High School subs-

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Lyquidphyre, May 11, 2007.

  1. Lyquidphyre

    Lyquidphyre Comrade

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    May 11, 2007

    Do you have a difficult time refraining from being a smartass right back to the kids? Maybe because I am young (23) it is hard for me not to have some witty come back. I feel it lets them know that "making fun of me" is working, ya know?
    Today was a perfect example. I usually try to be professional and teacher-like, but I had a FULL classroom filled with boys and they were giving me a hard time with just random things (not being mean or difficult, just being smartalecs) and a few times I had a clever retort and they would go back to work. But I just feel unprofessional when I "get on there level," even though it seems to make my life easier because the kids have more respect for me.. or something

    Does any of that make sense?
     
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  3. Kerfuffle

    Kerfuffle Rookie

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    May 11, 2007

    I met a teacher's aid in a middle school resource class who was very proud of her comebacks -- and she believed they worked well for classroom management. I think she had observed that people who are too nicey nice with difficult students just ended up being frustrated. (And I realize you aren't characterizing your students as "difficult".) If you are using wit & humor and the students are getting back on task, maybe it's working!

    BTW, my personality is different, and I don't happen to do what you are talking about. So I can't comment from personal experience.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 11, 2007

    Humor is one thing, sinking to their level is another. Particularly for kids you don't know. A kid with an ego might not appreciate "that sub" making him look bad-- that can only turn a shaky situation bad fast.
     
  5. smilingteacher

    smilingteacher Rookie

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    May 11, 2007

    Humor is great. Sarcasm can get you in trouble. Stay professional Find your boundries and what you enjoy. I am curious. How long are your classses lyq?

    John
     
  6. Lyquidphyre

    Lyquidphyre Comrade

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    May 11, 2007

    I will say, I do refrain 99% of the time when I sub high school but maybe this class made me nervous? I know, as a teacher, I would never do that (for instance, the class I had earlier I had NO problems with, I was relaxed and on top of my game).. but in this class, the nicer I was and the more I either played along, walked away or humored their questions the easier the class was for everyone.
    Smilingteacher- the class was almost two hours long! I was really nervous with this bunch for the first 15min. I read the sub notes from the day before and apparently the sub had to drag a student out of the classroom and send him to the office- twice!

    I don't want to paint the picture like I was joking around the whole time because I wasn't. It helped to walk around the classroom and make sure everyone was working and when I would get to one particular table they would ask me questions, or talk like William Shatner or random things like that and at times, they would make smart remarks to which I would either walk away from or ignore and ask them to finish their work.
    I want to say I had a clever retort twice out of the two hours.. and refrained by just walking away.. but sometimes I feel it is so hard when the classroom is so large and the students are intimitating.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 12, 2007


    Take a step back... you ARE the teacher!!!

    Playing along is fine, up to a point. Humoring the kids is also fine. Just be careful not to sink to their level and make (or allow) nasty sarcastic remarks. If you put a kid on the spot, he'll need to save face in front of his peers. Then it gets real ugly real fast.
     
  8. Lyquidphyre

    Lyquidphyre Comrade

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    May 12, 2007

    hehe good point!
    I've been thinking about this all night- I think it was because of how intimidating the class was. Within the first few minutes (before the bell rang) one student asked me if I was a "nice sub" and went on and on about how they hated the other sub. And THEN a fight almost broke out over who was sitting where while I was taking role.

    I didn't make any nasty or sarcastic remarks and I see exactly what you are saying Aliceacc about putting a kid on the spot.
    As much as I wanted to be sarcastic, I never really was. And anything I did say was more so in jest than a put down or me being sarcastic.
    I will be honest, that classroom scared the bejezus out of me and I think that is why I used humor more so than I normally would.

    Hehe sometimes I have to talk it out with people to figure out what I do or say certain things.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 12, 2007

    Humor is fine. I use it a LOT with my kids... my threats are so over the top that they KNOW I'm kidding:

    When Will asks the same question that I've just answered twice, I warn the kids near him to duck... I'm going to throw something "hard and pointy" in the direction of his head. Then I answer the question.

    As you may have read, I told James I would happily "tap dance on his self esteem in the gutter" if it would get him to open his math notebook.

