First Sub Job

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Geologygirl, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 3, 2014

    I just got my first job with a district acting as a day to day sub in a nearby district. Does anyone have any good tips for a new sub working in middle and high schools? What about for working in good vs rough areas? Looking at the district map there are both included.
     
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  3. Julie27

    Julie27 Rookie

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    I worked in different districts in MS and HS. In poor districts kids follow street law, in rich districts they follow money law. In poor districts I needed to downgrade myself to the street level and rule the class with their own rules. In rich districts kids are more intricate and sarcastic. There are kids who strive to learn in both sides! There are jerks in both sides too.
    For myself, I figured that HS students should be treated more like adults. You walk in the classroom and estimate how much order you can gain. If the class seems to be out of hand you might need to just blend in and take a lead in the mess. Somewhat like drawing the whole chat to you as a center. Ask questions, ask about the students... Talk to them. Instead of trying to shut them up (not possible, unless there are effective instruments given to a sub.)
    With MS you can use all kinds of tricks. The best one that worked for me: I give every one of them 3 cards (building blocks, sticks.... whatever). Every time they break discipline I take away one card from the misbehaving student. If anyone manages to keep at least one card at the end of class he can play on his phone for the last 5 min of the class. It had never failed!
    Beware (!!!!!!!) of students' cyberbaiting. Google it.
    Be very careful with what you say, it can be flipped over and used against you. Also, read my post about being blocked districtwide, it actually happened in MS. Watch for that kind of students and their parents! Be extremely political and always be alert.
    Also, I would not leave Long detailed nasty notes to teachers. They are overworked and it will only irritate them. Make it short and to the point. List the names of those who was helpful and who was disruptive. Let the teacher know what has been completed and what has not. Use a nice sub report form (there are plenty templates in the net).
    I would suggest not to bother the admin unless it is tooooooo bad. Sub is expected to be a help, a relief, not a problem- reporter :)
    This is out of just my experience....
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Mar 4, 2014

    Good luck today!
     
  5. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 4, 2014

    Oh I meant I got hired by the district. I still need to do an updated the tb test before I get to start subbing. I just wanted to collect some tips so I am ready be the day I do start. Thanks though!
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Mar 4, 2014

    I hope your first day goes better than my first day of subbing.

    I accepted a job... they offered me a full day pay to teach one class (red flags should have gone off). They promised I'd stay on their sub list no matter how the day went (more red flags should have gone off). I get into the class room, get the kids started on something... and I just barely avoid the desk flying towards my head.
     
  7. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 4, 2014

    Whoa! Are you serious? Was their any warning that a kid was escalating?
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    No, there was no warning. He did it to be funny, not because he was angry. Apparently it was a very rare day that somebody from that class did not earn a suspension. The office had a security officer post himself right outside the door because they knew I'd need them at some point, they just didn't know why.
     
  9. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2014

    What kind of class/ grade level was it?
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    7th grade English, in a very inner city school.
     
  11. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2014

    Agree with Julie27, make sure you have a plan, and I'm glad to see that you know you need some ideas...

    Take control of the class, try to be as consistent as possible. They will try everything to get you to crack
    "Our teacher lets us do this"
    "All the teachers let us do this"
    "Every sub we've ever had let us do this"

    Also I would highly recommend that you plan to get to your assignment at least 30 minutes early if you can, it will give you plenty of time to get adjusted, make sure you have lesson plans, know where everything is in the class, you have all your materials, etc, and if not, you have some time to ask about it or come up with another plan. I always felt the most comfortable when I had a few minutes of "alone time" in the classroom to mentally prepare myself for the day.

    Also, if the teacher doesn't have a bathroom policy, the one I used is that anyone could go to the bathroom, but only one person at a time. They pressured each other to make sure they didn't just wander off...it only happened one time where someone left and didn't come back for about 20 minutes...and the girl who had to go was mad at him and not me when he came back, because I just reminded her that I had explained the rule...

    This is a rule that I have kept to this day as a regular day to day teacher. Have never had an issue with it.

