Can I never expect pin-drop silence as a sub??

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by thesub, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Yesterday I subbed as an art teacher and had seven 4th grade classes trooping. Only one remained very quiet when I "threatened" to write them up for being too loud and I know their teacher is really big on discipline (subbed for her once). The other 6 couldn't care less and whistled, hummed or moved around.

    I have been reading in this forum about discipline tactics like being strict with them right in the beginning and running a tight ship.
    This lasts only for 10 minutes and eventually the class noise gets louder and louder. I keep saying "if you can hear me, clap once" and I get only a few claps. I try writing 5 stars on the board and erasing them one by one for bad behavior but the students don't care.

    I have been subbing for 6 years and v.v.few classes have been really quiet. I am always surprised how quiet they are when their regular teacher/specials teacher is in the classroom. Do i have to get even more meaner??? Do I report their bad behavior to the teachers - won't this mean that I am incapable as a sub? I don't want the teachers to be mad at me:wub::wub:.

    Thanks so much,
    thesub
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Yes, it's definitely possible. I'm with mostly high school, and somewhat middle school age kids, and had very limited experience with elementary age kids, but I don't think it should be much different in this respect.

    I have seen classrooms doing their work in complete silence for 20 minutes at a time. They would do it more, but we'd switch activities, so I'm talking, asking questions, they're answering, etc, but everything is still in order. It can definitely be done.

    It's not about being mean, but being strict. Start making them down, look at the seating chart, and make little checkmarks for even saying one word. If there is a consequence in place for certain amount of checkmarks, they'll get the message and works really well. A lot of subs think that it's ok for the kids not be on their best behavior, because it's always like that with a sub. Yes,it's often true, but it doesn't help to have that mind frame. Always expect nothing but the best from them.
     
  4. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Nov 29, 2012

    If they come in noisily, make them march back outside and stand there until they can be completely silent. Then try again. If they are noisy coming in again, march them back outside. As many times as it takes. Then, in your note to the teacher, tell her no work was completed because the class had to keep repeating their classroom entrance.

    If they start to get noisy after they've been in the room for a while, threaten them with having to stop and put their heads down. If they're noisy again, follow through and make them do it. Tell them they'll keep their heads down and class will not continue until it is completely silent for whatever amount of time you tell them (two minutes, three...whatever).

    Use seating charts. Report misbehavior to the teacher for whom you are subbing. The clasroom teachers may or may not be sympathetic to their behavior in art, but the art teacher certainly should know that they're having a field day when she's gone.

    If the teachers are mad at you because you tell them the kids are misbehaving, that's their misdirected anger and it's not your problem.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Is it necessary to have pin-drop silence?
     
  6. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Interesting question, and one I've thought a lot about since entering this profession. I don't know about the OP, but I think the expectations are different from teacher to teacher. Some want silent work, some don't mind "work talk." Regardless, the kids need to understand that the expectations are set forth by the teacher in the room, not the teacher they're used to.

    To me, it's similar to rules about roving around the room. Some teachers will let the kids work on the floor or at tables or in different corners, while others want them at their desks all day. It comes down to personal preference.
     
  7. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Lol, not pin drop silence but quite quiet:)

    QUOTE=Caesar753;1710648]Is it necessary to have pin-drop silence?[/QUOTE]
     
  8. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Thank you all. My question is: I have seem some teachers tolerate "working noise" but if my preference is to have them work in silence, am I within my rights to enforce it? As a sub, how much can I insisit they work in silence even if their class teacher tolerates noise?

    Two classes told me (I discreetly asked some quiet kids) that their teachers really do not have consequences and she just reminds them to be quiet. In this scenario, what should I do as a sub?

    I kept reminding the kids to whisper or talk softly and this soon started reaching loud levels. Then a few special ed kids (no aides for them yet) started throwing erasers at each other and jabbering nonsense which I am sure would not have happened with the actual art teacher or their homeroom teacher.

    Thanks again so much.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 29, 2012

    This might come down to a matter of picking your battles. While I do agree that the sub should be able to run the classroom as they want to (within the confines of the school rules and whatnot), I do think that it's important to remember that classes have their own dynamics that exist without the sub. Class traditions, daily schedules, and the preferences of the regular teacher have been in play since the first day of school. As a sub, it might not be the best idea to go in, guns blazing, and try to change those things. The routine is very important to students, and they can become resentful and defiant when asked to change it.
     
  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Honestly, as long as the kids are working and discussing the material, why would you fight for pin-drop silence? I can understand during a test or individual work, but you have to choose your battles. My group this year really struggles with being quiet, so there are times I do insist on pin-drop silence because I want them to learn that skill. But it's for brief (i.e. 5-7 minutes) segments of the day. I also think art is a very expressive subject and the kids will want to talk about their creations. Art is never silent in my room! I often turn on 'working music' during art.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Although a lot of people think subbing is easy, it's not, it can be very complicated. One complicated issue is one that has been brought up. How much can you change the daily routine and still be ok, and how much is too much? I don't think there is a straight answer, it depends on you, on the class, maybe their teacher, the day the students are having, and maybe even the rules you're trying to change.

