhappy if a sub didn't follow my plans exactly. There are a few reasons for this. First, I'm the one who knows my state standards and objectives. I doubt most subs know what needs to be covered. Even if a sub did know my standards and objectives, he or she would have no way of knowing what we had already covered. Second, I'm the one responsible for my students' performance. Now that so many teachers are evaluated on student test scores, I want to be the one who teaches them what they need to know. Finally, I've had subs think that they know how to teach a particular topic in my class, but they were wrong. I had to unteach everything they did the day before. That's so much extra work for me, not to mention all the frustration it causes the students.

    So, no....I don't need my students to get any sort of new perspective. I need them to learn what I've already decided they're learning that day, and I need them to do it in whatever way I've already planned.
     
  20. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    All subs are definitely not created equal. There are about six awesome substitutes that have been working at our school for years, so I always try to get them. When I see a substitute has been assigned to me whose name I don't know, I cringe a little because of all the bad experiences I've had.

    One year I was doing some testing in another part of the building and had a substitute.

    About 2 hours into the day, she sent a kid to me with a note that read "We need more work". I was confused because like Sarge, I always leave way more work than my class could ever finish and normally subs leave me a note apologizing that the kids couldn't get it all done.

    I stopped testing (a pain) and went to the classroom to see what had happened.

    Turns out that the sub had just handed out all the worksheets and didn't follow my plans. (I was very angry because in the plans it said stuff like, 'Read Arthur Lost and Found' with the class stopping periodically to discuss the story. Model how to write about a time you were lost. Then have the children use the story writing paper to draw and write about a time they were lost/or how they would feel if they got lost. Allow early finishers to borrow a "just right" book from the library to read independently, then have them draw and write about their favorite part on the back of the paper)

    Instead she didn't read the story and just gave them the story map paper and said, "Do it." So the lesson, which would've normally taken about 45 - 60 minutes, took like 5 minutes because all the kids just drew random pictures and wrote whatever.

    The same with the comprehension questions I had left for the children to do AFTER she reviewed a lesson about a frog's life cycle and all the other work I left.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bottom line, no not all subs are 'like this'...

    I'm sure most teachers have a terrible sub story or two...likewise, most subs have a few 'bad lesson plans/no lesson plans/unorganized teacher' kinds of stories...neither are the norm, thankfully.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I think you need to re-read my post. Your response doesn't make much sense to me. I wasn't slamming anyone.
     
  23. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Unless I'm lucky enough to get one of three subs who come to my campus, this is frequently what I've had.
     
  24. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    :yeahthat:

    I think too many posters are getting all worked up over nothing. :huh:

    You forget, there's no "carrot on the end of the stick" for substitutes. No one is ever going to say to them, "You know, you're so good and we have a fulltime position opening next year, we'd like YOU to come work for us." I know schools like to lie and imply that it IS a possibility, but that's rarely, if ever, true. Other than $80 a day, there's really nothing in it for them.....except criticism.
     
  25. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    :thumb:

    All of our subs are retired teachers from our building. They all taught grade 1 longer than I have. I trust them to go off script and provide meaningful learning opportunities for my students. When I return my students are always excited to tell me the 'new way' Mrs. So and So did an activity - and I learn another great way to teach the material.
     
  26. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I definitely agree with this!

    I actually have a story about poorly-written plans and a good sub:

    The other day, all of my 4th and 5th grade teachers were off campus for Common Core training.

    Anyway, teachers were told about this training several months ago.

    About 10 minutes before school started, my office manager called me and said that the sub in room ____ couldn't understand the sub plans.

    Well, sure enough, I walked down to that classroom, read the sub plans, and was amazed at how vague and disorganized the plans were (actually, they were more like notes than sub plans)! They made relatively no sense. I spent about a half hour rounding up worksheets and a video for the class since none of us could decipher what the teacher wanted the sub to do.

    My principal was off campus that morning, but he told me I should've called the district office and made the teacher return from the training!

    I apologized to the sub, but also thanked her for being proactive and calling the office.

    My principal gave a friendly reminder to the staff about sub plans during our last staff meeting, but we also had a chat with the teacher who left subpar plans!
     
  27. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    Remember that most subs want to become full-time teachers. I would not leave such structured plans for subs. Lay out what you NEED to get done, but allow a chance for the sub to explore and enjoy your class. For example, the reading assignment needed to get done, but popcorn could just be a suggestion how to carry out the assignment. No need to stress that it must be done your way and only your way.

    When I was subbing for two years, many teachers left me great plans that detailed the expectations but allowed me to adjust it to my liking as long as I get done. It's my chance to try something that I may have thought up. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
     
  28. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

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    I don't think this is true in many districts.
     
  29. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Subbing shouldn't be treated as a giant experiment. The kids deserve better than that. Plus kids act differently with subs, so the 'experiment' wouldn't even collect accurate data. :2cents:

    Plus subs being aspiring teachers is not always the case. In my district in North Carolina, I never once had an aspiring teacher as a sub- and I taught there for 6 years! Most of my subs were retired teachers or moms with kids at our school.

