Do you notice a correlation?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Anonymousteach, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Anonymousteach

    Anonymousteach Companion

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Have you ever noticed a correlation between a teacher's classroom management and how students behave for a substitute? It seems to me that when I sub for a teacher that has very little or no control over their classroom, the students show no respect for me, act up in almost every way possible, and it ends with me having to call one of the administrators or writing up some office referrals. However, when I sub for a teacher that has high expectations and strict classroom rules, I have great classes and almost no incidents! It's amazing how I might I have one student in the class where the teacher has little control, and they're nothing but trouble for me, only to have them in the stricter teacher's room a few days later and they're a complete angel! Does anyone else notice this?
     
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  3. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Oct 13, 2012

    A lot can depend on the dynamics of a particular group of students. A student who acts up in one teacher's class might not act up in another class because he/she is not with the same circle of friends. Teacher expectations can play a part in this, but not always. For example, last year I had one class that was always well behaved for me. The first time I was out, I could not believe the note the substitute teacher left about the students in that class. They were doing things that they would never dream of doing when I was there. They were just trying to test the waters to see how far they could go with the sub. Another time, the teacher across the hall from me was out. She has great classroom management. One class was giving her substitute such a hard time that I actually had to leave my room, go into her class, and see what was going on. I ended up taking four students out and made them sit in my room the remainder of the period because they were acting so horribly for the sub. Now, on the other hand, when a teacher with poor control is out, I can easily see students misbehaving for a sub. If there are low/no expectations for behavior on a regular basis, they probably won't be getting serious about their work for one day!
     
  4. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Oct 13, 2012

    There is a strong correlation between a teacher's management style and the way their class behaves, no matter what teachers will come in here and say.

    That being said, there is almost as strong a correlation between your management style (as a sub), and how a class will behave.

    Works both ways.
     
  5. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Oct 13, 2012

    In general, kids tend to pull the same stuff for me wherever I go, because I'm a sub and because they're testing limits. The difference is in how far they'll go when they test limits. Some classes will test limits by being chatty and off-task. Some classes will have kids who run out of the room and start cursing (thankfully, that one only happened once or twice!). I don't think these behaviors really have much to do with the classroom teacher (for the most part, at least). I do think that kids will predictably test limits in response to a change in their environment/routine. It's up to us as subs to expect that limit-testing and respond appropriately!
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 13, 2012

    How do you know what the teacher's classroom management is like?
     
  7. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Oct 13, 2012

    It's not difficult.
    First of all, if you are a regular at a particular school, you certainly can make assumptions about what style (of class management) a teacher has. But in general... call it a professional sense that a sub teacher gains, going into different class environments on a regular basis. It might not be able to be quantified in an official sort of way. But... one intuitivelly puts together: the way a classroom looks, the way students respond (to adults), the way the students go about business, the bulletin boards, the teacher's desk, the sub note itself, etc.

    You see this type of combination every single day, and you naturally build a sense, based on how your days went in similar circumstances.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I've worked in my district for 13 years. I wouldn't presume to know what goes on in other teachers' class rooms...I'm not in there when they are teaching. I certainly wouldn't judge a teachers management skills by the neatness of a desk or how his/her students act for a sub.
     
  9. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I agree! There are days that my desk is completely hidden by the end of the day.

    I'm a piler. Don't judge me by my piles & please don't touch my piles. I know it's not the neatest looking, but it's how I function best.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I've had classes who were consistently praised for their behavior inside and outside of my classroom...until I was out and had a sub.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I don't know anymore if that correlation is strong or not. In my opinion, a class will be better for a sub if
    - they generally have respect for their regular teachers (this is most of the time true)
    - the teacher will reward or assign consequence based on behavior while she was gone. I think these 2 are very important. Often the teacher promises rewards / consequences based on the sub's feedback, and these work great.
    - it also depends on the sub's classroom management

    However,
    - kids often think of subs as someone they can mess with because they don't know the procedures, etc.,
    - expect it to be an easy day with movies / worksheets. If it is, they often get too relaxed, thinking it's not really a 'learning' day, so anything goes.
    - if it is not an easy day as they expected, they might not be happy.