    Lastly, just use your common sense as much as possible. If something feels reasonable, it's probably okay. But, try to follow the lesson plan as closely as possible, that is what the teacher expects. When I have subs who don't follow the lesson plan (or don't even try) I make an effort to never get them again.
     
  12. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    Mar 6, 2014

    Agree with a lot of this. With high schoolers, sometimes the less you say the better. Take a less directive approach. If they are the "troubled sort" be positive and encouraging and remind them of the importance of doing their best to finish HS, graduate and further themselves (hopefully educationally) I think the best one can do with high school is to be casual and to give occasional reminders (it's the best you can do w/ this age group) Never get into a power struggle as the whole class will turn.
     
  13. Julie27

    Julie27 Rookie

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    Mar 6, 2014

    One more suggestion:

    I always write all tasks on the board. Use bullets or numbers.
    I write all the assignments for every period. For example:

    Periods 1,3,5 - bla bla bla
    Periods 2,4,6 - bla, bla, bla.
    the worksheet 1 and 3 due at the end of the class.
    WS 2 is due on other day.

    I leave these writings for the teacher, I do not erase them at the end of day. Thus, she can see tomorrow that entire plan had been communicated to the students.
    This is done in case a class decides to procrastinate and then blame the sub for not telling them what to do.
    CYA ;)
     
  14. ZebraStripes

    ZebraStripes Rookie

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    Mar 9, 2014

    Have you taken any jobs yet?
     
  15. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 10, 2014

    No I signed all the paperwork today and am currently trying to get subfinder to work and let me log in. I am hoping to start Thursday as I have a interview tomorrow and Wednesday for next year.
     
  16. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2014

    The majority of the schools I've subbed in are in "rough" areas but I grew up in a nice area and even used to sub at a nice school in a nice area. It's not that big of a difference from a subbing POV.

    I've been a sub for about 3 years now. I work primarily in high schools This is my advice:

    1) Take accurate attendance. Lots of kids try to ditch when there is a sub. If they get hurt or get caught doing something they shouldn't while they're supposed to be in your class, you're not held liable if you mark them absent.

    2) Make sure nobody gets killed. Kids will always think they can get away with more if there's a sub. That will never change, no matter who the normal teacher is or no matter what you do. Don't take yourself too seriously if you're the sub. So just let them do whatever they're going to do as long as nobody gets hurt, bullied, and no laws are broken. Don't write referrals either. Admins also HATE dealing with paperwork and if your name keeps showing up on referrals that looks bad on you...
     
  17. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 12, 2014

    I survived my first sub day. It was in high school half PE half science. It went mostly except 1st period and that was because I am brand new and I was trying to figure all of the procedures out plus the kept moving the PE class. Teachers and subs were extremely helpful, and I found I actually enjoy HS. Maybe more then Middle School,, well maybe not more then 6th grade but maybe equal to it. :D
     
  18. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2014

    2nd day of subbing and the kids were really bad behavior-wise like (2/3rds of the classes) The principal came through during the worst class and they still would not quiet down. She introduced herself to me and told one group of kids to work on their questions. It was the same group I had talked to 4 or 5 times because they would not start the assignment. I would have preferred the kids work alone when they were misbehaving but there were not enough books to do that. The only way to stop the really bad ones was to put their names on the board, and tell them if they behaved they could earn the removal of the names. Some cussed(not at me) many had to be told to throw food away, put phones away, put ipods away multiple times.
    Can anyone give me some classroom management suggestions for high school students? In particular 9th graders? I did my student teaching in middle school and I need to up my game. I could get the middle school kids to behave but I think I need to use a different approach for high school. Plus also being a sub kinda limits my options on what I can and can not do. I really want to do better because I think this was the teacher they wanted me to long term sub for in a month or so.

    Also, MAN! It is crazy the difference in behavior between today's high school and yesterday's high school. These kids are from the same general area/demographics too.
     
