Bad Subs

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by McKennaL, May 3, 2010.

  1. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    May 3, 2010

    Ever been in the presense of a really bad sub?

    I subbed about a month ago in a resource room (2 day assignment for each of us) where another sub and I shared a room and pulled kids out of their classes to work with us.

    So we had some time to talk.

    She told me that she works in three districts and pretty well works every day.(Good for her) But then I watched her...and she was TERRIBLE!

    She was... strangely jealous that I had an easier day (due to some of the kids being gone on a field trip). Personally, I would RATHER teach than sit and wait for something to happen (so much so that i often go out LOOKING to assist...but this day i was working on my application essay questions - so I was working on my laptop).

    She MUST have seen this as her permission/reasoning to slack off even more, because she started to find reasons to not work with kids. "There is nothing I can do with this one." "I don't understand the instructions (at one point told the classroom teacher that she wasn't GIVEN instructions - she was!)" "I'm not going to pull this child (Period - no reasoning)" So she either didn't work (sat and read her romance novel) or looked for other subbing assingments online.

    When she WOULD have a child she was totally DREADFUL! And I thought... and she works DAILY????? How bad of a name is she GIVING to subs?

    ***

    It didn't make me want to work harder or better (I believe I DO sub very well and -other than the happenstance of having that time without students...I work constistantly hard)...but made me understand what teachers and administrators refer to when they don't have respect for subs.

    It's subs like THIS that earn us our reputation. :(

    UGH!
    :2cents:
     
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  3. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    May 3, 2010

    I was next door to one once where I had to go next door to tell the class to be quiet. It was mostly him that I had a problem with.

    I've also heard stories from the classes I've subbed in about some of the horrible subs they've had.

    Honestly though, I rather like the bad ones. Teachers have to get a sub if they're out, so if they get me and I'm a lot better than other people that they've had they're more likely to request me rather than getting the random warm body.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 3, 2010

    Most subs I recognize that they have a tough call each day working in a different classroom all with different rules, different unknown accommodations, different grades, etc. Then you have the students who aren't sure what to do with a sub or those that might even challenge one. I give them their props.

    There is one sub who I told admin I never want to work with or see in my classroom ever again. I was an AIDE at the time. This woman couldn't understand simple instructions. She shows up as I was working on a Mother's Day project with the kids. I was knee deep with no assistance and very glad they decided to give me some. I had run out of paper for our "Mom and Me" books we were making. This woman had worked in our building plenty of times to know where the resources were. I told her I needed her to go and cut the regular paper down to a certain size for the book. We had run out. She couldn't understand what I wanted. I explained where the cutting machine was. (She understood what the cutting machine was). I explained the size. I showed her the size. I finally took a pair of scissors and showed her how I went from a big peice of paper down to this size. She seriously couldn't follow that. I gave up. I smiled and told her she could help the students instead and gave the cutting job to another aide down the hall. Then I told her that we were making a book. The pages were in consecutive order and front and back. I showed her a demo. She had the students she was working with make the book front side only. I had to go back on a FRIDAY before Mother's Day and completely help these students redo their work. I was TICKED. Then she had the nerve to come up to me after work and tell me I wasn't clear and I should have sat down with her beforehand to explain everything. I didn't tell her off nor did I even get mad to her face UNTIL she came back and said something to me. I told her that she showed up while I was working and asked her when she thought I was supposed to have a prep meeting with her before class started? What was I supposed to do with the kids while I was meeting with her? I didn't tell her I was clear as day and had demos and if you can't cut then there is no point. I remained professional but I told admin she is never to work in any room I am in ever again. I had students tell me they tried to tell her it was front and back but she didn't get it. It took a while and many complaints from others for her to finally not be accepted back. This is the only sub I ever seriously had complaints about. I have my preferences but for most of them, I give them credit where it is due.

    (In my classroom, I was always the "sub for the day" while the sub is the "aide for the day." Now it is different because aides are shared between multiple teachers.)
     
  5. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    May 3, 2010

    When I was teaching, there was one bad sub in particular. I would cancel Dr. appts., if I knew he was the sub. He came into the room to "play." Work was never done, and the room usually ended up trashed. The kids learned nicknames for one another, and usually learned some "gross" trick, like that thing they do with their armpits.
    My sub system is not automated, so I take pretty much any job that I am open to do. I don't like turning the VP down, unless I have a pretty good reason.
    There is one special ed. position where there isn't a lot for a sub to do. When the teacher is there, she is very busy. I was in for this special ed teacher, when another sub commented (in the lead teacher's presence), "I never take this job, you'll be standing there all day." I explained that I take most jobs offered, as I am new and want to get calls. She responded "I tell them what I want, and I don't do half days. They keep calling me." I haven't seen her since.
    Oh, and I didn't stand there all day. Once I did the things left by the spec. ed teacher, I asked the lead teacher to give me anything he could find for me to help out in the class.
     
