holding students accountable?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by lupin43, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. lupin43

    lupin43 Companion

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    Oct 17, 2006

    My students are not by any means perfect. Some are simply disrespectful. I don't allow this and now, they know it and are ok with me. Whenever we have sub, they have a field day. I explained to them that I expect them to work. I have written strict plans and I want to hold them accountable for thier behavior, but our subs (I believe) instigate some of it.

    My first sub of the year wrote the wrong date on the board. A little oops, but yelled at a student for it. The same student said that she thinks she hurt the subs pride and all went downhill from there. This sub called the students stupid and ignorant. She put on make up during class, made personal cell phone calls as well as calls on my school phone. In each class she would pick one student to harass and name call ALL hour. Then, she left a note that said she had a great time and would come back any day. When I came back and read it, I thought all was well, but my students bombarded me. I know it's true because the most trustworthy students backed it up.

    Then, my next sub never, NEVER, left the chair. She did not walk around the room. She did not monitor the hallway. When the team leader asked her to leave the room, she said it wasn't in the sub plans. I mean, wow.

    A different sub on our team, used her cell phone and text messaged people all day rather than supervise the kids.

    Now, I'm not saying that good subs don't exist, but I've only met one so far this year. I always tried harder than this as a sub.

    After all this background, my question is how can I hold the kids responsible when the subs are acting in this manner?

    Thanks
     
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  3. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2006

    Hmmmm -- sorry for the horrible experiences. Before I attempt to answer, what grade do you teach and how do you choose the subs? Random or hand picked? Do other teachers find good subs? Do they ever check in on your class or your sub?

    Each of those subs need to be reported to the district and should not be allowed back in your school.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 17, 2006

    Maybe you need to be VERY specific about each thing from standing up, etc for these people because they don't sound like they have enough initiative on their own.

    On a lighter side recently my teacher needed to be gone for the day and she requested a sub to help me. We got REALLY busy those few days before she left and it was more convenient for me to write the lesson plans for the sub. The sub (who used to also be an aide and who is a friend of mine) all day kept mentioning what her and my duties were line by line. In younger grades you have to be a little flexible and go with who can take care of something easily. It was no biggie, but I smiled every time she said it and I wanted to say "I KNOW..I wrote the plans." I didn't think I had to outline every single duty of who does what especially since she had worked in that very classroom before, but apparently that was really critical. Overall we had a very positive day and I was grateful for the help.

    One caution, you do need to stick up for your students with bad subs, but keep in mind that students don't always have the right brand of truth either.

    I realized that next time (if I do it again), I would include more classroom procedures so the kids/sub doesn't get confused (bathroom, etc).
     
  5. lupin43

    lupin43 Companion

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    Oct 17, 2006

     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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  7. Mrs_Goatess

    Mrs_Goatess Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2006

    I have heard similar nightmare sub stories from teachers, staff, and students. It seems to be worse with subs who do mostly middle and high school. Unless the kids are setting each other on fire, the sub condiers it "babysitting with worksheets".

    I always do my best to fully describe the behavior all day, but it does seem that some teachers want more feedback than others by the environment I enter into.

    Some things that show me that the teacher seriously wants this classtime monitored and documented are:

    1) *Detailed* lesson plans. Rewrite every period's assignment if needed. Teacher's attention to detail shows me that my own documentation is equally as important. A scribbled note on a pile of worksheets that says "All classes' assignments" doesn't cut it, unless I was called in for an emergency.

    2) I cannot stress this enough: Seating charts. Make every student easy to identify. If the kids have a hard time with assigned seating, leave a note on the board that students out of their seat will be marked absent. (Students just love explaining to parents that an unexcused absence was because they didn't want to sit in their seat when a sub was there.)

    3) Give a "heads up" on trustworthy and problem students. Try to name at least three of each in each period. Being able to ask an identified "good kid" who did something and knowing who may start something gives a sub a huge advantage.

