First year subbing jitters

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by gypsy, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. gypsy

    gypsy Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2010

    Hi there!

    This is my first post although I have spent a great deal of time this summer going over many of the different threads to gather ideas and read through personal stories as I prepare myself for my own teaching journey.

    I recently left my full-time day job so I could put all of my energy toward substitute teaching and going back to school to pursue a Masters in Special Ed; my last teaching experience was student teaching, which I completed May 2009. I’m both very excited and quite nervous to be getting back into the field of education! For awhile I was really nervous about the uncertainty that comes with subbing (when will I start getting called, how much will I be called, will I be able to pay my bills, will there be lesson plans available to me, etc). But from all of your fabulous posts and advice I’ve learned that no matter how prepared one is there will always a level of uncertainty that will come with subbing. I feel slightly better about what I can do to help make each day flow better.

    However, my problem I guess is that I’m beginning to feel rather apprehensive about my own abilities as a sub. I can’t shake certain fears from my mind: I’m worried about messing up a lesson plan and, to be frank, looking dumb because I hadn’t prepared and practiced the lesson myself. I’m worried about the kids walking all over me because I’m unfamiliar with the teacher’s management plan and them not respecting my own discipline plan. I’m worried I’m going to make some epic mistake that will make me look like the worst educator ever :eek:! Can any of you offer some advice or share a personal experience that will help me feel less nervous about my first year of subbing? I guess I'm just looking for a little boost to get me going.

    And as a side note, I look forward to being a member of this forum. It really helps to be involved in a community of teachers as I go through my own teaching experiences.
     
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  3. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Aug 17, 2010

    I can't give you any advice, but I am in the same boat as you. I applied as a sub to a large district, but haven't been called for an interview..yet. I'm still holding out hope.

    But, my concerns are the same as yours. I don't even have student teaching under my belt, but I am going for my Masters in Special Ed as well :)

    I know we will be fine.
     
  4. StarrShine2

    StarrShine2 Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2010

    I subbed in two different districts for about a year...I was fortunate to find leave replacement positions after that (and still have them but am still looking for something permanent).

    My experiences were: you'll have great days, not so great days, and those days that are kind of in the middle. Most of the times, plans were left, other times, they weren't (then you just ask someone in the building for help). If you mess up a lesson plan, it's OK! The kids usually don't notice and hopefully teachers won't care (everyone makes mistakes).

    Good luck!
     
  5. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Aug 17, 2010

    Remember, you're doing the teacher , and the school, a favor by showing up. You're doing a job that you have little time to prepare for and may know nothing about ! Really, I'm not paid enough to lose sleep over what I did wrong that day.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 17, 2010

    Hi & welcome! I've got an MA in Special Ed & was a resource specialist for just a yr & a sub now for several yrs. However, I'm switching gears to the SLP field (speech-language pathology). This fall, I'll have a new interim job as an SLPA (speech-lang pathology asst.), but I'll still be a sub & hopefully in the near future, will finally be able to stop subbing. Actually, now that I think about it, I'll try to stay on the sub list as long as I can even if I just decrease to subbing once a month. But I like subbing overall, it's been good to me throughout the yrs. Just out of curiosity, what line of work were you in before?

    I would suggest to come in being firm up front...yet be ready to smile in th next second. Kids reallt do act differently when they see a new face in the rm, so if you have to be firmer than you normally would, do it. I'd rather be called "mean" by a few kids because I run a tight ship rather than having no control & the kids are doing what they want to all day.
     
  7. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Aug 18, 2010

    Hi!

    Try not to be so worried! You'll get better with experience. Nine times out of ten, you'll be able to follow the lesson plan and the teacher's instructions very well. If you ever have time to fill or something to adjust, you will quickly learn how to do that and keep the day going smoothly.

    edit: I should add here that most of the time, the teachers I sub for are not so worried about me following the lesson plan to the letter. They realize they are not there and so everything won't go exactly as planned. For instance, they may give extra things because we may go through the lessons a little quickly; sometimes, I can teach a lesson and tell the students still need more help/assistance with a skill, and so I'll leave a note for the teacher to continue to review it; we may not have time to get to certain things; the schedule may change because of different circumstances, etc. That doesn't mean I completely disregard the plans, but teachers understand if something doesn't go 100% as they left in the notes. They care much more about classroom management. Making sure the students are behaving, working and being productive is much more important to them than completing each assignment or covering the minutiae of the lesson.

    Honestly, to me, the easiest part of the job is following the lesson plan. Classroom discipline can be an issue but, again, that's something you improve with experience. Even on tough days, you learn a lot and get better for the next time.

    You'll enjoy it! Working with kids, for people who actually love and want to teach, is awesome.
     
  8. gypsy

    gypsy Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2010

    Thanks for the replies! I suppose I sound like a giant worrywart, but I really just want to do a good job. Gotta keep reminding myself that, like anything else, everything will become much clearer and easier with time and experience.
     
  9. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    Aug 18, 2010

    It really will. Nobody is expecting you to be perfect. They're just expecting to have the room in reasonable shape when they come back and to have evidence that the kids did whatever work was left for them.

    It takes a lot to really mess things up. Just following common sense should take care of most of those potential mistakes.
     
  10. teachnfl

    teachnfl Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2010

    I'm going into my 4th school year subbing at the elementary level this Fall, and I remember when I started, I was nervous too. My best advice:

    -Get to the school 15-20 minutes before scheduled time! Arrive early-- the office staff notice.

    -Check for plans on the teacher's desk or side table (sometimes, if no plans are left, talk to nextdoor teacher immediately) **This is why being early is important**

    -Write the day's schedule on the board so students know expectations!

    -Make your own class seating chart (You can do this as call attendance); Know and use the students' names!

    -Ask students to help distribute papers, lead the line, **Check for Class Helpers List to see who is assigned**

    -Bring a little soft/squishy ball that you can play Vocab Reviews, Math Challenge, or Silent Speed Ball for rewards

    Behavior:

    -Invent & use signals: quiet signal, bathroom signal, water signal, etc
    (you can ask students what their class signals are & use those--if they don't, then introduce your own in the morning)

    -Use a two strikes mentality (I was horrible with being tough on misbehavior in the beginning); 1st strike=Verbal warning or quick conference with student and move student's seat 2nd=Pull card/move clip, etc and send OUT of class to nextdoor teacher. No 3rd, 4th, 5th chances!
    **Important: Stick to implementing the teacher's behavior management system in place such as move clip, pull stick, money system, etc, but SEND THEM OUT if they continue to misbehave.

    -Leave a detailed note for the teacher at the end of the day regarding what you finished & student behavior (include names of outstanding student helpers)

    There are so many other suggestions, but these are the most important to help you become a SUPER most requested SUB! :)
     
  11. gypsy

    gypsy Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2010

    I really like your suggestions, teachnfl! thanks.

    QUOTE]**Important: Stick to implementing the teacher's behavior management system in place such as move clip, pull stick, money system, etc, but SEND THEM OUT if they continue to misbehave
     

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