  19. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    Don't waste your time trying to get them to put their electronics away. As long as the school doesn't have a fascist policy about them, I don't think it's a big deal.

    I wouldn't do the names on the board thing. It's kind of middle school/elementary schoolish. I'd just make documentation of the misbehaving students and leave a note for the teacher.

    With HS students, I've always found it best to just give them their assignment, tell them it's due at the end of class and write it all down on the board. Take accurate attendance and make sure nobody gets hurt. If they act up, they act up. At that level their behavior is more indicative of their normal teacher's classroom management.


    It varies class to class. When you sub more and more at the same site, you'll recognize some of the same kids and notice they act different in different classes. IMO it really boils down to the teacher.
     
  20. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Mar 14, 2014

    All classes should have seating charts. Tell them you'll put a dot next to their name and two dots means a write-up. Three is a call home. Then e-mail the teacher with the names and tell him/her to follow up or you will not be back.

    If they are really bad and it's becoming an unsafe environment, immediately call security or the AP and have the four or five worst offenders removed.
    I had to do that once in a high school, and it seemed to work. The class calmed down, and the students suddenly got respectful and started doing their work.
    Do not get too hung up :angel: about the phones, but if they're filming you or others that's a problem.
     
  21. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2014

    I was following the teacher's instructions on the electronics. Also if i have t do a long term sub gig there I want to make sure that the kids know I am not a pushover.
     
  22. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2014

    I might try that. It was never unsafe for the kids. The name thing was the only thing which worked which makes me think they did respect their teacher since they did not want her having their name.
     
  23. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2014

    3rd day of subbing and the end of the week. Got a call to sub for kindergardern this morning. I am a secondary teacher who knows nothing about kinder. It was hellaceious. The worst assignment all week. I had trouble getting the kids to sit down and stop talking so we could work together to do our work. I never had this kind of trouble in student teaching. I miss middle school.
    The teacher today also had a weird lesson plan. It was post-it notes on a page telling me what they did when, but it was written in short hand some of which I could not figure out. Under 40 pages of student work suddenly found a second page covered in post it notes for the second part of the day, and under even more paper I found a 3rd page of post it notes on what to do. It took awhile to find them all. I was unable to cover everything. The kids who were suppose to go out of class for this EL thing did not because they came by to say it was canceled. I did not have time to get to the EL work because the students started misbehaving and it took 20 minutes to get them to sit down and stop talking. One note said to dismiss the morning group at 10 which was off by about 2 hours. No mention that the morning and afternoon classes spent 2 hours together so what was hard with 15 kids became almost impossible when there were 30 of them. The minute i tell one group to stop talking and sit down so we can do our work another group is out of their seats talking, etc... Once the morning kids left the afternoon kids were actully not that bad. They would listen to me and we were able to get through the lesson easier. However, there was apparently a fire alarm scheduled for that day no one mentioned so we had to evacuate. I looked for the emergency class list by the door and could not find it and finally had to take the kids out without it( I thought it was real not a drill) along with the first aid kit. I had a little girl who would not stop crying no matter how many times I tried to reassure her it was most likly a drill and we were all safe outside. I ended up locking myself and the kids out of the room. I was able to get them to the right area to wait and I got a extra form from the principal. I got them back inside and of course we were not able to finish all of the stuff assigned for that day. Then after the kids left I worked for 30 mins to clean up and put all of the stuff the kids worked on where the teacher could find it.
    One thing I now know. I will never ever ever take another kinder class. I do not feel like I handled today very well. IF anyone could give some suggestions I would love to hear it.
    Oh yea she said in a post it her behavior system included positive reinforcement and stickers, but their was no stickers to be had. She also said if the kids did not follow instructions she had a system I had never heard of for that. I looked on the walls but did not see any names I could move around to put them in the good or not so good zone. I created one for the class but it hit the not so good zone and kind of stayed there. I also tried singing, rhythmic clapping, playing freeze(the kids suggested this) telling them if I raise my hand it was a game that meant they should sit down stop talking and raise their hands, turning the lights on and off, telling them I was disappointed in their behavior, telling them I liked how "so and so" was sitting nicely with their hand raised to answer a question, cris-cross applesauce, telling them in a stern voice to sit down and stop talking, telling individual tables/children to sit down stop talking so we could do the lesson. None of this stuff seemed to work to get them to sit down, and stop talking so we could do the work together. Does anyone have suggestions of what could have been done to gain better class management of the class? In retrospect the highschool kids on day 1 were angels and the ones yesterday were pretty awesome too. Has anyone else had a rough first week of subbing like this?
     
