Do you allow chatting?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by teacherincanada, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. teacherincanada

    teacherincanada Rookie

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    Feb 18, 2010

    Do you allow chatting in your classroom?

    I am a new sub and don't know how to handle this issue.

    I honestly don't mind students talking a bit. But I've found in many classes I've subbed for, the students couldn't be productive AND chat. I also find the noise level escalates very quickly, and I get frustrated because I can't find an instigator to centre out.
    I get the kids to quiet down, but then the noise level goes up again. I get them to quiet down, it goes up again, etc.
    (I've also noticed it takes more and more effort to get them to be quiet as the day/period goes on).

    I know there are strategies to handle this.

    I don't know if I should just have COMPLETE SILENCE or try to have students whisper and intervene if it gets louder?
     
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  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Feb 18, 2010

    If the teacher leaves a lesson plan - I discourage chatting because I want them to focus. If there is no lesson plan, they can chat quietly.


    I don't know if I should just have COMPLETE SILENCE or try to have students whisper and intervene if it gets louder?


    Complete silence only if it's a test. Otherwise, I intervene if it gets too loud.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 18, 2010

    When I subbed, I had three basic rules about chatting. If I wasn't giving direct instruction, they could yammer away. The students had to be able to hear me if I talked in my teacher voice so they could stop and listen for further instruction or clarification. They could never get so loud that the other teachers either complained or sent in backup because they thought I was tied to a chair and gagged.

    Eight times out of ten this was a fair agreement to them. The other two times, all I had to do was raise my voice once. I'm a small gal but I can have a VERY loud voice that can be heard through a three-story school if needed. THAT was enough for the others.
     
  5. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    Feb 18, 2010

    I allow chatting only if the noise level does not bother the other students. If it does, then I take the chatting away. It's up to them to moderate and make decisions. I am giving them choices, so ergo they should own up to this responsibility. It's an agreement between us.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2010

    'Productive buzz' is allowed, even encouraged, in many classrooms...it's part of the culture and community in my classroom.

    As a sub, you may feel that the kids are taking advantage of you and 'pushing' the limits- that's typical.

    Listen to the chat- is it productive, about the work, within a reasonable 'working' noise level? If so, let it continue as long as the students are working hard and producing good results. If it seems that the talk is 'idle chatter', off topic or hindering students' ability to work/your ability to carry out the classroom teacher's plans, then find a way to cut it off.
     
  7. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

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    Feb 18, 2010

    I'm the same as catnfiddle. As long as they aren't taking a quiz/test or I'm giving direct instruction, I don't mind chatter. Every once in awhile the noise level gets a little too loud, but after a warning they quiet down. I'm constantly moving around the room when my kids are working on something, and that's my time to chat with them a little bit, which I think they appreciate.
     
  8. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2010

    I'm also new to subbing. (It's nice to see other perspectives on classroom chatting. I've been curious about what other subs usually allow.)

    I've found it really depends on the situation. With middle school students I found out that if I allow too much quiet talking/whispering it quickly escalates to complete chaos. If the noise is above a quiet hum, I will start giving positive feedback to groups of students who are on-task/ working diligently. However, it's really relative to how many students are in the class, the lesson, the age-group, or the subject. If I have 15 students I can allow more quiet discussion than I could allow in a class of 35 students (usually.)
     
  9. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Feb 19, 2010

    Depends on what they are doing. If they are constructing letters, there can be productive chatter that makes the activity fun for them. Just as long as the noise stays down.

    Other times, its good for there to be no chatter. Once I was subbing while I was having a lot of seizures, and so I guess the kids got away with a lot that I didn't see. They were so excited the next time I came in - and shocked to find that they were given detention for shouting across the room after I told them they needed to behave.
     
  10. CD1980

    CD1980 Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2010

    I used to allow chatting, but I guess I've gotten strict in my "old age" (4th year substitute teaching). With me, it partially depends on the age group. If I can tell that a group of high schoolers just isn't going to listen to me at all if I tell them to be silent, then I admit I avoid giving them the order to begin with. That way I can't be ignored. But middle schoolers and below--at least in my district--know there will be consequences if they get a bad report from me.

    It helps once the students get to know you, because many will come to like you and respect you and not want to act up so much. (Granted, this can take a while.)
     
  11. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

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    Feb 21, 2010


    Here is my experience: Students would say "Our teacher allow to work with partners". So, I'd allow them the same only to find out that they'd go across the room and soon there would be more noise then work. So, I got wise, and I' say "Only if you choose someone sitting near you, you can work with partners". Still, sometimes, some kids would move and if so, I make exception if they really do the work. So, I'd tell them this: "If I see you not working, I'd move you back to your seat."

    Last week with a fifth grade, the only way I could control the class from talking so much was assigning those sitting in the back to write done the names of those talking and walking around with excuses like I am gettting paper or I came here (to another desk) to get something from "XX", etc. So, I put a 20 sec rule round trip reducing to 10 sec if the place they're going is closer to their desk.

    You just have to be creative.
     
  12. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Feb 21, 2010

    I've found that usually when students say "Our teacher does/lets...." Its something they are never allowed to do. I just say, "Well she didn't leave me a note about it so we aren't going to do it." A lot of times that is enough to bring reactions such as "See, I told you it wouldn't work."
     
  13. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Feb 21, 2010

    LOL - I love it when that happens. Sometimes I will just remind them that their teacher isn't there today, so they will be following my rules today. They rarely have an answer for that one. :D

    I usually allow some chatting, as long as the noise level stays low enough not to bother other students or classes. There have been a few times when I've told the class that I can talk over all of them if I have to, but if we reach that point, they won't like the consequences. I only had to prove this once. It was an art class in an accelerated high school and the students (who were good kids for the most part) just would not stop talking. So I worked my way around the room until I was behind the loudest group, the yelled QUIET - RIGHT NOW!!! :eek: (I have a rather loud voice under normal conditions and it can really carry if I put some effort into it). The kids were so stunned that I really could yell louder than they that the chatter stopped immediately. :cool:

    Now that I've got the experience of my internship behind me, I feel a lot more confident about stopping chatter before it gets out of control in the first place.
     
  14. fratermus

    fratermus Companion

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    Feb 22, 2010

    Agreed.

    I usually model it for kids I don't already know. For HS kids it might be a spiel like this:

    "On-task conversation sounds like: 'How did you approach #6? How did you get a handle on this concept? Where the heck did you find that information?'

    Off-task conversation sounds like '... and then SHE said....
    or what are you doing Friday night...
    or didn't you know he's going out with .....
    or check out the new app on my iPhone."

    I also give kids a minute or two to stray then return to the task. Similar to watercooler talk. I think humans need a bit of downtime to run best.
     

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