  6. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    May 3, 2010

    I've been subbing for about 5 years now. For the first 6 months of the first year I depended on the "sub system" for sub jobs. I built up a rapport with the teachers and the schools. Since that time all of my sub jobs come from direct request from the teachers themselves.... I wouldn't think of subbing for a lousy, bad teacher....

    There are bad subs......... and bad teachers......:eek:
     
  7. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    May 3, 2010

    I worked with a sub co-teacher who literally read the paper and played computer games while I followed the lesson plan. It was very weird.
     
  8. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    May 5, 2010

    I seriously doubt that she gets work everyday. The reason she was jealous must have been that she doesn't get work everyday:)

    In my experience, working in more than one district doesn't really bring one more work since most of the time you're already taken by one district and over time, the other one, if it is the manual one, stops givign you a priority.

    Most of last fall and early this year, I usually get called by the district that calls manulally. Most of all that time, the subfinder of the other district called me as well. recently, the subfinder of that district tends to call me before the other one that calls manually and so I notice that after not getting me half the time, they are calling less while I noticed that whenever I work there, the subs who work in that district ONLY are working there all the time.

    For me it works out all for the best because since I'm subbing at a high school of the district with subfinder more these days because I am having lower and lower energy due to health reason. There must be a God:)
     
  9. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    May 5, 2010

    I agree with that, but I would definitely say the proportion of bad subs to bad teachers is much greater on the sub side... I mean, we have some strange birds working in our midst. I don't do much special--follow plan, dress appropriately yet comfortably, make sure everything goes smoothly, smile/acknowledge other teachers & adults, etc.

    Some people though... I'm surprised at how scraggly, how impatient, how unprofessional, how generally wierd a lot of subs are. (That proportion is changing BTW, with all the newly laid-off teachers now forced to sub.)
     
  10. teacherincanada

    teacherincanada Rookie

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    May 5, 2010

    Oh man, I don't know how subs can sit around and do nothing. As soon as my butt hits the seat the noise level goes up... Even when I am exhausted I force myself to walk around the room, even if it's a well-behaved class.

    but hey, we need people to set the bar low to make us look better haha. (where I live, it's extremely competitive to get a permanent job, let alone a long term one, let alone even GETTING on the sub list - you need 5 yrs of university education AND connections with a principal).
    So anyway, my point is, for those of us wanting to get somewhere (i.e. getting long term or permanent work), it's nice that there are people out there to make us look better. haha.

    I personally have not SEEN any bad subs. (the qualifications to become a sub are very high here, as I stated, and we are all aware of how competitive the market is, so we are all doing our best to impress as "everyday is a job interview"). But there's always still some bad subs out there, and there's the retired folk who don't need to impress to get fulltime work.
    In my district, there is a sub I have never met but is well-known amongst us as the narcoleptic. As in narcolepsy, the uncontrollable urge to fall asleep at any given time. Some think he actually is narcoleptic and can't control it, but some think this guy just wants a snooze everyday. Regardless of the reason, he has a pretty bad rep.
    I asked someone who witnessed him in action (or lack of action haha), and asked if the kids go nuts, and they said the kids actually are quiet because they are trying to NOT wake him up. Hahaha. I've kindof wanted to pretend to sleep as a social experiment. (Obviously I wouldn't, as I wouldn't also want the reputation of the narcoleptic).
     
  11. Little Monster

    Little Monster Rookie

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    May 15, 2010

    Recently I took a job from a teacher who called me after having been recommended by another teacher. It was a 5th grade class I guess that the sub that the teacher hired a week before was a total ass and a joke. He was yelling at the kids to "shut up" and even calling the kids names... names like "sausage fingers", etc. At the end of the day I guess the sub told the principal off. Sad thing is that a kid ended up getting suspended over all of this. So I took the class on request... the principal really was not sure if it was the sub or the kids so she assigned an aid to stay in my room as support. After the first hour the sub removed himself because he could see that the kids were being very well-behaved. The teacher in the room next door even came in at one point to interrupt the class just to tell them how amazed she was by their behavior and that she would be talking to their regular teacher. I had two other teachers come and tell me that they were impressed by how smooth things were going.

    The thing is... I don't think that it had anything to do with me. I just went in and treated the kids like humans and let them know what my expectations were and what I would put up with and what I would not. They were probably amongst the most well behaved kids that I have ever had.

    I guess bad subs don't just make subs in general look bad... they make the kids look bad; sometimes they make the kids look bad, too.
     
  12. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    May 15, 2010

    One time I was looking for jobs online and I noticed that in the notes section of the page it said not to send two specific people to the class. Go look, I'm not making this up.

    I've heard from classes that I've had that one of the people named would sit around and tell stories that had nothing to do with the class and would waste the class time by doing things like writing the longest word in the world on the board.
     
