First time substitute in rough school. Any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by New teach83, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. New teach83

    New teach83 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2015

    Hello everyone,

    I am going to begin substitute teaching within the next two months and will most likely be teaching K-12 in several rough schools on the reservation. I am curious if any of you have suggestions about controlling the classes? Behavior management? Motivation, etc?? I understand that as a substitute I am limited by the lack of rapport I will have with the students but I am just searching for any tips that any of you experienced educators might be able to share. While the young kids can be challenging, I am more anxious about middle school and high school students, as I am pregnant I am not in the best condition to deal with breaking up fights. With that aside though, I look forward to hearing from any of you.

    Thank you for taking the time to read.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jan 29, 2015

    I honestly liked subbing in what were considered rough schools. Most of the time, the students will have an activity to complete. My strategy was usually to allow conversation during the activity (unless told otherwise or it's an activity like a test) with a few ground rules. The students should be able to hear you if you speak a little above a conversational tone, around the level if you were giving active instruction. They should also keep their conversational levels to the point they are keeping the noise level contained within the classroom and not disrupting other classes. If they can follow those rules, it will give you a chance to listen in, even join in a conversation or two, and get to know these students as individuals. Once you start doing that, those students will be more likely to work with you in other classrooms.
     
  4. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Jan 29, 2015

    I completely agree. You don't want to get into a power struggle with them. You won't win.

    They may try to shock you with words or actions. Be prepared. They are just tying to test you and get a reaction. It might be a question they ask or something they draw on the board.

    I loved working in a "tough" school. Remember to enjoy your time and smile. That makes a difference for these kids.

    Also don't show fear if you can help it. Even if you don't know what you are doing look like you do.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jan 29, 2015

    First and foremost, you don't put your safety on the line. I would suggest asking for a sit down with the administration and asking them how they want you to handle altercations, skipping classes, defiance, etc. You won't be the first sub to ask the questions and it always helps for admin to actually consider their position on these questions. When I asked questions of the admin of a MS I subbed in, it resulted in a sub training class with references and clear expectations.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 29, 2015

    Be as consistent as you can. Be kind and pleasant when you can; when you can't, be firm but not rude.

    Pregnant or not, you should never be breaking up fights.
     
  7. New teach83

    New teach83 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2015

    Thank you all for your suggestions and your support. I look forward to teaching at these schools but want to approach the students in the best way that I can in order to help educate them and give them more of a desire to be at school.

    Again, thank you so much for your help.
     
  8. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    Jan 30, 2015

    Just be friendly and treat the students like you would if you were subbing at a privileged school. Be confident and positive with everything you do. And whatever you do, don't get the office involved. Lord knows the lower end schools have enough crybaby teachers that write referrals religiously and keep the office swamped. The last thing they need is for a sub to have problems with students.

    I've subbed in a "Title 1" district for a year and a half now and I've never had any real problems.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jan 31, 2015

    One other suggestion that falls in the range of maintaining some professional distance. Don't over share personal information. It may seem innocent, but you don't want to give too much away. Students from any district may have unlimited amount of time to Google you, and you don't want to know some of the mischief they can get into, and problems they can cause. A teacher at my last workplace did not take the advice to lock down their social media accounts, and a bored student created havoc. They don't need to know even roughly where you live, much of anything about your family, and I keep the information that I share limited to things that interest me, things I learned that are relevant to what I am teaching. I don't offer up my first name, my children's names, or my husband's name. They don't need to have easy access. Some may be lousy students, but creative "explorers" on the internet.

    All of that said, I loved subbing so much that I became a full time teacher. However, I still practice the rules I was given as a sub - I have had students who I REALLY did not want to know where I live. Consider it live and learn.
     
  10. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Feb 2, 2015

    Be firm. Set expectations. Be helpful when you can.

    Just make sure you have the main office's number as well as security. The latter may come in handy.
    I know when I subbed I had to call security several times to get troublemakers out of the room.
    One threatened me as I was leaving for the day. I told him next time he did that he would face charges.
    Next time I did not have a problem in this class. :haha:.
     
  11. TNSub

    TNSub Rookie

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    Feb 3, 2015

    Honestly, the thing I've learned both in life and in the classroom, is that people will think they're in charge until they learn that somewhere down the line, they're not.

    With my students, I try my hardest to solve issues through patience, humor, and professional techniques, but in poverty-line schools, there ARE times where the students need to be clear on who's the authority figure in the class.

    Would a police officer fool around and "stop what he's doing until the criminal pays attention"? No.

    In a very rough school, or even a classroom that has extreme behavior issues, you will have to be like a police officer. A police officer issues tickets or has criminals escorted to a detention center. If a see a behavior in a classroom that a police officer wouldn't tolerate even on his friendliest day, that's when the techniques get serious.

    When I encounter that type of destructive behavior, I pull out a write-up form, scribble malarky on it, and tell the class that someone has been written up and that this person will find out who it is when the office calls them up the next day. When no one knows who's going to be sent up, no one will find out that the slip went into the garbage. I don't even have to know student names to do it.

    For that really destructive behavior (objects being thrown, an absolute refusal to stop talking, insulting the teacher, ect ect), I've found that this is the best technique no matter what anyone says. If it works, it works, and the best part is that no parent can get mad because there's no specific student involved.

    I especially take this stance during the initial 15 minutes where I need to take roll, explain plans, and get everyone on the right track.

    If something developes after everyone's on the right track and I have time to loosen up a bit, I'll try to get the know the students instead, and try to add some humor to gain respect. As long as the class is at a mid-level cooperation range, I find that it tends to work really well.
     
  12. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Feb 7, 2015

    Hard to say; never worked in a "rough school". Though I've been in probably 1,000 rooms as a substitute. TBH, I'd say to come prepared with an activity or story that will take up some of the time... it makes the window that the kids have to be working smaller (i.e. less boredom, less likely off-task).

    More importanly, don't gloss over expectations/procedures. Even if it takes up a lot of the period (which again, isn't a bad thing as a sub). You don't have to be "mean". Just be yourself (in setting expectations).

    However (and maybe most importantly) maintain your professional status as a teacher. DON'T go high-fiving kids, letting them say, "sup" to you (what's up), that sort of thing. It is not respectful, and sets you up for problems in class.
     

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