    In my opinion, it is up to the sub to make it work. It might be easy, it might be hard.


    At the schools I sub in, I know 95 % of the teachers' style, I've been in their classrooms with them, talked to them, etc.
    -I have subbed for teachers who could not handle their own classrooms, but for me they were great.
    -I have subbed for a teacher who is awesome, but he's pretty relaxed in terms of behavior and material. When I was there 2 weeks ago, the officers outside the door told me 'I haven't heard this class this quiet for 3 months'. I'm not saying he can't handle them, it's just that lets them talk. I don't, and the students understood that.
    -I also subbed for teachers who had great command of their classes, and some days the kids were awesome, and other days they were troublesome. Had nothing to do with the teacher.
    - I have subbed for 3 teachers who teach the same kids, different periods. Science, history and English, and there are 6 periods to compare. I subbed for Eng. teacher 2 weeks straight, Hist. teacher 1 week, Science teacher 3 weeks off an on (within the past 3 months). In Hist. and Science teacher's classroom the kids work hard, they do blurt something out here and there and try to get me off of topic, but generally it's ok. (they're pretty immature). In the English teacher's class it was constant noise, blurting things out, having to repeat myself a thousand times (I posted about it back in August). Was that teacher a bad teacher? No, she's great, the students love her and respect her, but her style allows them to not raise their hand, and in generally they're more participatory. I had a harder time, but if I would have made a judgement about her, I would have been wrong.

    So, yes, this can be quite complex, and you can't just always make an assumptions.
    -
     
  12. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I think that classes can have good dynamics and other times because of th mix of kids, there are management issues. You really cannot judge based on a subs observations. My co teacher's class was terrible for the sub a few weeks ago and I can assure you, they are normally well behaved. I am also surprised by some of unkind things said in this post. Perhaps, some thoughts are just better left unsaid. It is fine to have an opinion, but how we say things matters.
     
  13. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Oct 14, 2012

    I also make some observations/assumptions about the classroom teacher's management, but only after I see the teacher in action. Since I return to the same classes/schools often, I am often able to see the same teachers and assistants I am subbing for in the classroom environment. In this way, I have a unique advantage over even the rest of the teachers in the school, because I am able to see a variety of classrooms from the outside in... it's actually pretty cool. :)

    However, as I said before, I've never really made a judgement on the management of a class just from their behavior while I sub. All kids misbehave in some way for the sub. I know this isn't supposed to be the norm for most subs, but for me there is actually a stronger correlation between how much emphasis the teacher puts into "you need to respect ALL teachers, even subs!" to the class and their behavior. >< Although teachers are well-meaning when they emphasize that, it also basically gives the teacher's strong acknowledgement that this lady is indeed a sub - and all subs get tested, haha. I've always had better-behaved kids if I am able to present myself as myself... I have excellent classroom management and they realize quickly that I mean business.... unless they hear first that I'm a sub and get it into their heads that I'm an easy nut to crack. :)
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 14, 2012

    Is their a correlation, in general, between the teacher's classroom management and the student's behavior? Yes. Absolutely. Like John Lee, I find it hard to believe other teachers feel the need to argue that point.

    Having subbed for 3 years, I've gotten to know most of the teachers I sub for on a personal basis. Even when I wasn't subbing in their rooms, I was often subbing in another room across the hall or down the hall, so I've seen their management styles for myself.

    I can think of 3 or 4 teachers off the top of my head who run a very structured classroom and I know I will have very little trouble with their classes (in general) when I sub for them.

