I thought this would be a fun topic!!

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Mldouglas, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Jan 28, 2011

    OR since subs usually sub multiple times during the year, find the lesson plan book that is on the teacher's desk and read it? I have folders labeled for each day but if I had to be out for an emergency that I could not control there might not be a way to leave a note stating "the lesson plan book is to your left on my desk. The folders for the day are behind in you in a black filing cabinet on top of the desk behind you"

    SOME subs (not all :)) complain because things aren't right there within inches of their reach. I've been a sub. The key is to get there early enough to scope out the classroom. Look around, discover, read the plans and find the items.
     
  2. midwesttchr

    midwesttchr Rookie

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    Jan 28, 2011

    A set of PE clothes is very helpful, just in case you're side-swept by an unexpected field trip or outside activity. Sacked lunch is something to always take too. Nonetheless, a courtesy of letting a sub know ahead of time about a field trip or other is to let the sub know if they are capable of doing that assignment.

    For instance, earlier this school-year, I had a severe case of asthmatic bronchitis. Typical subbing duties were no problem, but I would not have felt capable going on a field trip that entailed long walks and outside activities the entire day.

    Therefore, had this field trip been sprung upon me at that time, I would have had no choice but request to either switch assignments with another sub that day or to have them call another sub at the last minute. Definitely not something an otherwise reliable sub would want to do. :(
     
  3. azure

    azure Companion

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    Jan 28, 2011

    On AESOP the teacher has a place where she can write "Notes." That's where they could alert a sub considering this assignment of the field trip.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 28, 2011

    I'm sure there are teachers who don't make it easy for subs...keep in mind though that many times teachers are out on an emergency or are too sick to send in excellent plans. It wouldn't be a fun thread if this was on the reverse topic, would it? Consider that most professional educators are leaving plans that they feel will benefit their students and will be 'user friendly' for their sub. I think the best of the majority of the subs who fill in for me. I would never start a thread about the rare instance that didn't quite work out.
     
  5. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jan 28, 2011

    Why not? That might be helpful. Just as classroom teachers may not have the perspective to know what works or doesn't work for a sub, substitute teachers may not know what irks regular classroom teachers.

    As an example, I once had a full-time teacher tell me that the worst thing a sub could do was tell the office there was no lesson plan. She told me it was the best way to get blackballed at that particular school because it made the regular teacher look bad to the boss. I never would have looked at it from that perspective.

    This forum isn't meant to be personal hits or a place to attack. It's simply a place to share experiences--and not all of them are good. Sugar coating things doesn't help anybody.
     
  6. artiste7

    artiste7 Rookie

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    Jan 30, 2011

    i am not a complainer but i would say to teachers:

    Thank you for leaving clear & concise lesson plans.
    Thank you for not expecting me to teach new material to your classes, when you are out, it should be review.
    Thank you for having control over your class in such a way that i am not expected to work miracles in a day/hour.
    Thank you for a clean classroom. I will make sure it is left neat at the end of the day.
    This works anywhere...
     
  7. artiste7

    artiste7 Rookie

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    I once had a full-time teacher tell me that the worst thing a sub could do was tell the office there was no lesson plan. She told me it was the best way to get blackballed at that particular school because it made the regular teacher look bad to the boss. I never would have looked at it from that perspective.:wow:

    :dizzy:if there is no lesson plan...it is the regular teacher who looks bad on her own. if there isn't one, there isn't one. it is the teacher's job to have a lesson plan (unless there is a sudden emergency) and it is the subs' job to carry it out. that's just the way it is. if you don't want to look bad as a teacher, have a plan. if you don't want to look bad as a sub, carry the plan out. got it? got it.
     
  8. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Jan 30, 2011

    I made a really long blog post about this once. It included a long list of what NOT to do in sub plans. :lol:

    Some highlights:

    -Avoid using acronyms and shorthand in your plans.

