Hi, My first year subbing @ age 54

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by newsub_oldlady, May 21, 2010.

  1. newsub_oldlady

    newsub_oldlady Rookie

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    May 21, 2010

    Hi everyone. I've had this site bookmarked all year but didn't register to post till now! My burning need has finally surfaced! I am emergency certified, and am pursuing a masters in el. and special ed.
    I feel discouraged because of lack of clinical support as a sub (I came from nursing). I have no one to bounce my sometimes negative experiences of unpreparedness off of. My class curriculum (masters) does not address the situation, it's all theory, and the schools are out of the question. So I finally realized, yay, this is where I get support!
    Very relieved to be here, because subbing is hard if you are not an ed. major. But even harder when you are old! Special ed. is a word unto itself! I need advice from two corners, special ed.(mostly EBD, ADHD), and those mainstream rendering those services.
    I feel so unprepared, I am only in my first year and need PRACTICAL advice! Thank you in advance for shedding some light to a poor old soul such as I!
     
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  3. newsub_oldlady

    newsub_oldlady Rookie

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    May 21, 2010

    PS

    I'm pretty miserable wondering if I pursued the right second career. I just wanted to help! but it is starting to make me feel incompetent. I am having the hardest time with the major influx of those minorities who are new to this country and didn't get early intervention.
     
  4. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 21, 2010

    Subbing is hard, period. You get parachuted into a new situation, you don't know the children, and you're expected to maintain class order. Basically, you have to be able to "read" people very quickly. I think your nursing experience will be of great help here. Ed majors don't necessarily do better - you can only get better with experience.

    Don't fret. It's always really hard starting out. I've been doing it for 2+ years and starting out it was really, really tough. And I am a career changer in my mid-40s so it isn't really an age thing. I'm better at it now but I wouldn't say that I'm an expert at it.

    You'll be able to figure out the patterns and tendencies of different school ages, subject areas, and schools and adjust accordingly.
     
  5. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 21, 2010

    Special Education Subbing

    Contrary to my initial thoughts, depending on the situation and role, subbing for SpEd can actually be pretty relatively stress-free from the standpoint of a sub, if you are not alone in the classroom with the kids. At least from my experience, subbing for SpEd often takes two forms:

    1) subbing as an instructional aide (IA)

    2) subbing as the regular instructor (with IA present)

    In both these cases, you are not alone with the kids. This is important, because the staff present can tell you the procedures, rules of the classroom, and more importantly, fill you in on the kids' conditions and behaviors. So you aren't thrown to the wolves.

    If you're an IA, follow the lead/guidance of the other staff people.

    If you're filling in for a teacher (such as an RSP specialist, or someone who teaches a basic skills class) - ask the para or IA about what to do, etc, and work with them closely on running the class. A good IA is worth their weight in gold to you!

    The nice thing about SpEd classes is that there is a low student
    to staff ratio - so you can learn the kids' names a lot easier, and if you return to sub a lot, you get to know them pretty well. Also, SpEd staff like it if you're willing to do SpEd, and it's easy to get to know them since they're around when you are, so if you're decent and good-hearted, you'll very often be asked back.

    OTOH, I had to teach a basic skills middle school class without their IA, and they were really rough. So your mileage may vary, but generally, when there's an aide in the room and you're not alone, it's pretty straightforward and I've had few problems.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    May 22, 2010

    I've been subbing for quite a while now & I have my MA in Special Ed w/ 2 credentials. I'm switching gears into SLP these days though. Good luck to you!
     
  7. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    May 22, 2010

    First, having education major would NOT help. What would help would be to be prepare to be creative with every possible stunts the kids would pull. But, in Speical Ed classes, there are fewer students and most are sweet. Beside, you will have another adult. So, my key advice to you, from my experience is, to go with what the assistants are like. In some Sp Ed classes, if high school, most of the kids who would misbehave would be sitting and not being diligent. In other (high school Sp Ed classes), a few can be rowdy and in such classes, I noticed that the assistants do not seem to take charge as us sub would expect since they know the kids. That's when we sub have to act authoritative but I'd watch for the assistant's cooperation a little bit. After all, the kids are emotionally not well developed and you don't want to be too hard (to that particular kid) at the wrong time. Know though that if they're too disrupitve, they just have to be sent out. This is for high school.

    I haven't subbed middle school Special Ed class.

    Keep in mind though that, as much as you want to help and teach, subbing is mainly about classroom managment. You get to teach only when the kids are cooperative to be receptive. That's been my experience anyway.

    If you also sub non Special Ed class, and if it is middle schools or high schools, look at my other post(s) today.

    Good luck.
     
  8. azure

    azure Companion

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    Jun 2, 2010

    I'm in my 9th year of subbing and I started when I was about 51. At first I tried to be nice, but I learned VERY quickly that the kids just run over you if you're nice. So you have to be tough from the get-go. The kids all think I'm mean, but the teachers love me because I maintain order (even if it means sending kids to the office) and that way I can actually carry out the lesson plans--another thing teachers REALLY like.

    If you go in a room and the teacher hasn't left seating charts, make blank ones yourself and have the kids sign their names in their square. You have to be able to call them by name if you're going to have any power.

    Leave a lengthy note for the teacher. . . it's best to jot things down as they happen if you can because by the end of the day you won't remember everything or who did what. Grade papers if you have time unless teacher specifically tells you not to.
     
  9. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 4, 2010

    Teaching has become a multicultural practice. I'm 49 and it was a lot different back when we were going through school when the majority spoke English fluently and had similar cultural references.

    I think I read that you're subbing elementary. Elementary age kids in special education can be very challenging - even when they've had early intervention. I've been in classrooms where there was screaming, yelling, and acting out (kids hiding in closets, throwing chairs, tantrums, fights) all day long! You just can't take it personally, and you definitely should rely on neighboring teachers.
    Often, other sped teachers will take the tough kids off your hands.
    At the start of the day, introduce yourself to neighboring teachers, find out who the other sped teachers are, and lean on your aides (who know the kids really well).

    Your classroom management will get better. Especially if you can get a few long-term positions. Then you'll get the feel for what it takes to shape desired group behavior. It's definitely not a relaxing job, but it is rewarding.
     

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