Behavior?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by ryhoyarbie, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    Feb 28, 2009

    Whenever I substitute middle school, and sometimes high school, I sometimes get classes that just seem to want to talk and not do anything. I try to be firm, not yell at them, and tell them I don't want anyone to talk while they do their work, but it seems like they don't care.

    For example here's what happened yesterday.

    I explained to the 7th graders what they needed to do for their assignment and said the assignment is to be done by you only and that I don't want anyone talking while you do your work. (My experience is when students talk, they're not going to get their work done because they're busy discussing things that aren't part of the assignment)

    Several times the students kept on talking and I said that I wanted everyone to not talk, yet they did that anyway.

    How am I supposed to handle the situation? What would you have done? Obviously I could have written names down for the students who continued to talk.

    I'm also guessing the students kept on talking because I wasn't the regular teacher and I'm not going to see them again the next day, the next week, etc., so they could have cared less.
     
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  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Feb 28, 2009

    You mean the whole class? Or just some are the main offenders?
    Usually, just a few loud mouths keep the noise too high. If you have a seating chart you can write down the names of those main offenders on your clipboard for the 1st warning. Tell them that the 2nd warning the name goes on the board and a referral slip will be filled out and ready to go. 3rd time their name goes on the referral slip ... and they're out. You shouldn't have to send out more than 1. Middle schoolers know when they are breaking rules and being naughty. They are just testing their limits.

    A trick I use is to give these kinds of rules while I'm calling role. I write on the board - "Quiet while I take attendance so you are not marked absent". That will usually get the kids pretty quiet. Then as you take role, you can slip in other information.

    I never try to enforce total silence - I just ask that the chatter is kept at "library level" so others can do their work.

    Also, especially with middle schoolers, they switch seats when they know there's a sub. So I tell them during role that I'm going to assume that everyone is in their correct seat. If someone gets a bad write up - I'm just going to use the name whoever is assigned to that seat on the seating chart. So ... if you do a write-up, just announce that Joe Smith is getting written up and point to that student. If they've switched seats, the others will tell you who that student really is.

    Another big trick with middle schoolers ... don't come off as a meanie before they do anything wrong. Make all your announcments in a friendly tone. Tell them that it will be a fun class - maybe offer some free time during the last 5 minutes if they get their work done.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Feb 28, 2009



    Only sometimes?

    I agree with Special-t, enforcing total silence may be a battle with many causalities. If the students are doing the work and occasionally quietly talking, I let that pass.

    For the knuckleheads in the class, I give them plenty of opportunity to change their wayward behavior. If the nonsense continues, I pull out a piece of paper and tell the class I am writing a detention list for anyone that continues to annoy. If referrals are available, I use those instead.

    For attendance, I announce I will use the seating chart and anyone not in their seat will be marked absent or as cutting class. Interesting to see how many then move.
     
  5. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Feb 28, 2009

    p.s. Don't ever yell at them. I know they all of us want to scream sometimes, but they find it very amusing when a substitute loses their cool. I come in with a good attitude and a smile. Small talk with the students as they arrive. It's a great way to build rapport with enough of them to give you some power (and I've learned a lot by chatting with them about what they think of substitute teachers)!
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Feb 28, 2009

    I agree that you should not ask for total silence. To begin with, that really does not simulate the "real world." In the real world, colleagues communicate and work together. In addition, they hardly ever comply. If you demand pure silence, you will have so many offenders that you can't kick them all out for talking, so essentially you have just demanded something that you won't be able to enforce, making you appear to have little authority. It's not worth the headache, believe me. Socializing is important to kids at that age, so if you present that as an option as long as they use "quiet work voices," then they will be more productive. If the class gets too loud, that's when you threaten to disallow the students to work together, and they will typically quiet down.
     
  7. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Comrade

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    Feb 28, 2009

    Thanks for the advice.

    I guess I'm not that good of a substitute!....:confused::haha:
     
  8. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Mar 10, 2009

    Nonsense! I bet you are just fine! Middle schoolers take patience! This forum is so great because you get to learn from everyone elses' experiences and that is a wonderful tool! I know I learned a lot here before subbing and I continue to learn a lot every time I am on here! Good luck! Now you know something new- you just have to implement it now and see what happens. Subbing is a process and sometimes you need to try new techniques and change ideas to work for that group that day at that particular time. You can do it!
     

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