Frustration with subs...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by live, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. live

    live Companion

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    Oct 14, 2014

    There's a shortage of subs in my area, so I posted my absence on Aesop 8 days in advance to hopefully land a sub. Well, I did, and quickly.

    The sub held the job until yesterday. Out of nowhere, a week after holding onto the job, she cancelled. It defeated the whole purpose of my posting early.

    I was so relieved when another sub picked the job up this morning. And now, at 11 pm the night before, she has also cancelled.

    It's getting frustrating to have subs cancel so often. I'm having a baby later this year so I hate thinking that this is how it'll be every time I have an appointment.

    Does this happen at your school?
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Oct 14, 2014

    I don't know whether subs cancel often, but subs can be hard to get. Many times, classes are split among the remaining teachers if someone is sick. :huh:
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oct 14, 2014

    My county has over 20 districts in it. The districts all outsource to a sub company. My district is having a hard time getting subs. We are becoming grouped into the 'bad' districts because of the behavior of our kids, my grade level being the worst. I posted a job over a week ago and it is still available.

    I've used Aesop as a sub- I will say that they cannot see other available jobs for the day if they are already scheduled. I have canceled as a sub because people have tracked me down or called me asking if I'd sub for them. If I had taken a random job for someone I didn't know, I obviously canceled them and took the job where I was well known in a classroom that I knew.
     
  5. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Oct 14, 2014

    I'm a sub, and I have only cancelled once (I was sick, and I cancelled at 6pm the evening before hoping that someone would pick it up). My district is small (~20 schools), and our sub jobs last for literally seconds before they get picked up, unless it's a small one hour assignment...those tend to last longer. I'm not sure about the cancellation rates since I can't see that info.
     
  6. live

    live Companion

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    When I was a sub I never considered cancelling, even if something better came along. I live in a small county where everyone knows everyone, especially in the teaching community. If I wasn't reliable I probably wouldn't have my current job.

    So it's just odd to me. There are 3 subs that my school avoids because they're likely to not show up. Not that we can afford avoiding any subs.

    I can totally understand if things come up last minute, like illness or a sick kid, but it's becoming an epidemic.
     
  7. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Oct 15, 2014

    I am also frustrated. I posted Monday for a Friday absence and no one has picked up the job. What am I supposed to do?? This is a mess.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    When they paid a sub caller, the results were a little better, because there was a personal touch, as well as the knowledge that you wouldn't last long saying yes and then cancelling. With the computer, subs look farther afield, have little emotional investment in the districts, and feel anonymous. I think this breeds the bad behavior we see now in the sub pool. The best subs still work best word of mouth, but for the nameless ones, they will do what works for them either with money, proximity, or desire. It is the "me generation", after all.

    And yes, I subbed for 10 years, so I lived under the sub-callers and experienced the impersonal shift to computer systems like Aesop.
     
  9. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Oct 15, 2014

    Here, we don't have day-to-day subs; when someone doesn't come to work, we have to cover their classes.

    We can, usually, secure a LTS when needed but even that has been problematic this year.
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Oct 15, 2014

    As a sub for four years, I don't think I ever cancelled (except in calling a couple people one time that I swapped over into a longer position, which those people were all for because that was what was best for the kids). I've never had a sub cancel on me, though that's in a small bit of time, and never using AESOP to find a sub yet (instead, contacting specific people). We have been short subs in the building and have used specialists to cover, thus missing some specialist/plan time, but I don't think any of those were from cancellations.

    I think having a handful of subs the school knows well and getting in touch with them would probably alleviate all those problems with cancellations (since you don't then have to deal with a random person picking it up), though I know how hard that could be.
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Oct 15, 2014

    I subbed from 1998 to 2001 but back then we had a woman call us. She knew I would work in 4 different schools and knew I didn't like to sub in Gym. I guess I just got to know her by talking with her so often and felt horrible if I ever had to say no (if I was sick) because I was actually talking to person and not dealing with it on the computer. Obviously, if something better came along I wouldn't know. I guess I'm weird but I miss my little chats with Debbie the sub caller!
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Oct 15, 2014

    I subbed from 1987-1990. The sub caller was a real person, usually each school had their own person. I remember a few late calls, i.e. 7:30 a.m. calls with a principal begging me to take the job. Like others have said, it's hard to say no to a real person or to have to call that person back to say that you can't take the job.
     
