As a substitute teacher, what do you do if a student leaves your class?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by applesnap, May 4, 2014.

  1. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    May 4, 2014

    I am a new sub. I have worked a total of 3 days so far, haha. I am a bit nervous that a student will leave one of my classes.

    Last week, in a grade 8 classroom, a student asked to get a drink of water and then didn't return for 10-15 minutes. I was starting to get worried, but luckily he returned eventually. At what point would you call the office to ask them to page the student?

    I am subbing in a high school soon, and I know from student teaching that students will occasionally skip by asking to use the washroom and then not coming back. If this happened, how would you handle it?
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 5, 2014

    I would call the office as soon as enough time has gone for the student to be back. What if he walked off campus and got in trouble (got hurt, ran away, accident, etc). You could save his life, and you would save yourself from trouble.
    In reality, probably nothing so dramatic will happen, but what if admin finds the student and they find out that he's been gone from your class for 30 minutes? You could be asked not to come back.
     
  4. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    May 5, 2014

    Kids in high school tried to leave the classroom A LOT when I was subbing.

    If you don't already have a "only one student out of the classroom at a time" rule, make sure to make one! Definitely helps quite a bit. And watch out for the "I need to get a tampon with my friend because it's in her locker" trick. (Girls tried that one with me a lot.) Unfortunately, I fell for this one once and the principal ended up dragging them back to class later, and I felt pretty embarrassed for letting them leave in the first place!

    Sometimes students will try to get marked present and then ditch. I had two girls in PE do this (it was a huge class with 100+ girls) and when I tracked them down they lied to another teacher and told her that I said they could leave (and apparently goof off in the locker room?!). This happened in an art class too - while I was helping a student get something, another just slipped out the front door while my back was turned.

    The biggest issue for me wasn't students asking to use the restroom and then not coming back... it was students trying to sneak out. Unfortunately if there isn't a seating chart or a way to identify the students that slipped out, you have no way of informing the office. Make sure to grow eyes on the back of your head. If the class is at the end of the day, a lot of students will try to leave your class early.

    Make sure to leave the teacher a detailed note, and leave the names of students that ditched. The teacher may not always follow up on it, but then at least you're documenting.
     
  5. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    May 5, 2014

    Okay, good to know. I was worried that I'd make myself look bad if I called the office, but you are absolutely correct. Would you call reception or an administrator?
     
  6. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    May 5, 2014

    Yep, this is what I was afraid of. I tried that rule last week, and I also had the students sign in and out on the board when leaving. It kind of worked. Do you just tell them this is your rule at the start of the class period?

    I have also been keeping the door shut, especially close to the end of the period. I figure it's harder for them to sneak out that way. A few minutes before the bell, when the students are all starting to pack up, I will stand right by the door.

    What did you do after the student slipped out in the art class?

    Suppose you could identify who slipped out (by discreetly asking another student, for example). Then would you call the office right away? While student teaching, if I had a grade 12 student slip out, I wouldn't call the office, but I would mark that student absent. Just wondering if it's different for subbing.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 5, 2014

    I would just call the front office.
    If you're subbing, you probably don't have access to their electronic attendance system, it's most likely all paper.
     
  8. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    May 5, 2014

    You'll get a feel pretty early on for which students you can allow to leave and which you cannot. You might have a student who flat out tells you: Don't let anyone leave. Those "know it all kids" are usually right. It's a hint the regular classroom teacher has poor classroom management and let's them run wild. We do not have to have students sign out but I absolutely do so that if the office calls or, god forbid, something else were to happen you can account for that students whereabouts. If a kid takes advantage of you and stays gone for an unacceptable amount of time, I say that to him/her upon his/her return. I have called the office before to page a student.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    May 5, 2014

    I would make up a sign out sheet, just to CYA. Make sure the school is ok with that first. I would also go so far as to have a timer, and let students know that if they have not returned by the time the timer is up you will be contacting the office. Then do it.
     
  10. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    May 5, 2014

    Okay, I will be doing this. Do you think 10 minutes is a reasonable amount of time for high school students?
     
  11. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    May 5, 2014

    Less. They are expected to do everything in the 2-3 minute breaks between class. I'd go with 5.
     
  12. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    Okay, thanks! Would you call the office right when the 5 minutes were up, or wait a couple extra? I'd be inclined to wait until 10 minutes had passed to avoid calling the office too much, but then it would look to the students like I don't follow up on consequences.
     
