Difference between elementary and high school

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by lilune, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. lilune

    lilune Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I'm going to sub orientation tomorrow and I'll sign up for the schools I want to sub at while I'm there. I normally put down all of the elementary schools in my town and a couple in the next town over. I subbed one day last year (I taught preschool since no new hires in the district) to keep myself active in the system and it was at middle school. What a HUGE difference between that and elementary. What is subbing at high school like?
     
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  3. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    Aug 11, 2010

    It's a crap shoot, somehow less consistent than middle school.

    There are days where you don't have to do anything but pass out papers and collect them at the end. Days where you get to watch a movie that's actually interesting. In my district, it's 3 classes and a planning period. Which means if you can get lucky and, say, get an IB class where they're off taking the IB test you could have half a day of planning.

    Then there are days with fights, kids who won't put the phone away, stuff like that. One of my worst days was when some boys wouldn't stop talking about things they wanted to do to girls in the class. None of the kids said anything to me about it (I later learned that it was because nothing was ever done about it when they did say something to try to get it to stop.). I sent them out and they came back and lied about how the ISS person told them to come back to class.

    Really, it can be anything. I usually check to see what classes the teacher has so I can have some idea before I grab the job.
     
  4. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Subbing in high school definitely is more the, "need of an adult figure on duty" feel... not that you shouldn't put the effort or bring a professional attitude to the day. But definitely, a majority of the assignments (i.e. unless you are a known quantity teaching HS material)... the day's activities will be independent working, with you as a monitor of maintaining a proper working environment.

    In elementary, you are expected to teach, mentor, monitor a class more as a teacher might. In most ways, it's definitely more of a challenge both physically and teaching-wise. In high school, a lot of time it's actually occupying yourself (i.e. bring a book), whereas elementary you never get that opportunity.
     
  5. TimberBlue

    TimberBlue Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2010

    I loved subbing in the high schools here. The kids can challenge and push you, but big whoop ... it's kind of fun when you think of them as oversized toddlers with larger vocabularies. They might act big and tough, but most of them are quivering adolescents trying to push the boundaries on who they think they are. I love them for that, especially since I can keenly recall my own years as a high school student. What I appeared to be on the outside wasn't at all who I was on the inside. This constantly informs my teaching and is why I eventually specialized in subbing at the high school level. But it's not for everyone. You just have to find your niche, or suck it up if you're in need of the money like I was. Those darn second graders ate me alive, and I barely crawled out of there with my eyebrows in tact.
     
  6. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Uh, I never, ever "bring a book" to any sub assignment, the kids of any age level will take advantage of you when you're not paying attention. Even if they are taking a test. Save that for your prep periods.
     
  7. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    thanks for the advice.
     
  8. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    Aug 12, 2010

    At the same time, you don't necessarily need to sit there staring at them either. I usually draw or write since I can look up a lot from that and don't lose my place or anything.
     
  9. KateA

    KateA Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Sorry, I just have to throw my 2 cents in. Bringing a book to class has worked for John Lee, otherwise he wouldn't be subbing still or teachers wouldn't be requesting him back. Just saying don't knock it. It comes down to common sense, don't lose focus of what you're doing. As a new sub, I don't plan on bringing a book to class for a while, I'd rather walk around than sit (at least until I get comfortable with subbing). But that's me. Whatever works.

    BTW, JackTrader, your post was dripping with sarcasm and judgment, which I thought was a little bit unnecessary. Instead maybe say: "I disagree because... such and such" not "Uh... (as in "you're stupid").

    Just saying... :) Have a good day
     
  10. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Yes, it's not like I arrive, kick up my heels, and break out a book. In fact, when I do open my book, I don't get much meaningful reading done. It's more just read a paragraph or two, browse to specific passages, etc... because my attention is always split. It's more a diversion to standing and staring out at them for 50 minutes, watching them do their independant book work.
     
  11. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    When I was in high school there was one retired sub who always came in and read a newspaper for almost the entire class. He'd give us instructions, sit back with his newspaper, and relax! He always ran the class smoothly too. We all knew we had to get our work done, and not many people pushed his buttons.

    I think if you're going to do this, it HAS to be for high school and it had better be a time when they don't need ANY assistance from you in anyway imaginable otherwise I can see this as being negative in the administrator's eyes.

    I also think the students would have to know about your expectations and the way you handle things already. They have to know you're not playing games...one sub I had in high school literally took attendance and then sat at the teacher's desk and texted the entire period. She didn't give us instructions or anything...we texted and talked and nothing ever got done. I didn't see her there very much at all either...:/ She was the kind that "arrived, kicked up her heels," and grabbed her phone!!
     

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