  13. Miz_Jay

    Miz_Jay Companion

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    Oct 15, 2014

    I currently sub. And I have to say the only times I've cancelled a job was for an interview or during the past month or so when I had booked in advance and then got a LT.

    I will say though that since my district uses AESOP, there are schools that I just don't see assignments for because I've had terrible experiences there or because I'm not willing to sub at that level (HS).

    But there are times when I sit on AESOP and I see these positions that aren't taken for days and I always wonder why no one picks them up (while not picking them up myself).
     
  14. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Oct 17, 2014

    Oh, yeah, it's here, too. Subs that were secured in advance show up 30 minutes late, work that we leave for them to have the students do is left unfinished--I don't know what they do with the kids if they're not doing the work we leave! But, like you say, it's hard to get subs, so we take what we can get. And, oh, don't get me started on the condition of our classrooms after a sub--like a tornado hit! I'm grateful when I get a decent sub!
     
  15. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Oct 17, 2014

    My last sub went through my cabinets and gave my students the snacks I keep for my own child and tutoring kids. Then watched a movie that she got from another teacher.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 17, 2014

    When I was subbing, I was much more likely to take and keep jobs from the schools that had a person making the calls. One particular caller, Holly, was an expert in knowing how to handle when she woke me from a sound sleep for a last-minute opening. If the call came from an automated AESOP, I turned off my ringer.
     
  17. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oct 17, 2014

    It happens sometimes, but it's not very common. I only had it happen to me one time in seven years. The sub was a regular, and her daughter was sick that morning, so she dropped it at the last minute, and no one picked it up. They realized it when the bell rang, and no one was in my classroom. I was at a conference 2 hours away, so I obviously couldn't be there. They split my class up between the two other K teachers, and managed to find a sub who could make it there in 30 minutes.
     
  18. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Oct 27, 2014

    As a new sub... I'm honestly appalled that there are subs who would show up late, not do the work left by the teacher (especially when there are clear plans left by the teacher), and leave the room a mess. That's horrible.
    As for cancelling... I have cancelled a few jobs, either because I suddenly got sick or because something preferred came up (sorry, it's true -- I'd rather have full day 3rd than half day K, and I'm sure other subs have similar preferences). I feel a bit bad trading out jobs, but sometimes it's unavoidable (like during flu season... subs get sick too, especially around K-3 germy kids!).
    The two districts I sub in are majorly short on subs though, and I'm a 20-something short on cash, so I take almost any job that comes up.

    But seriously, some of the subs described in this thread shouldn't be allowed back to the school... o_O
     
  19. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Oct 27, 2014

    My district has SO many subs- I've never seen a job not get picked up within moments and never seen a situation where a sub couldn't be found. Even if a sub didn't show up, one was located within minutes. The only time I've ever seen a teacher cover someone else's class is if it's a temporary absence (stuck in traffic) or if the teacher asks a colleague to take over so that content gets covered. Even then, the sub is still in the room as well.

    Once I put a job into the system, I never think twice about it, except to leave the work/roster on the desk. I can't imagine the stress some of ya'll go through.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Oct 27, 2014

    This is happening a lot at our school as well.

    However, we are not responsible to make sure a sub shows up or not, we simply have to put in the absence with AESOP. The school is responsible if no one shows up.

    After I put in an absence, I have never checked to see if it is picked up or who the person is.....ever.
     
  21. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Oct 27, 2014

    Our district is small (5 schools in the whole county). We have a person who calls our subs. This year we are short subs just about every day. A couple that we do have are awful. They are little more than a warm body.
     
  22. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oct 27, 2014

    I would feel bad cancelling & hardly did it back when I was a sub. But, hey, we've all got to roll w/ the punches. People cancel for whatever reason.

    I'd suggest to you that from now on when you leave your next substitute(s) your note of instructions, at the bottom of your letter, tell them to leave their card or their Name, Substitute #, & even phone # if they'd like. That way, if you like how the sub did things, you can request your favorites & contact or request them 1st before leaving the job out for all the rest to grab.