    4) Make today's assignment count. Many students assume sub work is busy work. If at least for a check mark or something, make it count. Students resent being left with a stranger and made to do worthless busy work, and they will take it out on whoever is there (the sub). Over plan, if needed; have backup assignments ready (not just "read silently if they finish").

    5) I need to know when planning and lunch are. This is the time I use to document. I'm sure I'll exactly remember Ashley's sassy words this period, but do I need to make a quick note now or wait possibly until the end of the day?

    6) Tell your students that subs are guests. Any disrespect to the classroom guest will be treated accordingly. Tell the sub this; tell the students this. Follow through. Plant "spies" (those aforementioned "good kids") to backup sub's documents (or lack thereof).

    7) The following statement inspired a great professionalism in me when left by a teacher: "Today, I lend my students to you. I am looking for a dependable, professional substitute to invite back later this year. Should everything go well, I will happily invite you back again. Thank you, and I hope you have an excellent day."


    I hope these points help.
     
  8. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2006

    Great points Mrs Goatess. Especially number one. The more you can write, the more picky the sub thinks you are and the more he or she should comply.

    I'm wondering if maybe you shouldn't say something like:

    Below you will find detailed lesson plans for todays classes. I have high expectations for my classes and would certainly appreciate a note at the end of the day regarding and problems or good news by period.

    As a side note, I need to cover some basics that I am sure you know. It is VERY important that you walk around and monitor the students as they are doing their independent work. It is not necessary for you to keep a constant conversation during this time but rather for you to check to make sure the students are on task. Also, since we do not allow the students to use cell phones during class for texting or calling, we must require the same from the subs. There should be team teachers checking in from time to time but if you need to reach one for questions you can call Ms. Math at 555.
     
  9. WVsub

    WVsub Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2006

    A sub is supposed to take over the duties of the regular teacher. Period. Teacher's monitor the classroom, so should the sub. If the teacher has duty(hall, cafeteria or bus) the sub should be there to cover those duties. The sub should demand the same respect and behaviour that the regular teacher gets and treat the kids with respect. Plans should be followed to the T.

    There shouldn't be time to make a phone call during class. Altogether I have subbed 8 years and I have never made a phone call during the school day. I don't eat and drink in front of the class....if they're not allowed to neither should the teacher. I cover all my duties and have a good discipline plan. I do my best to follow the plans left by the teacher even though sometimes its like trying to decipher a foreign language. How can a sub expect to get more calls if they're not doing their job or doing a poor job?
     
  10. Mrs_Barrett

    Mrs_Barrett Cohort

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    Oct 21, 2006

    In my position, I only get one sub. Nobody else will sub in my classroom, I teach 2 positions (preschool sped and Title 1 reading). Plus I'm in a small town, so we are limited on subs. The sub I get is a retired teacher, whose is probably 70 almost. She doesn't really do much, but I guess it's better than nobody. :)
     
  11. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2006


    It's really common sense, isn't it?
     
  12. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Oct 22, 2006

    I now its common sense but I think subs thould get raining on how to manage a classroom. I think districts should train subs for one day explaining district expectations and give lesson plans to the subs in case there are no lesson plans left. Some usbs have not had any training and this would be helpful. also any subs that do not do their job need to be temporaily suspeneded. I think these guidelines would insure that usbs take the job seriously. Terry G.
     
  13. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2006

    Hello, Lupin! :)

    Here's my attitude regarding student accountability.

    Student accountability and teacher accountability are two separate spaces. The teacher shouldn't be eating, drinking, talking on a cell phone, or otherwise blantantly violating school rules. Those problems should be dealt with individually. Although this sets a bad example for the students and certainly mitigates their resulting behavior to a certain extent, it does NOT excuse it.