    On the other hand, I subbed for a different teacher one day (in a school where I had subbed many times) and the same kids that were well behaved in other classrooms were extremely challenging in this classroom. At lunch, some of the other teachers asked how my day was going. I told them it had been a little challenging, but nothing I couldn't handle. They ALL said "Well, Mr. Regular Teacher has NO classroom management. He allows the class to get out of control, then screams at them to "SHUT UP" when they get too loud." One student told me the teacher calls him an "idiot" almost every day. Once I knew that, the classroom behavior made a lot more sense. BTW, I told the one student I would NEVER call him - or any other student - an idiot. I might chastise his behavior or give him consequences for a bad decision, but I would not insult him.

    On the other hand, I subbed for a teacher that I worked with fairly closely in my previous school. I knew she had good classroom management skills, but she told me herself that one class, in particular, was extremely difficult to control (mainly because of the mix of kids). She was right. The kids weren't bad or mean, but they were VERY hard to control. I subbed in the class several times and eventually established a good rapport with them, but even on their best days, they were still a challenge at times.

    Even if I didn't know the regular teacher, I would have been able to determine that THIS class was different from the others and that their behavior was due to the particular mix of kids rather than her management style, because all the other classes (which also had their share of challenging students) were much better behaved.

    So, yes, you CAN make fairly accurate observations about how the Regular Teacher runs the room based on how the students act. I know every class is going to test the substitute and I've subbed enough to know how much of the behavior is that and how much of it is normal behavior that goes on every day. If ALL the classes are hard to handle, chances are the regular teacher allows them to act that way as well. If it's only one or two classes, then it may just be the mix of kids in that room.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 15, 2012

    I'm definitely not aware of any research, but I would suspect that the more a teacher focuses on promoting self-management, student ownership of behavior, and externalization of environmental expectations, the better the class would behave, especially as the year progressed and more was "learned."

    What I mean by "externalization of environmental expectations" is this: some teachers focus on rules being their own personal rules, and the classroom being their own personal classroom. As an example, a teacher might say, "Don't talk like that in my classroom!" In that case, the teacher is emphasizing that the student's behavior offends the teacher's personal expectations, as opposed to universal expectations of the general classroom environment. To the degree that a student feels expectations are only specific to a teacher, or to the extent that a student is only meeting expectations out of fear of reprimand by a specific teacher, it would stand to reason that you'd likely see less compliance with such expectations when you remove the primary teacher.
     
  16. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Oct 16, 2012

    No doubt there's a connection. One of the worst sub days I've had was in a middle school science class. Each period acted up and the kids told me they always act that way because the teacher didn't believe in yelling at them. At one point the teacher in the adjoining room came in and threatened them all with detention. She told me later that it wasn't me - the teacher has no control.

    On the other hand, I've regularly subbed for a first grade teacher who has things under extreme control. She writes performance notes to parents each week, writes the agenda on the board so the kids know what comes next...the school even has a schoolwide discipline plan that involves daily meetings with behaviroal contracts for certain students.

    Those are extremes, and there's definitely a range in between. The longer I do this, the more I think it's not necessarily a lack of management skills on the teacher's part, but communication with the person covering their absence that makes for a smoother day. A teacher can have great rules and systems in place, but if she doesn't leave instructions about how things work, the kids will "forget" everything and run amok.
     
  17. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Oct 16, 2012

    Are you kidding?
    Often before I even set foot into a classroom, I'm asked by other teachers who I'm there for. Believe me, if your colleagues are not impressed with your daily management, they'll let the person spending the day with your class know it. There are some schools where there definitely isn't a lot of solidarity among the staff.

    Then there are the kids, who will be forthright about their own perspective on how much discipline the teacher exercises.

    My point is, I rarely have to make any observations or judgements before I'm bombarded with the opinions of others. Do I take it as gospel truth? Of course not! But, I'd be lying if I said it doesn't color my opinion once I get in the room and start working my way through the day. Sometimes I wonder what the teacher did to rub so many coworkers the wrong way, because the class was great, and other times, I'm glad for the warning because I know it's not all my techniques causing the friction.
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2012

    So basically it's not really a connection between the teacher's management and the class' behavior with the sub, but it has to do with the communication from the regular teacher.
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2012

    .
     