    As far as expecting silence even though their teacher allows them to talk is definitely doable, in my opinion. So far these are the things I have been able to change consistently without problems:
    - entering the classroom silently, even if the teacher lets them talk. It can take a while, but only because it's a habit they have to break. It's a good way to show them right away that you are strict
    - being quiet and not talking while doing work
    - expecting more work than the regular teacher. For example watching a movie and taking notes (teacher doesn't require notes or gives extra credit. For me it's normal class work.)
    - some changes of routines, for example who passes out what, how we collect it, etc. I always explain that I don't know everything their teacher does, so they have to go with the flow, it's not a huge deal.
    - requiring assigned seating or changing seats

    These are the things I had problems, or I think I would have:
    - requiring them to raise hands to speak when the regular teacher doesn't. Some teachers have a more relaxed environment and let students blurt things out. I myself don't like that. I think it's a tough habit to break, especially since the student probably don't like it so they're not trying very hard.
    - taking away the regular rewards. I usually try to make sure this is not disrupted. If on Fridays they have free time I usually give it to them. Although it's not always the case. This week's class' teacher gives them 10-15 minutes to talk at the end of the class if they're done with the work. I can't do that. I can't justify taking 15 minutes out of 50 to sit and talk. So we didn't do it, and it wasn't even an issue. Friday they get an hour free time, (groups) I told my TA I don't feel good about that, but 25 minutes is ok. The classes have been ok to pretty good.
     
  12. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Nov 30, 2012

    OK, I exaggerated the "pin drop silence" but can they not talk softly or keep it low?

    I agree art is expressive and kids will want to talk about their creations. But it's the general atmosphere that upsets me. The getting up from seats, the humming, everyone trying to go to the bathroom - they would not do this for the regular teacher, so why should I put up with all this?


    Thank you,
    thesub

     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Well, today I could hear the pin drop. I have 1 class for 2 periods, and then the same thing with another group.
    It's supposed to be English and History, but the regular teacher says it's ok to mix the boundaries and not keep the actual time (50 minutes for each) as long as they are done.
    So they came in, did journal writing, then shared, then studied vocabulary words, then had a quiz. Then took out their history notes and took another quiz. Then watched the national news, took notes and shared. The entire time there was not one sound, they were concentrating so hard. When someone was finished, he would raise his hand, give me the paper, and signal to ask if he could get a magazine to look over (regular classroom procedure). It was so seamless, all I had to do was sit there and stare at them, or walk around.
    And it was the same way with both groups. and some days these same kids just completely forget the concept of raising hands.
     
  14. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Dec 1, 2012

    Well, when I subbed in gen ed (I do pretty much all special ed right now), I almost always did elementary. I rarely had perfect silence. However, I also rarely had noise that got out of control. As one of the posters said, I have to pick my battles as a sub. Not only is my presence basically upsetting their routine and expectations for the day, the work they are doing is usually very different. Different kids are going to respond in different ways to this.... sometimes talking is the least of my problems. :)
     
  15. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Dec 1, 2012

    Lucky you...some day maybe I can get this result also but sometimes I go back to the

    same classroom, so I guess I am not doing too bad:D:D and after a long time, I worked all days this past week.
    thesub

     
  16. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    I'm older and I can remember classes in the 1960s where pin drop silence was the norm. I remember junior high study halls where talking was forbidden, and you either worked on homework or read.

    I spent the past three days subbing in a junior high where they have these periods where everyone has a study hall at the same time and you can go to other teachers for help, go to the library or have band lessons, etc. The students told me the teacher allows them to play games if there work is caught up. On Friday, they told me the teacher allows them to play soccer or basketball. I didn't even want to hear the details of how they play basketball or soccer in a classroom. I told them it was a study hall and they need to find something to do. Many of them played cards. I really think education has regressed in this country. In another district where I sub they would have been playing games on their iPads.
     
  17. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    You are absolutely right Nietzsche. Teachers (and parents, pretty much) undermine their own authority by doing the things like you mention (allowing to play games, etc.) Bear in mind (a to z), I'm not saying all teachers and all parents. I'm just saying that our society gives up these things that we CAN have, and then we wonder why things are as bad as they may be.

    As it relates to this thread, as subs, you need to realize that you can demand (not "demand", but you know what I mean) certain things. You deserve respect. Don't undermine your own authority... by letting students talk while you talk. Don't let them simply walk in the door and make all kind of noise even if the regular teacher lets them. That's the key. As a sub, you are naturally in a sort of subordinate position. But you can't think of it that way. You've got to come in to the class with the expectation, as if you are a celebrity or authority figure or President of the United States. A pin-drop class can be had... not all the time, but in any case, it can be a quiet(er) working environment if you want it to be!
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes. I'm old-skool. In my country, students would go in the classroom, without the teacher present. While we waited, we might have talked quietly, but nothing major. As soon as the teacher walked in, we stood up, like when you stand up for a judge in a courtroom, and then silence. We also had to stand up every single time we addressed the teacher. Raise my hand, teacher calls on me, I stand up and tell him the answer.