    Sorry, but I've had bad experiences with this. Especially when the "sub plans" are really just the teacher's own lesson plans, with notes made specifically for themselves. The first time I saw it, I had no idea what an "SRB book" was. "G2 presents project" makes no sense to me. Be clear, for goodness' sake. I hate asking students to decipher lesson plans. To me, it suggests that I don't know what I'm doing. Maybe I don't, but I don't need to broadcast that to the class. :lol:

    -Please don't leave assignments and activities students have already finished! I hate that! Mostly because, how could you not know that half the class has already finished their social studies packet, and the other half will be finished in no longer than 5 minutes? What are we supposed to do for the next hour? It always surprises me when this happens because I don't understand how you don't know how far the class has gotten on an assignment (except, of course, if the teacher has been out on an emergency). If it's something they've worked on for at least a day, you should probably leave a few other things to work on in case everyone finishes.


    -THE TOP, MOST ANNOYING THING FOR ME (quoted directly from my blog because I don't know how to make it any clearer):

    I've had no many bad situations erupt because students who were supposed to "know how to do it" had no more idea than I did what the teacher was talking about. I once had a K class in which the sub notes instructed me to ask one student how to do their math journal lesson or something (seriously?) and gave me no further details. Unfortunately, the little girl was absent that day, so I was lost. Not too hard to figure out K math lessons, but we lost a lot of time trying to figure out where they left off, how they were supposed to do it (K class wanted everything done exactly like the teacher), etc. It would have been quite simple for the teacher to just write about 3 sentences telling me what to do.

    Very, very rarely have I had a class in which "they know where it is/how to do it" was an accurate statement, which allowed the activity to be done with relative ease. In short: trust your ability to communicate above that of your students'. You'd be surprised how much they don't know how to do when you're not there. :lol:


    When I started subbing, I was really picky about "good plans." I've gotten so used to the job and "winging it" in so many situations that, as long as you give me the basics, I should be fine. The basics, people! :lol:
     
  9. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Jan 30, 2011



    I was subbing for an art class years ago. One boy was being so disruptive and disrespectful, I had to get him OUT. But there were no referrals or a list of extensions so that I could call the office. :help: I didn't want him to walk to the office alone, and I didn't want to leave the class. So, I had to wait until class ended to escort him down there myself. :mad:
     
  10. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Jan 30, 2011


    LOL! Try making an impromptu seating chart when you take attendance. Draw boxes to represent the desks, and then write their names in as you call roll. This will prevent students from giving you fake names, since they want to be counted present. Also, if you believe they're not sitting where they should, inform them that you will leave your seating chart, with their current positions, for the teacher.
     
  11. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Jan 30, 2011

    Oh, another big one:


    This happens all the time. The plans call for you to spend an hour in the library, but the librarian informs me that there is a scheduling conflict and so the class can't be in there. The plans state we're supposed to take a test in the computer lab, but the computers are down. The plans say there is supposed to be an assembly at 1:30, but it was moved to the next day unexpectedly.

    Things happen. I understand that. It would be very, very helpful for all people involved (me, the class, other staff members, etc) if a few contingencies were made for moments like these. Emergency plans, generic lessons and activities are worth their weight in gold, let me tell you.

    Even if it's something simple, like some worksheets or a bunch of writing journal prompts, it's great to have a Plan B.
     
  12. midwesttchr

    midwesttchr Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2011

    That would be useful for the district I sub in. We just have a sub caller, although I do like the fact I don't have to get up super early to race other people on the computer for a job. Of course, the cons are that the teachers can't add in specific details on a notes section, and I have no real control over whether or not I have a job that day. Obviously none of us theoretically do, but either the phone rings or doesn't.

    The sticky part is that maybe the teachers *did* tell the sub caller about the field trips, and she forgot to mention them as she gave the assignments. I dislike assuming that though; at least in AESOP, the lack of communication is lessened by the teacher being able to write these details.
     