    Now, I certainly don't condone misbehavior by a substitute and certainly haven't done anything you mentioned -- except, maybe, have a drink of water or soda here and there during class. It doesn't matter whether the teacher is eating, drinking, talking on a cell phone, or playing games; the students' obligation to the lesson plans don't end. Their misbehavior doesn't become excused just because they see someone else misbehaving. If you see someone jump off a bridge, are you going along with them? You wouldn't, and neither should they. The students still need to be held accountable for their actions. If students are working on their assignments and behaving among themselves despite unusual circumstances, they are showing integrity, which is one of the "life skills" most schools teach.

    I agree with what Mrs. Goatess has to say. It's excellent advice. Although I'm not entirely sure if doing all of that would curb a sleazy substitute that chats on a cell phone while eating a Big Mac and calling students rude names in between bites, it would certainly give them a foundation to act. It's just plain beneficial for all substitutes. I can point out many instances where her advice wasn't incorporated into the teacher's substitute lesson plans and how the situation became harder because of it.

    I also agree with what souptunuts said regarding writing polite behavior reminders to the substitutes. Although it should be a matter of common sense, it's clear that the good sense isn't nearly as common as we thought.

    If we have to remind people that coffee is hot, then we also have to remind them to perform their basic duties.
     
  14. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2006

    Right - I agree. When I said "it is really common sense", I meant that I totally agree with that WVsub said. As I read what she put, I realized it was perfect...and...that it really boils down to common sense.

    When I went to my sub orientation a few years ago, I got a hand out that talked about classroom management, it was Jim Fay material for Love and Logic. It helped but it's not the same as what a few hour class could do to help new subs or what experience teaches you. Now that I have a few years of teaching under my belt, I believe that the most important things for classroom management for a sub (well at least for me) are what he/she does in the first few minutes of the day and that he/she fully conveys the student expectations. I tell them my three rules and if those are followed we will have an awesome day. I rarely have big problems.
     
  15. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2006

    As teacher or a sub it is a duty to model for our students, not just lessons, but our behavior in social situations as well. Integrity must be modeled.

    I agree that students do need to be held accountable for their actions but if every time they have a sub he/she is eating chips, talking on the phone, doing nails, playing games, cleaning out purse, putting on make up.... things are going to go down hill fast. Why should the kids care? Okay- maybe they should know better, but what if they are only 6 or 7? They aren't going to know better. True, they may not jump off a bridge or they may not get out their phone, but they are not going to be perfect, that's for sure. And how can the sub have any credibility when or if she bothers to redirect them?

    What's even more sad is that if a student is being good despite the craziness, there is no one there to tell them how proud they are that the student did the right thing when no one else did. Poor kid doesn't even know he had integrity.
     
  16. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Oct 22, 2006

    Souptunuts, what are your three rules?
     
  17. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2006

    Hi- my three rules are very simple.

    1. Do what's right.
    2. Do your best.
    3. Treat others as you want to be treated.


    That's it.

    If they need further explanation then I tell them that number 1 includes the teacher's normal classroom rules. I also tell them that they are all smart and know what a good choice is. If they aren't sure they can ask me.

    For number 2, I tell them that all I ask is that they work and behave to the best of their abilities. If they do, they will be proud for a job well done and finished on time. Falling out of their chair, getting up repeatedly to do "whatever" is not doing your best.

    For number 3, they usually understand what this means peer to peer (I only do elementary) so I give an example that sort of refers to me. "If you come up front and read a book to the class, how would you like your classmates to treat you and what would you expect from them?"

    For the real young kids I let them tell me a couple examples of breaking the rules. They like that;)
     
  18. Waiting 4 Cert

    Waiting 4 Cert Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2006

    I was taught in my sub workshop that you should bring a book or other activities to do while the kids are doing their assigned work. Personally, I like to get involved in the work especially if I'm teaching that particular class for more than one day.

    As far as discipline, send the big stuff straight to the administration and I leave the detentions and other minor infractions for the teacher unless I'm there for a long period and can serve the detention.
     

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