    I actually went back and subbed for a month this year, after 6 years in my own classroom and 12 weeks as an LTS. I'd rather very clear and structured plans. Kids do better when their routine is followed. I tried to emulate the teacher to the best of my ability. I subbed for exactly 16 days. In that time, I established myself as the go-to in two districts and was getting calls offering me one and two week assignments. I was put in as a preferred sub with over two dozen teachers. And I am in an extremely tight market with a lot of aspiring teachers subbing. Since I accepted my contract position, I've been called for 2 more LTS positions- one in a district I've never even subbed in because I was recommended via word of mouth. I achieved all of this in a very short time by following plans and doing my best to make it seem as if the teacher was actually there that day. Even at my old school, where I had taught with some of my subs, I expected them to follow my plans and I was disappointed if they failed to do so. I didn't write scripted lessons or anything, but I wrote out specific directions and I expect them to be followed.
     
  30. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If a sub wants to try out their own ideas, they can do it with somebody else's kids. If they are working with my kids in my classroom using my curriculum, then they should do things my way. The sub is only there for one day... I have to get those kids back the next day, and it would make my life easier if I didn't have to fix what a well-intentioned sub did.

    There are subs that I give leeway to, but only if I know exactly who the sub is, and know that whatever ideas they would have would be good ones. And even then, I still lay out exactly what I would do if I were in the room.
     
  31. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    I feel that if I am needing something to be completed the exact way I want it, I should be in the classroom. I want the subs to follow my lesson plans but I realize things will not be done the way I would do it if I were in the room if I have a sub.

    I subbed for a year before I became a full time teacher. Some teachers knew me and when I was their sub for an unexpected absence I sometimes did not get complete lesson plans. I also remember being amazed at how some people thought I was created plans. I remember a principal coming in when I was subbing in an Elementary art classroom. I am a middle school math teacher so my brain does not work in an Elementary art kind of way. I forget what the students were doing but I remember the principal asking if I had created the lesson. It was a one day assignment, I was amazed she even thought this was a possibility.
     
  32. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I don't let subs do anything with my kids. I don't WANT them to. Of course, I have that luxury since I teach high school. I leave an assignment to be handed out and collected at the end of the period. I leave a homework sheet to be handed out at the end of the period. Full stop. I would rather lose a day of instruction than have a random person attempt to explain the Edict of Nantes. There's no distinction in my district as to who covers what classes. I could get a sub who has a complete European history background or one who doesn't know what Huguenots even are. So when I get a sub who can't even be bothered to pass out 2 pieces of paper and collect 1, I get irked.

    Thankfully, those have so far been limited to the 2 I've had this year.
     
  33. live

    live Companion

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    I subbed at the school where I currently hold a full-time teaching job, along with a majority of others schools where I had interviews in the past. In my area, subbing is the way to get a full-time job, so subs tend to be very good.

    While I was a sub, I knew that although the day would never go exactly the same as when the teacher was there, it was still my job to make it go as close as possible. This was regardless of how much (or actually, little) I was getting paid.

    Not all subs are the same, though, so I wouldn't make any kind of a generalizations about them.
     
  34. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    I had something similar happen a couple of years ago. They worked through the worksheets without the corresponding lesson and then ran out of things to do. The sub found the week's homework pages and gave those out as classwork. It was a real mess. Now I lock things up and hide the key!
     
  35. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This. I never expect a sub to teach or lead a lesson, just keep the kids from destroying the room.
     
  36. GaryBerry21

    GaryBerry21 Rookie

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    I've only had a sub once, it was a total disaster. I walked by and one of my star students was in the hallway writing a letter on why he was being disrespectful. He's someone who always needs something to do or something in his hand while he works. He has a stress ball and a rubiks cube that he holds and he always gets his work done. He and the rest of the class tried to explain that I allow him to do so. I talked to the sub and he said that doesn't excuse the fact that the student wasn't complying and caused a distraction because of it. I just let it go and I apologized to the student and let the sub do his thing because it seemed like he was going on a power trip.
     
  37. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    Well of course follow the lesson plans. The point is no one is going to replicate exactly what another teacher does in getting a lesson across. Thats the beauty of having different teaching/personality styles. If you have to micro manage so that you cant stand any variation on the then I suggest you dont miss a day of work. You sound very intolerant.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I hardly think that deciding that a particular activity should accompany a particular lesson counts as "micro-managing". I've seen plenty of subs here complaining to high heaven about teachers who don't leave complete plans, including activities. Seems like the classroom teachers can't win either way. But, hey, whatevs. I'm sure I'm just being intolerant.
     
  39. engineerkyle

    engineerkyle Companion

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    I am a very good sub and many teachers request me.

    I find subbing is a two way street, and I really like getting lesson plans that are "open" enough to allow for me to teach, using some creativity. I can tell right away if the teacher I am covering for is a good one, and how much I may need to add to, or deviate from the plans. Often the trouble is pacing. I cannot have kindergarten students "free read" from 10:00 - 11:15, or give a quiz that takes 10 minutes to round out an entire period with a middle school class.

    So in certain situations, classroom management trumps sketchy lesson plans, and using imagination and quick thinking leads to peaceful and productive days.
     
  40. engineerkyle

    engineerkyle Companion

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    On the other hand, it can be a little tiring being given 7 pages of lessons plans where every detail is scripted. Sometimes I'll get one that reads; AT 11:05 SAY, "FRIENDS, WE WILL NOW HAVE OUR MONDAY SHOPPERS GO TO THE TUMBLE TIME BOOK LIBRARY AND OUR GREEN TABLE HELPERS LINE UP FOR HAND WASHING."

    Please, this is too much...
     
  41. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I don't miss work if I can possibly help it. Putting that aside though, I don't see how taking the viewpoint of "My kids, my classroom, my way." It's not like it's an arbitrary decision. It's trying to keep the kids in as much of their normal routine as possible.
     
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