  13. bella

    bella Rookie

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    Feb 5, 2011

    Group Time

    I hate when the teacher has students work in a group for assignments. I know a lot of people would think its easier, since they dont have to teach, but I spend more time stressed that they are fooling around, aren't completing the assignment and are being disruptive to other students. As a sub, I would much rather have them in their seats, working independently or with a partner
     
  14. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    As a teacher, I always leave the sub the choice of group work. I have my students work in groups all the time. I write in my sub plans the activity and then say I let the students work in groups, however, if you feel comfortable completing this whole class, independently at desks, or in pairs, feel free.
     
  15. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Feb 5, 2011

    The bathroom thing drives me crazy, too. Sometimes it's hard enough to even get a bio-break with duties, getting things ready,etc, but to actually have to ask someone to let you in...and I get why doors are locked when I go into some schools, but seriously...I also think the designs of some schools are flawed. Instead of a regular public bathroom with stalls, sinks, etc, for teachers, some of the places I work just have a single bathroom inside the office, where there's always a line. I'll never understand why some schools aren't built with the idea that there will actually be adults needing separate facilitites, and that more than one will have the need to use them at at time.
     
  16. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Feb 6, 2011

    I work at a number of schools where there is a women's only restroom conveniently located inside the lounge, but the men must go outdoors with a key.
    This is not a problem as long as our room key also opens the restroom. But sometimes we need to go to the office to get a key.

    This is only a mild inconvenience if there is easy access to the key. Usually it is hanging on the wall or in a bowl.
    However, there is one school where the men actually need to ask the office manager for the key every time we use the restroom.

    I never acccept jobs at this school for this reason.
     
  17. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 6, 2011

    All our subs check out a key that opens the classroom, doors in the hallway, and bathrooms. This is for safety reasons. If we were to have a lock down drill, the sub would need to be able to lock the classroom.

    If we have a severe weather or evacuation drill, the sub would need to be able to unlock doors in the hallway or safe classroom.

    Heaven forbid there was a real emergency when a sub was there. They would definitely need the keys!
     
  18. azure

    azure Companion

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    I agree 100%. Kids who work well in groups for their regular teacher invarably take advantage of the sub and do just as you say. I always hear social conversations. I just tell them at the beginning that if I see or hear that they are not doing what they're supposed to be doing, the group work will end and they will have to do it on their own, and I will report that to the teacher.
     
  19. azure

    azure Companion

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    We never get keys; in the case of a drill (or God forbid a real lockdown, the administrators are supposed to go around to the rooms and lock them, but my fear has always been that in the excitement or confusion of the moment they'll forget.
     
  20. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Definitely! Or what if 5 or more teachers are out! How will they get to all those doors with a gun man running around the school!
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 6, 2011

    As Tim Gunn says, " Make it Work"...teachers generally leave plans that SHOULD work. If the plans aren't working, please make adjustments as needed to get the work done with minimal behavior issues. Ask grade level colleagues of the absent teacher for clarification if you need. Ask at the office about parking spaces, lunch protocol, any last minute changes in the schedule for the day. Be proactive. Make it work.

    I'm still failing to see how this is a 'fun' topic...seems like a b***h session...
     
  22. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I actually like group work, for the most part. I often get bored doing a lot of the material, like reading the text altogether or watching them sit silently while they work independently throughout the day. I usually allow them to work in partners or small groups for things like that, but I always make it clear that separation and silence will be the end result of noisiness.
     
  23. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Feb 8, 2011


    Most of the time, that's exactly what we all have to do. It's the nature of subbing. I don't think we're talking about things that completely debilitate us from doing our jobs. Just talking about things that can easily frustrate us or present problems.

    It's the flip side of the "bad day/I made a mistake" topics. Subs make mistakes, and reg. teachers and schools do, too.
     
  24. TeachSoCal

    TeachSoCal Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I don't see it that way at all. Subbing can be a very solitary profession. When you’re with the kids you are not with other colleagues to talk things through. I found this thread VERY helpful because it has brought up things I should look for as a sub when in a new school and what I should include when making my own sub plans (when the day comes).
     