  24. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Mar 14, 2014

    Here's my advice: if you are a secondary teacher, don't take lower elementary jobs, especially not kinder.
    I subbed in high school and middle school, 6th grade my least favorite (did it a few times), subbed once in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, just to try it. 5th was still ok, but the lower the grade went the harder it was for me, simply because I don't know about that age group, the routines, the expectations, etc. I would not ever have subbed in kinder, I took a day off instead.
     
  25. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2014

    I think I am required to take whatever is offered since the district is short on subs. I have been skipping elementary ones but was told by another sub they would start counting it against you if you decline a job and would not rehire you.
    I think it is funny how some grades are more natural then others. I honestly adore 6th graders and would love the teach them above all other grades. I had 6th graders as part of my student teaching and they were angels in the classroom, engaged and wonderful. I have worked with 1st and 3rd graders through tutoring, and as a teachers aid before and though they are ok, they are not the group I want most to teach. I had no idea how much of a difference there is between k and 1st.
     
  26. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    Mar 14, 2014

    ??? if they are short on subs they will rehire you as long as you do a good job. I think its better if you refuse a job you feel uncomfortable doing than then try and "tough it out" I would disagree with the advice of the other sub. I've worked like 6 days only in one semester and the HR still wanted me to continue and were thankful to have me as a sub.

    I'm working as a full time teacher now and have taken some long term sub assignments in the past. that is whole different playing field. if you get ask in the future to sub for more than one day, make sure you feel comfortable teaching the subject area, otherwise your classroom management will be very hard because kids don't respect teacher who can't answer their questions on the material they are suppose to be learning.

    as for lower grade, I've had a few but I've found that getting to know the rules and expectations of the school is the best thing.

    for example the consequence system: if you don't have stickers you can draw a picture or smiley face and give it to the student with the words "good job". if you have time you can make copies or have your teacher assistant help. most lower grades have a TA.

    for negative consequences we normally had students walk laps during recess. they got one lap per misbehavior. sometimes silent lunch for the class.

    Also at that age kids will do whatever it takes to get your attention, whether its negative or positive. so if you "ignore" less serious bad behavior and praise good behavior, more students will follow the good example.

    however if you focus on trying to correct the 'bad behavior" then the other students will start acting up to get your attention.

    as a sub I would be careful asking advise from the students, many kids see that as a sign of weakness and think they can manipulate you because you have admitted to not knowing what to do, the set rules and procedures. it would be better to ask a neighboring teacher.

    also some teachers will allow you to send a troubling student to their room if you speak to them before school starts and that can help with classroom management.
     
  27. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    Not bad but I can't disagree more about calling the AP. Nothing makes you look less capable of managing a class than calling admin cause kids are acting up.
     
  28. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    I wouldn't worry about a long term job at this point. A lot of unique circumstances have to happen for you to get one. As a sub, I think it's best just to worry about your day to day duties and know that every day somebody doesn't get hurt or killed on your watch is a good day.
     
  29. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    I don't know what your district uses but the one I work in uses subfinder, which is a completely independent operation outside the district. It calls you randomly and the district has no way of knowing what jobs you declined. I've gone weeks without accepting jobs and the only consequence I ever had to deal with was not getting paid for the days I didn't work.