    The huge difference, of course, is that these kids know and like me. I would never make these comments to kids I didn't know yet, or to kids with whom I didn't have a great rapport. (some years you do, some years you don't.)

    I start of a whole lot kinder (and more distant) than I end up 10 months later. But my kids get a kick out of my comments because they're evenly distributed, never said in anger, and never personal. The comment I make to Will or James today may very well be directed at Rebecca or Kirsten tomorrow.
     
  10. ryman

    ryman Rookie

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    May 12, 2007

    Being sarcastic, and I have done it myself, is a form of humiliation. They'll either get defensive, or just take it in and regret having said anything. Is this effective? You decide.
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    May 12, 2007

    I've observed some really great aides when they are supervising high school students. The ones the students seem to respond the most to and respect are the ones that use humor with their request instead of just ordering it. Now they know these aides and that does make a difference, but sometimes it is an effective tool for this group. Let me explain though how they use it.

    First, they use it as a teaching tool (ie, to get them to comply, to explain why they should comply or why that rule exists).

    They use it so that the student knows they aren't intimidated by their attempt to humiliate and intimidate (with sarcasm). When they do this, they aren't using sarcasm. And often they are quiet and gentle in this situation.

    They use humor to establish a rapport which is important to teenagers to respect someone they have to like them and not feel too much authority over them or having their rights all striped (they want to be like an adult).

    Their humor is lighthearted, teaching, and even siding with the student in some way. They don't use it to match wits, to be sarcastic and really funny or humiliating and putting them in their place. The humor is positive rather than a negative contradicting statement.

    Also you have to be careful when and where to use it because of the peer thing.

    Done right, I think it is one of the most effective techniques.

    Oh, and it has to be done sparingly (like you did) because they can't constantly see you in that role the whole time you are in class. Now in other settings, you might be able to use more. It takes experience and practice and a natural knack. I don't have it.
     
  12. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    May 14, 2007

    Well, I'm young also (19) and I use sarcasm and wit on a "need-to-use" basis.

    I had one high school class that told me that their regular teacher called them crackheads and kicked their chairs just for fun.

    Well, I might not go that far, but I will make a proportional response to rude remarks -- unless, of course, they violate school rules.

    For example, I'm constantly asked by/mocked by students on my sexuality. Whenever middle school and high school students ask me in front of their peers whether or not I am gay, I just respond by asking them why THEY want to know.

    Another student "handed" me. I did the same back to him and told him to quit because it got old after the first time.

    When I do choose to use sarcasm and wit, I am sure to target the student's actions and not the student. I refrain from saying anything that would hurt the student, but make sure that my message has enough strength to make the student consider what's said carefully.

    A lot of teachers do it. I had a teacher in middle school that did it to the point of hurting students or putting them on the spot. She was everyone's favorite teacher, but I didn't like her. I never mock or use sarcasm towards a student to entertain the entire class at the expense of the student's self-esteem or personal feelings.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 21, 2007

    I'm almost afraid to ask: what's "handed"?
     
  14. DramaQueen!!

    DramaQueen!! Rookie

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    May 29, 2007

    If you are uncomfortable reacting that way, perhaps you could just ignore the smart-alec-ness of their comment and reply as if it had been a true and serious question???

    Another option might be to reply in a serious smartalec way- if that makes sense.
    I.E. The kid could ask ... I don't know... "Hey how many crocodiles did it take to make your shoes?" (bogus I know, but the best one I had at the moment.) You could reply something along the lines of a science lesson. "Well actually Bobby Joe these are not crocodiles they are made from used Dog Bones from Siberia that are 3000 years old. You can tell that because of the two pointy ends that are joined together by the human foot specimen, shown here."

    Hope that helps.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 29, 2007

    Alice, I dunno: I think you and I are waaaay too young to hear this...
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    DramaQueen!!, cool response.

    Has anyone gotten around to welcoming you to A to Z? If not, Welcome!
     
  17. username

    username Rookie

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    May 31, 2007

    i don't see it as being unprofessional, some kids just simply need to be put in their place. my thing is they were smartasses before you met them and they'll be smartasses when you leave. they have to know that they aren't running the show. you kinda have to pick your poison though because sometimes replies only add feul to the fire. sometimes you have to ignore them and somtimes you have to snap back.
     

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