  25. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    That's not even legal!!:eek:
     
  26. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I've got another one!! I subbed in a 1st grade room yesterday. I walked in, and the teacher's desk (a wrap-around desk that had desktop space for 3 regular size teacher desks) was COVERED in about 6 inches to a foot of papers, books, cups, baggies, etc.:eek: There was a "space" cleared out where she put her "plans." I couldn't function; Idk how the kids could - the rest of the room was kind of like this, too. There was a cabinet with about 4 feet of stuff in front of it (wonder what was in there - possibly an animal for all I knew) I ended up cleaning the desk bc she called in during that day and I was already scheduled somewhere else - today's sub had a little bit more organization. (No I did not rearrange ANY of her stuff - just made some more room for me)

    Also, same class, but it's happened before. The lesson plan starts about a half hour INTO the day. My plans started with reading groups, but we had to do calendar, weather, days count, jobs, the pledge, and some other thing. This all took us at least a half hour. After about 3 attempts to "start the day," I just started asking, "is there anything else we do before reading groups?"

    I just wing it when the plans go bad (or there isn't any). I always bring in some books to read and am ready with games. What's the secretary going to do about that? Unless the plans were emailed.
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I'm sort of with czacza on this one. This thread isn't really about problem solving or anything. There's nothing that you as subs can do when teachers plan poorly or not at all. Instead, this thread seems to be about, "Oh wait! I have a worse story!" and giving the impression that some classroom teachers are incompetent.

    Some teachers don't leave good/any sub plans. That's the wrong thing to do. But it sometimes happens, especially when the teacher was unexpectedly absent and didn't have emergency plans (for whatever reason).

    Some teachers are "messy" and appear "unorganized". That's subjective because we all have our own thresholds as far as what we can tolerate. You might not see those piles and piles of paperwork as anything other than a sign that the teacher doesn't know what she's doing, but it's entirely possible that she is in the middle of organizing work or that she prefers to keep papers (lots of papers, evidently) within easy reach. That's her choice since it's her class.

    The tone here seems very judgmental. I think that's what's bothering me. Whenever teachers start threads complaining about subs, everyone gets up in arms about how teachers don't know how bad subs have it and whatnot. I guess the same goes both ways. A little compassion goes a long way.
     
  28. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    I actually commented to the TA about how this teacher is a really good teacher. I've seen her students' work and know this to be true. This was by NO MEANS a teacher-bashing statement. I am a pile-filer myself. I just, personally, couldn't function in the clutter (bc I didn't know where things were to begin) and didn't know how the kids did (which they seemed to be doing just fine). If she works that way, which she seems to do so fairly well, great; however, what I am saying is: AS A SUB, it is hard to know what to do when I can't find things. She probably knew EXACTLY where things were -I do in my pile files. I cleared the immediate space for me to function and if the sub the following day was inexperienced, it would be easier for him/her. IF it did sound like I was minimalizing the teacher's ability, I didn't mean it to. Oh, and I know she was sick when she was making the plans, bc I saw her car at the school AFTER she called in the night before. I don't blame her, nor did I mind, that she forgot to put the morning routines in the plan.

    I've had the experience of being both a classroom teacher AND a sub. I won't change how my own classroom runs or is set up, BUT if I want to have the day run as smoothly as possible with a sub, I will have to make where I keep the lessons for the sub, and the lessons, what I call "sub-proof." - Not all subs have teaching experience, and don't know what to do if things fall through, or they can't find them.

    I've changed my sub plans after talking with a sub, and finding out that she couldn't understand something AND I was missing something crucial - a seating chart!! :) As a teacher, I appreciate knowing what might make my plans not "sub-proof"
     
  29. azure

    azure Companion

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    Feb 9, 2011

    How do you know? All states have different restrictions.
     

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