    And yes I had a similar experience with kindergarten when I first started subbing. Took a "rover" job at an elementary school and found myself watching two kindergarten classes for two days in a row. Never again. :eek:
     
  30. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Mar 15, 2014

    bbelton.....somebody doesn't get hurt or killed??? I think you're joking and it is making me laugh but!!! I think subs who are planning to be teachers should have slightly higher standards for themselves...

    When I was subbing, yes, I sent kids to the office....if there's a safety concern, yes, definitely, office. I was subbing for music and I had a kid with special needs, he was being NUTS, picking up his chair, putting it on the risers and then sitting in it, if you can picture that I was terrified he was going to hurt himself or fall on someone and nothing I said was getting through, I sent a kid out to the office to ask for help, and I got help! He came back with an aid and was much happier. Sometimes it's really hard for kids to have a new adult in the room and that's not your fault. And like, I'm a teacher now, and there are a couple classes that are SO HARD and if they have a sub, the teachers and administrators do their best to make it clear the kids need to behave, often there is a reward arranged for if there's a good report from the sub, but if someone is sent to the office it's not shocking. **shrug** because it happens when the teacher is there too sometimes!!

    Anyways, it's hard to be a sub and I don't think people should say don't send kids to the office. Use your judgment on sending kids to the office or asking for help, don't rule it out, try all strategies you have first, and definitely do if there's a safety problem.

    I loved subbing!! Remember everyday is a new day to try some new techniques, strategies, take advantage of having teachers around to ask for advice or network a little. It's a great way to get a glimpse of different school cultures, how buildings run...if you start subbing in the same place more often, you get to know the kids and work with them without having the homework after school that teachers do! It can be great, you learn a lot.

    Also your story about kindergarten makes me smile. They are a different beast for sure. Do not feel bad for having a crazy kindergarten day. Really!!!

    So I am still learning a lot about kindergarten myself but here are the thoughts I have so far from my own experience or watching others:

    When I subbed for kindergarten, it was always a little chaotic, doesn't mean it's always bad chaos, it's just the kids don't know you and you don't know the routines and where they're so young they can't help you. Breathe. Have extreme patience with yourself and the kids, try to intuit what you can about classroom routines, but also have eagle eyes.

    I think positive language is AWESOME with little kids, 1st and kinders. "I know that many of you really want to share your answers, that's great! But I'm going to look for students who have their hands raised to hear what they have to say." Pause while they try to get your approval, then call on someone.

    Don't yell, but if you see something going wrong one thing that can work is to stop the kid and the action as much as you can, state SPECIFICALLY and clearly what you saw happen (without anger) (I was watching you come over here, and I saw that you wanted to sit on that spot on the rug, so you pushed that student out of the way - or whatever) and have them apologize for what they did and say why. "I'm sorry Kaitlyn for pushing you" Then have them correct what they did. I feel when I tell kindergarteners "I saw what happened, and it was this," many of them will feel ashamed of themselves haha. Again, Eagle Eyes: watch them always and address right away things that you see that are not what you asked for. Timed time outs can be effective but not as a first response to something or you'll have every kid in time out lol.

    BUT, if there are grade levels or assignments you just don't feel comfortable with, I think it's totally fine for your own sanity to ask for something else.

    :)
     
  31. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 16, 2014


    When I was hired I was told i had to be available at least 3 days a week and the district is doing this because current subs are not accepting jobs/answering their phones. I guess being available does not mean accepting the fist job though.
     
  32. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 16, 2014

    I am just hoping I will no get fired for all the mistakes I made subbing with the kinder kids. Never again will I accept a elementary job if I can help it.
     
  33. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Mar 18, 2014

    Subbed in 7th grade yesterday. It was way better. I think I do need to stick to secondary.
     
  34. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    You'll be fine. You're not the first sub to ever have problems with kinders...

    What I don't understand is why some Kindergarten teachers don't have a preferred sub they request, since it is such a specialized level and very few subs are capable of handling it. Same goes to Special Ed.
     
  35. willow129

    willow129 Comrade

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    Mar 23, 2014

    good point bbelton...I mean they may not really have anyone in mind though, because it is so tough
     

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