  20. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Never ever believe the kids when they tell you what the other teacher does and how they act. Most of the time they'll try to manipulate you by saying, 'we're bad for the other teacher, too', saying you should allow them to misbehave, because that's how they are. etc.

    I disagree. I think there are some cases where this generalization is correct. But, just as in the "if a class is bad for a sub, it's because the teacher has bad daily classroom management" statement, there are shades of grey. You work in continuation schools, right? So you may face lying kids regularly. I've found that although there are kids who stretch the truth, or "can't remember" certain things, overall, they are truthful about most things, especially if I ask them to repeat to me what it is they're asking for as if I don't believe them. How do I know they're telling me the truth? If it's something I think might be sketchy, I'll go with my gut and still say no then ask about it later. I've found that many teachers allow things that I'd never allow.
     
  21. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Oct 16, 2012

    I said in the post that you cut this from that there are extremes on each end. There are teachers with bad management skills and I've been in their rooms. No amount of communication with me could fix the fact that the students haven't had rules for six or eight months. There are other teachers who have it down so well that I walk in and I barely have to be there becasue the routine is so well drilled into the students. The middle ground is what I was referring to in my comment about communication.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2012

    Sounds incredibly unprofessional of the staff. You should also let students know that you will not engage in conversation with them about their opinions of their regular teacher...your best bet is to take the professional 'high road' when you are approached with such comments. It says more about those sharing the opinions than it does about the teacher about whom they are speaking.
     
  23. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    The very best thing about working as a roving teacher is that you don't have to get drawn into the workplace drama. As for the kids, I don't engage in conversation with students about their opinions on anything, except maybe when the assignment calls for discussing a story. I'm not their friend or their parent. The post was asking how someone would know what a teacher's clasroom management was like. I was simply stating that it is rarely a secret when a teacher can't keep a room under control.
     
  24. Scoop11

    Scoop11 Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2012

    You are right -- you can't listen to what the kids or what anyone else tells you on what happens in a classroom that you are subbing in.

    There are exceptions to the rule, however.

    Personal experience: last year, I ended up in a long term assignment at the local high school that went from before Spring vacation to the end of the year. (Disciplinary issues with the teacher in question I was subbing for) Since I was going to be replacing her (she ended up resigning) I needed to know the procedures and how she ran her classroom so that I could go and try to fix some damage that had gone on in the classroom before I got there. (For example -- previous semester, she only put in 4 grades for the entire semester, of which one of the grades was worth 80%) I ended up changing a LOT of things in there, which made my life and those of my students easier.
     
  25. MrsPoppy

    MrsPoppy Rookie

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    While some students will be good no matter what, and some will act up no matter what, I DO find that the overall behavior of the class is largely dependent on how the teacher holds them accountable when no sub is there. 2 Weeks ago I had the best 6th grade I've EVER had, followed the next day by the WORST 6th grade I've ever had (next room over). One had very set procedures and expectations well-posted for students and written out for me, the other had no behavior management system in place other than sending students to the office, and didn't even have a procedure of how to get the kid's attention. He simply had a microphone that one of the students told me he screams into when the class gets too loud. (I heard him through the wall the day before, so I believe that student) I have noticed on many occasions that the overall behavior is closely related to how much responsibility the normal teacher requires them to take for their own actions.
     
  26. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 9, 2012

    I noticed it back when I used to sub. I had subbed for as many as 5 or 6 districts. I know in the classes when the teachers had the following system, it probably wasn't going to be a smooth day:

    1st warning = pull yellow card
    2nd warning = pull blue card
    3rd warning = pull green card
    4th wanring = pull red card & call to parents

    And affter the day was over, it wasn't good either. If the regular teacher has to do all this, the kids sure aren't going to be good for a sub.
     

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