First Sub Assignment -- Need Advice/Suggestions :)

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by ChicTeacher, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. ChicTeacher

    ChicTeacher Rookie

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    Oct 4, 2010

    Hello! I am currently finishing my coursework to become a special ed teacher. I will be student teaching next semester, and have decided to sub in the meantime, for practical experience. I have dealt primarily with elementary students for most of my fieldwork. However, I have just accepted an assignment for 8th grade social studies, and I am getting a little nervous. I am not used to students this age, or the idea of changing classes every period. Can anyone offer me any advice, or words of encouragement? Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. azure

    azure Companion

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    Oct 4, 2010

    I don't want to discourage you, but depending what type of district you're in, I think you should be prepared. Eighth graders can be very difficult, and if you are young they will try to take advantage of your inexperience. I think it's fair to say there aren't very many 8th graders who would pick social studies as their favorite subject.

    Be very firm. Let them know what you expect and what you won't tolerate. You didn't say how long this assignment is. If it's longer than a couple of days, I think you should have a discipline plan in place and follow through--don't make idle threats.

    Good luck.
     
  4. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    Oct 4, 2010

    I absolutely love middle schoolers, but you HAVE to be prepared.

    Get to school BEFORE the kids show up (at many schools in my area the sub start time is the same as the kid start time). Go through the plans left for you and make sure you know what needs to be done. Every middle school classroom I've been in so far has required me to teach, whereas the high school classrooms are more of a pass out a worksheet and babysit. If you don't understand the material and/or have an inkling that there may not be enough material to last the period, go find another teacher who teaches the same subject and ask for help. (This is why you get to school early. It has saved me a headache multiple times, especially when I had to run a 3 day science lab...) Also, write out a schedule on the board for the kids, that way when kids go "But I don't remember what to do next!" you just have to point.

    Also bring things for filler for the last 5 or so minutes of class in case they finish early. Stickers and riddles do wonders.

    Be consistent. Don't tell one kid to sit down and ignore the other. Be calm. Unless I'm doing full class instruction I speak very quietly to the students...that's just my nature, and it works for me. (Also realizing that you probably won't have the kid the next day helps you keep your cool) Another thing that works for me is be very polite to EVERYONE. Please, Thank you, I appreciate that, and the like go a LONG way with them.

    And in most places as long as the regular teacher is good, saying that you are going to write a note explaining everything that went on in class is enough to scare them into behaving.

    I hope my ramblings help! I haven't been subbing that long but PM me if you have any questions.
     
  5. ChicTeacher

    ChicTeacher Rookie

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    Oct 4, 2010

    Thanks to both of you. Do you have any recommendations for games/filler activities that would be appropriate for this grade level? I was thinking brain teasers, etc. Do 8th graders still enjoy games like 7-Up? I have no idea if I'll be left with complete lesson plans, or if I'll have to wing it.
     
  6. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Oct 4, 2010

    You can use some of the same crowd control techniques you used for elementary students. Middle school students still like to be rewarded for their behavior. I used to make a list of the students and put stars by their name so their teacher could see who was amazingly fantastic. This does not work with all 8th graders, but it might help with enough to keep the class under control. It really depends upon the climate of the school.

    Yes, they still like games :)
     
  7. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    Oct 4, 2010

    A definite yes to 7 up. My 8th graders BEGGED me to let them play when I student taught. As for the brain teasers and riddles, I copied a bunch on a sheet of paper, put them in sheet protectors and the kids formed groups and worked diligently to solve them. They'll surprise you with what they can figure out.
     

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