Books/materials to help first time substitute teachers

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by tiki7719, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Aug 6, 2010

    Does anybody know any books/materials worth reading for a first time substitute teacher?

    I am interested in reading materials that focus on classroom management techniques.

    Any suggestions?
     
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  3. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Aug 6, 2010

    I don't know of any book WORTH reading, from a sub P.o.V. & in terms of class management. I'm sure there are plenty good books for regular class management though. Best is just go in there and learn.

    -First impression: intro yourself to the class in a brief and professional way and don't start talking until they all be quiet and submit to you. Look/act like a teacher too... not just some adult who is running the class

    -Learn/use names: goes a long way
     
  4. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 6, 2010

    John Lee is right. Just walk in and ACT like you are in charge. A lot of the student's reaction will depend on how much confidence you exude.

    Learn and use their names - This is by FAR the most powerful tool you will have. Students try to get away with behavior with subs because they feel they are anonymous. As soon as you call them by name, it's amazing how quickly their demeanor will change. Study the seating chart, if one is available. If you don't have a seating chart, then create your own by passing a sheet of paper around for everyone to sign.

    Get to the school early so you can talk with the P, AP, or secretary about school procedures. What should be done during a fire drill or lockdown? Each teacher should have an Emergency Plan notebook or folder in their room with instructions and materials needed, but these can sometimes be hard to find.

    Do NOT get into an argument or "power struggle" with the kids (although this can be very tempting). That just gives the student more authority than they actually have. YOU are the authority in the room and they are not you're equal, but if a student refuses to follow instructions or insists on disrupting the classroom, trying to FORCE compliance will be a losing battle. Simply state your directions and, if a student argues, state the direction again without addressing their argument. If the student just absolutely refuses to stop disrupting the class, send him/her to the principal or call in the neighboring teacher for help. They fully understand some students will push the limits as far as they can and don't expect them to handle every problem by themselves. Use these helpers only as a last resort, but don't be afraid to admit you need some help.

    One of the BEST management techniques I found is writing students name on the board. I had one class that just became increasingly loud and unruly one Friday afternoon. After requests for them to quiet down didn't work, I simply began writing their names on the board. They began to quiet down and one student finally got the courage to ask what was going to happen to the ones with their names up there. I said "You'll find out on Monday when the regular teacher gets back". They didn't utter another peep the rest of class.

    I also use a Feedback form to jot notes to the regular teacher about how each class went. If the students were good, bad or indifferent, I wrote it down. If I had behavior problems, I listed specific names for the teacher to address on their return.

    Don't threaten any punishment you know you can't deliver because the kids will know it as well. Limit punishments to things you can do in the room or (if necessary) going to the P's office. Other than that, recording the names for the regular teacher is tremendously effective, because they know they will usually be in even MORE trouble than normal for giving the sub grief.
     
  5. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Aug 9, 2010

    Excellent advice! Thank you both :) I guess I'm just extremely nervous about subbing.

    I think feedback is something that I am definitely going to do.

    The writing the name on the board technique, is that good through all age levels or more towards elementary school?
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 9, 2010

    It can be very effective on middle school students, as long as it is used sparingly. Using it too much becomes ineffective. During my ST, the middle school team would write the names of students on the board for disruptive behavior or not coming to class prepared. The names were left on the board for a week and check marks were placed beside the names each time a student acted out or forgot their book/homework/etc. Accumulating check marks meant loss of recess, silent lunch or loss of reward activity (depending on how many they got). When I went back to sub at the school, the team had abandoned the Name on the Board because many of the kids had reached the point where they didn't care if their name was written there or not.

    The example I mentioned was a middle school social studies class. It worked well enough on them. Of course, since I didn't actually report those names to the teacher (I was just concerned with getting them quiet right then), there were no real consequences and it might have been less effective if I had tried it again. In this case, I was just using the threat of implied discipline to achieve short term results.

    Even high schoolers worry about having their name written down (in most cases). It's something that has been associated with punishment and/or discipline since Kindergarten. They may try to act "cool" about it, but it still worries them more than they want to admit. I use a Substitute Feedback form which has a section for recording the names of disruptive students. I've had more than one high school kid come up to me towards the end of class and ask "Did I get my name written down?" when the class has been unruly. They know substitutes write a brief report or summary for the regular teaching discussing what happened during the day and very few high school kids want their name singled out as one that caused the sub problems.
     
  7. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Aug 9, 2010

    Substitute Teaching from A to Z was pretty good. I read it after I'd been subbing for a while, so it was kind of a rehash of what I'd already figured out for myself.

    In terms of classroom management, try to stay as close as possible to what the teacher usually does. Sometimes they'll leave you instructions about discipline. Other times you're on your own to figure it out. The kids figure out pretty quickly what you know and don't know, so question them early in the day. With little kids it's easy. You can quiz them about the rules: "Raise your hand if you can tell me the rules about the pencil sharpener (or using the bathroom, going to lunch, etc)." They'll treat it like a game.

    I've used both positive and negative rewards. I use hash marks on the board and tell the kids that each time I have to raise my voice over theirs, a mark goes up. Each mark means one minute of lost recess time. Unfortunately, that only works in the morning. You can do it in the afternoon and tell them they're working on tomorrow's recess, but it's up to their teacher if he or she carries it on.

    Sometimes I'll also write on the board "If we listen, we will play a game." I tell them that each time they get unruly, a word will be erased. If they have just one word, they'll get the game. Througout the day I remind them of the number of words left. If they make it, I'll let them play silent speed ball for the last ten minutes of class.
     
  8. lilune

    lilune Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    What is silent speed ball?
     
  9. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Basically it's just a game of tossing a ball around inside. You can use a small beach ball. I use a small nerf ball.

    Kids will sit on their desks or stand, depending on what you want to allow them to do. They silently throw the ball around the room. If the talk, they're out and have to sit in their chair through the round. If someone throws the ball and the catcher misses, the catcher has to sit. You keep it up until one kid is left standing.

    The kids like the game, and although you have to referee, it's a way to get them quiet for a little while.
     

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