    Now I don't expect this, but I expect respect - and give it, of course.

    Kids need structure, and secretly they do like it. I'll be in a 3 week assignment starting Monday. Chatty bunch of students. Last week I had them for 3 days and was very strict with them, because I wanted them to remember how i want things when I return. And now, when the teacher told them that I'll be there for 3 weeks, every class applauded and cheered :) Go figure. Of course they're gonna still test me and I'm going to have to come down hard on them, but this showed that they will respect you, and maybe even like you more if you're strict.
     
  19. StellatheSub

    StellatheSub Rookie

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    I expect silence, which I tell them is a level 0 - no talking time, mostly on two occassions. This is during writing time and if they are taking a quiz or test. I understand sustained silent reading time is supposed to be silent also, and I attempt to obtain that, but I tend to be stricter during the other two times I mentioned. I don't feel as if students can think properly to write if there is talking, and during a test is just unacceptable.
     
  20. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Sometimes kids have to be reminded several times that they have to work silently, but I usually always get there. In middle school I think I need to ask them about ten times before they're all finally working silently.

    There's always that one student making fart noises or whistling in his seat, but if you ignore it he usually stops doing it pretty quickly.
     
  21. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    I haven't read the whole post, but I will say that the noise level in an art room is vastly different and non-art teachers sometimes don't like that.
     
  22. Cerek

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    Dec 25, 2012

    I've always said the most effective tool a sub can use is learning the names of the students. Seating charts are invaluable in helping with this, but if the regular teacher doesn't supply one, you can pass a sheet of notebook paper around and create your own.

    I once had a middle school class that would not stop talking and kept getting a little louder as class went on. I finally stopped talking completely and began writing the names of those talking on the board. With each name I wrote, the class became quieter and quieter. By the time I finished, I DID have pin-drop silence in the room. One student "What does that mean if our name is on the board?". I answered, "You'll find out on Monday, when the regular teacher returns." The pin-drop silence lasted for the remainder of the class.

    As a teacher, I would often like my classes to have pin-drop silence, but I know this isn't a very realistic goal and may not be the most productive either. Kids naturally want to talk and socialize. You can't let it get out of control, but you also have to choose your battles. So I will usually let them discuss the work and help each other, as long as the talking is kept to a low level.
     
  23. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    It used to really bother me that the children would be noisy and disrespectful while I was teaching and then would quiet down when a staff member would walk in. I said to myself that it's because I was a sub.
    Then I did some reflecting and decided it was me. I never went over my rules and expectations, so the students just did what they liked.
     
  24. Wants2Teach

    Wants2Teach Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2012

    I'm currently a substitute teacher, I've only been doing this for a month and a half, and I often ask myself what are some viable reasons to call administration. For example, there will be times when more than half the class will not be sitting in their assigned seats, off task, and chatting. Would this be a frivolous reason to call admin?

    I know that if I go in there and try to get them all to change seats it will take all class period, and all them will say ,"our teacher isn't strict on the seating chart." While I do this I will just be contribute in disrupting the students who are there to learn; who have their hands raised; who need me to assist them with their work.

    However, I find it's easier to control students if you are subbing for the class for more than a day, or if you are in a classroom where there desks sit individually, and the assignment is something like a read around.
     
  25. MrsPoppy

    MrsPoppy Rookie

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    I don't usually require pindrop silence. I do require that they do not interrupt during direct instruction, and that there are certain times during the day when it will need to be silent, such as during a test or silent reading (depending on grade-level... for instance, 1st graders don't usually internalize their reading very well, so I just require very quiet reading). I explain the need for silence, and that they will be silent for x amount of time, and that I will let them know when time is up. I frequently walk around with stickers, which I put on the back of the hand of those who are being totally silent. I'll usually comment something like "Great silent reading" and make a show of putting on the first 2 or 3. It's amazing how the talkative students will suddenly be super-silent readers when a sparkly smiley face sticker is on the line. I almost always end up with everyone in the class having a sticker, since I'll make a second round to get those who have caught on. I try to work discussion and quiet talking into the day so that when I do expect complete silence, it's not like they've been having to do it for hours on end. That will only lead to rebellion (which I discovered the hard way my first month subbing). While I don't expect complete silence all day, I do make it clear to them right at the beginning that they will be permitted to talk at SPECIFIED times throughout the day, and that they WILL NOT be disruptive or get the noise to a volume that will bother anyone in the hallway or any other class. and that if they do, they will lose talking privileges for the remainder of the day. I usually follow that with, "But I know that this class would never do that. I'm sure we'll be just fine with talking at a quiet level today."
     

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