    That's how it worked when I become many teachers' favorite sub throughout the yrs.
     
  23. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I will have a 2 day training next week. At this point I'm just hoping I will get a sub, because right now we don't have any. I think if I enter it tomorrow, maybe there's a chance.

    I will be happy if they show up for both days, not let the kids mess up the classroom, and not touch anything on my desk (of course I'll put everything away, but can't lock the desk or filing cabinets because my keys were stolen.)
    And if they would actually do the work, I'd be overcome with joy! :)
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 27, 2014

    Out jobs get snapped up pretty quickly. If I had a sub who consistently cancelled or did a poor job, I'd put that person on my 'block' list on Aesop.
     
  25. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Oct 27, 2014

    Does anyone know if Subfinder has a block list for teachers to utilize? Just wondering...
     
  26. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Oct 28, 2014

    Exactly; this is all I expect of a sub. I don't expect them to teach a lesson although I do hope they pass out the work I left. I just want a sub to contain the kids, not let them run the halls and not let them destroy my room. That alone can be asking a lot.
     
  27. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Our system does not let teachers block subs, but administrators have that tool, and if we tell them to block a sub, they do. It's more effective that way anyway, since it blocks them from the whole school.
     
  28. Nate

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    Oct 28, 2014

    Job market is improving, and (at least in our district) sub pay is going down. The reliable, hard-working subs are putting those skills to use in a permanent job, so most of the people left are those who can't get other work. No offense intended to "the good ones" who are still subbing, either because they love subbing, or need the flexibility of subbing, or are making connections in pursuit of a teaching position.
     
  29. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    Oct 28, 2014

    While I totally understand your frustration, keep in mind, things happen with subs too. There have been times I've been reserved for a job a MONTH in advance, but have literally had to cancel the night before due to a family emergency with one of my grandparents. Hopefully it was a one time fluke. :hugs:
     
  30. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    Nov 4, 2014

    I have been subbing for a number of years and currently sub for 9 different school districts. Seven of the districts use Aesop and two use a sub caller. I currently have jobs scheduled through March. I try to use the districts with a subcaller as a last resort. The one district never has enough subs and the HS principal decides at the last minute how they will use the subs they have that day. You end up covering 5 different class rooms and passing out worksheets.

    I subbed for a teacher today at a new district and will not be subbing for him again. He didn't leave keys so I had to find someone to open the door and couldn't lock it when I left the room for an assembly. The room was a mess. The teacher's desk was dirty and had something sticky spilled on it. I hope he notices that I cleaned it when he comes back. I've found teachers' desks with coffee cups half full from the previous week, and unwashed bowls, plates and silverware.

    The lesson plans were one line for each of his two preps. He was supposed to have a sub folder but I couldn't find it. There were no instructions on taking roll at the assemply. I noticed all the other teachers were taking roll and I didn't even know where my homeroom was sitting.

    At the other extreme, I have had elementary teachers leave 4 pages of single spaced lesson plans with references to items placed around the room. Is it really necessary to change what the students are working on every 15-20 minutes?

    In this area some sub jobs get taken in a second and others sit for a week or longer. Go figure. BTW, I have canceled one job this year. I quickly cancelled a job when it realized it was a half day job. I doubt that anyone noticed.
     
  31. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Here, subs don't get keys to the classroom. What did you do to clean his desk? I hope you didn't throw anything away.

    I hate to see dirty dishes left in the classrooms.

    I would have been the elementary teacher leaving 4 pages of lesson plans. Yes, it's important for you to know where everything is, including the scissors or glue, if those items are needed. My kiddos thrived on routine and if it can stay the same while I am gone, your day will go much better. Yes, depending on the activity, you may be changing activities every 15-20 min. I've had subs who have taken 30 min or more to do a 15 min activity and then wonder why they were having challenges keeping the kids on task.
     
  32. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Nov 4, 2014

    From the few substitutes we've had in our high school, they tell us that the word is out that our school is just too violent to take assignments at. So, as "Go Blue!" said, we just want them to show up and hopefully maintain some semblance of control if we get one.