  13. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    May 5, 2014

    agree with the timing...I don't sub anymore, but with seniors and senioritis, being a regular teacher is basically like being a sub now...I had a kid leave for 45 minutes and when he came back, he said he was going #2...I said if it takes you 45 minutes you need to go see the doctor, and gave him a 1 hour detention...and that was a great segueway to introduce my "senioritis 5 minute out of class pass" (a bottle of febreze I make them take with them to the bathroom).
     
  14. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Five minutes is five minutes. Stick to it.
     
  15. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    May 5, 2014

    I give mine 10 minutes. It takes at least a full minute to walk there and back from my room. I don't want to alert the office too early if they really are just having a bathroom emergency. I couldn't get down and back in five minutes if I had some type of emergency.

    This is not a problem at my school though.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 5, 2014

    I tell anyone that subs for me to check IDs before students leave. Students are required to have IDs on at all times (but they don't). If a student says he doesn't have an ID then I guess they'll have to wait until the bell rings.
     
  17. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I should clarify-I didn't mean 5 minutes has to be it-I meant whatever you choose, stick with it.
     
  18. applesnap

    applesnap Rookie

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    May 6, 2014

    Well, my fear came true. Today I was subbing in a grade 11 class. At the start of class, we met in the classroom and I took attendance. We then went down to the computer lab. I made sure ahead of time that the lab door would be open, but it was locked. We had to wait in the hall for a few minutes.

    I took attendance again when we got inside the lab and found that 3 students had snuck off during the transition. I called the office and they paged the students. When they didn't return, I marked them absent.

    Did I handle this right? Next time I will remind the students that I will be taking attendance twice. I am really worried this made me look bad. This happened at a school I did some student teaching at and I really, really wanted to make a name for myself there and keep subbing at that school :(
     
  19. MrsH_in_Oz

    MrsH_in_Oz Rookie

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    You definitely made the right decision to contact the office and to record the students as absent. If you aren't tough on this behaviour early on they will try it again next time. That said, there are some students who will keep doing what they want no matter how great a teacher you are.
     
  20. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    May 7, 2014

    I would just tell them that they couldn't use the restroom until so-and-so got back. This seems to be a pretty standard rule across classrooms so most kids won't argue with you about it.

    Yes, I had to do that as well as a lot of students will try to leave early without permission (even in middle school). Unfortunately, I subbed in a lot of classrooms with two doors so sometimes a large number of students would rush out the door I wasn't standing in front of. In that case, I left a general note for the teacher that a large part of his or her class left before the bell rang.

    Well, I didn't know what the student's name was so I couldn't contact the office (plus the student was probably making his way off campus anyway). I left a note for the teacher describing where he sits and what he was working on in class. None of the other students would tell me what his name was.

    Yes, if you know who left you should call the office. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases you'll have no idea what the student's name is, or a lot of students will leave. It's a real hassle.
     
  21. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    May 9, 2014

    I remember my first week subbing I let 3 students go to the "library." Another teacher happened to see them in the hallway and sent them right back to me. She had a really loud voice, and everytime she saw me she would shake her head and suck her teeth in. Then when I went to the faculty lounge I heard her talking about me - again. I just about lost it and said "Drop it! I made a mistake. I'm new to teaching ok?"
     
  22. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    May 9, 2014

    Honestly...I get so sick of some veteran teacher reactions to substitutes and the expectation that we're mind readers.

    I was subbing first grade at a school where I'd worked with a bunch of the kids on a four month long term when they were in pre-k, so I knew a lot of the kids. The teacher was just out a two hour training and she dropped in in the middle of it. Half of the kids were doing their assignment, and the half who were done were reading books. When they finished, they went straight for the "big" books, as if that was what they'd always done. She tore into me for letting them look at the books. She never told me they were off limits. I've never seen a class where the kids are restricted in that way. She also didn't like the way some of the kids still doing the assignment were doing it. They were supposed to draw an illustration from the story they read and some were using the book for reference. Evidently they were not supposed to be looking at the books. Again, not in my instructions, but I was supposed to just know that. She completely tore into me in front of the kids and an aide who was with one of the students. She kept making comments about how this wasn't preschool. The aide was a sub also, and she was completely shocked at the teacher's actions.

    I have been around long enough that I can see when subs are having a hard time as opposed to when they're just not trying. I've also heard some pretty nasty comments from staff about the people subbing in their classrooms. I don't get why it's a contest sometimes and why people can't just show some understanding when someone is new to not only the job as a whole, but to each school and each classroom's different procedures.
     

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