  13. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 15, 2010

    I can't say I've ever seen a really bad sub, although I did see one of the guys that took the Effective Teacher Training class with me sitting in a room reading the newspaper one day when we were both subbing at the alternative school. I always walk around the room and monitor the kids, especially at the alternative school. The irony is that this guy got a full-time position as the ISS Director at one of the high schools last year. He didn't get the position this year (or gave it up, not sure which), and I've seen him once or twice when we've subbed at the same school again. From what I've seen this year, he has improved his classroom presence.

    I like to think of myself as a good sub (of course, who doesn't? LOL), but I DO make sure the kids are given the assignment(s) left by the teacher and follow the directions on the lesson plan. But I also constantly look for ways to improve myself as a sub (and a teacher) so the teachers can feel comfortable putting me in charge of their classroom.
     
  14. smile

    smile Companion

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    May 15, 2010

    Once my partner teacher was out (she was the P.M. teacher) and her sub came in late (10 min.) He walked in and started pointing (like a "gun") at my students and made noises with his mouth. I just stared at him and told him the sub plans are at her desk. He sat at her desk and did nothing (none of my partner prep work). When the p.m. class started, he did nothing on the plans.... but he played card with the kids. I told him he needed to follow the plan as much as he can. Nope. Nothing. At the end of the day, I asked how long he has been subbing for? His response, "this i my first week. I've never taught kinder before." :eek: I found out from another teacher at my school, he did the same thing..... NOTHING. My prinicpal requested that he doesn't come back to our school site.:woot:
     
  15. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    May 16, 2010

    This story reminded me of a special ed position of a class that provides living skills. There are two aids in that class. The first time I was there, one was telling me about the other which I'd conside gossip, like, she is so poor now because she is disowned by her rich Jewish family for marying her husband whom, I learned (from the same lady)in the 2nd time subbing was on disability. In that second time, she also said she tried to help that aid, blah..blah.

    During the first time, that also asked me whether the other aid said she was cerdentialled and then informed me that she wasn't and later, suggesting me to leave a note to the teacher about it.

    By the thrid or fourth time - all these subbings in that class were sparsed out pretty far, except for the first time, that woman kept repeating why there is is sub is beyound here because there's no need for it. In the first time, she only mentioned once and I calmly mentioned, "it's because of the law". After the last time, I was ready to inform the teacher if I ever sub that class again and she does that. I'd have avoided taking that class out of boredom but I didn't know ahead of time because the subfinder didn't provide enough info about the class, not even the teacehr's name. I think they do that so that subs would take that boring class.
     
  16. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    May 16, 2010

    My experience even with high school is that there's no chance I could do anything else but to attend to the class even for a split second. There is always someone doing something or needing something. May be only Honors class where the kids would work on their own would a sub be able to read some newspaper. And I am sure that those honors class would go to those who has special connection to the secretary of the school in some schools anyway:) I know once such high school secretary; I no longer take any assignment there.
     
  17. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    May 16, 2010

    This kind of statement without critical analysis on the data is heresay.


    As a sub, I met many subs and I have not met one that did a lousy job.
     
  18. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    May 16, 2010

    The guy is unlucky. The first time I subbed a kindergaten - I was pretty new to subbing too, I was fortunate that the other sub had to be the teacher first and that she was retired teacher. I learned a lot from her. we were not there for the whole day.

    Soon, I was a sub in kindergarten with a student teacher. Again, it wasn't the whole day thing.

    I don't sub kindergarten these days (in this district) to avoid a bad Special Ed kindergarten class. No, it's not the students that are bad but the teacher. I was offered subbing as the aid there though got paid as a sub. She was so unfriendly though whenever there are outside people (from other class or when she's outside, she was smiling and you get the pic..).
     
  19. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    May 16, 2010

    I have to say that our subs this year have been outstanding!!! I have no worries about leaving my class for any one of the regular subs....

    I have only 3 "bad" sub stories....
    1...In the Deaf Ed program, we had a sub for an interpreter. Now when the job request went out, it required someone fluent in ASL. this woman showed up and barely knew the alphabet!!! She just stood there and said nothing....she would fingerspell the first three letters of the whole schpeal and then just throw her arms up in defeat....

    2. We had a sub in the building--not credentialed--who subbed one time in our kinder class. When the students didn't listen, he made them stand with their arms out like a T holding a book in each hand and they couldn't let their arms lower or he yelled at them....

    He never came back

    3. We had another uncredentialed sub...she spoke no English...couldn't read English.....um.....how can you read the teachers plans and communicate with the students if you don't speak English....
     
  20. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    May 17, 2010

    Do you think its being a bad sub to be scheduled for a planned day , but then you oversleep and have to come to the school late? This has happened to me 3 times in the 4 yrs I have been a sub....Today it happened! I went to sign in and the P said just sign in later to me.
     
  21. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    May 17, 2010

    I always set two separate alarms, I was late once for another job and it was one to many times for me. :D I always try to be 10-15 minutes early, as it gives me more prep time. It's also great because I've never been later than 5 minutes earlier than the required arrival time.

    I think it's a teaching thing. (Although, I have been late (10 minutes) once when someone ran a red-light and hit my car. But, this was outside of my control.)
     

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