    Interestingly, I just saw in the Sunday newspaper that one of the sub services in our area is willing to take people who aren't even certified. It sounds like the trend that was talked about in another thread about lowering the standards for people to be teachers.
    :eek:hmy:
     
  33. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    In most schools, the doors are supposed to be locked at all times whether you are in the room or not. I have run into situations where a teacher has forgot to leave their key, but have not been to a school where they don't give subs keys to the classroom.

    I got a wet paper towel and wiped up the sticky stuff. Disinfectant wipes work the best especially with keyboards with years of gunk on the keys. I never throw anything away and try to disturb as little as possible.

    I guess I didn't expain myself well enough. The problem was when I could not find something when following the 4 page lesson plan. Keep in mind that taking 30 minutes to teach a math lesson that you normally do in 15 minutes should not be surprising. I've had elementary classes that are struggling with the math lesson and to follow the lesson plans I have to move on to the next 15 minute lesson. I think this is one of the problems in schools today. When I was in elementary school, we sometimes did math all morning if kids were struggling. Of course we didn't have specials and a schedule to follow.
     
  34. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Subs NEVER get keys at our school. There would be serious consequences if a teacher ever left keys. Subs are expected to ask a nearby teacher to unlock their door for them.
     
  35. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Nov 5, 2014

    Most schools where?

    I have taught at 3 different schools and I have constantly been told NEVER to lock my door or cover up my door "window" even though both of these things cut down on a lot of headaches and disruptions. If there is a fight/situation in the classroom; we want police or help to be able to quickly get inside the room.

    Also, we never give subs keys including some that were long-term. Subs having a key is a big no-no here.
     
  36. bora

    bora Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2014

    When I worked as a sub I always got the key. They didn't give me a key only when the door was already open.
     
  37. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I have worked in districts that gave out keys, and districts that didn't. In recent years, keeping the door locked at all times has become the norm in HS, and I have seen it in MS. The stricter the lock down drills, the higher the likelihood of the locked door policy, in my experience.
     
  38. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    I'm in Western Pennsylvania. Most of the districts around here are looking at all aspects of security with securing classroom doors getting considerable attention. In a lock down situation, they don't want teachers to have to go into the hall to lock their classroom door.

    I have subbed at one school that gives subs a master key. Most of the schools where I have subbed have unique locks for each classroom.
     
  39. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I was at a Kagan workshop for 2 days. didn't get a sub, so a TA took my classes. She is very capable, great and strict with the kids and is often asked to sub because we can never get anyone.

    Left plans and said that if she has any questions, feel free to text me (she won't bug me, I'm still working) but I didn't leave my phone number on the paper, just in case the kids would see it, so she should ask my P for the number.
    I went to my classroom today to look over things, and her notes said the paper with the instructions were taken on the first day! I'm so glad I didn't leave my phone number on it. I would hate life right now. (I had the same number since 1999 and would hate to change it.)

    So because of this she had to improvise plans for the second day (even though it was a packet that would take 2 days, so she just had to continue).
    I looked at all the work: my geography class did great work, I can grade it and put it in the system.
    My 3 English classes... On most of the papers this is all I saw: 1.a, 2 c, 3.a. The answers to 3 questions! Some had more on it, but none of them had any work that would deserve a grade.

    I'm just going to pretend these 2 days didn't exist in the calendar :) The work I left for them was important, but not crucial, so we'll live lol.
     
  40. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Nov 7, 2014

    I am at a high school now and was at a middle school last year and classroom doors must remain locked at all times for security reasons as well as to keep kids out of the rooms doing who knows what with each other or sexual assaults etc etc
     
  41. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    Nov 7, 2014

    Most of our subs are parents of students who we have in the building. It is the worst situation. When they do a bad job it's very hard to say anything about it because you may currently have their child on your roster. I am also weary of leaving modification or any personal grading information anywhere because I know how much all the parents talk. A sub really gave me a hard time a few weeks ago when I was out and I am still picking up the pieces and trying to get the situation under control.

    At this point it is easier to just stay in the building then leave and go to any PD or be sick.
     

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