I'm Getting Paid to Do Nothing

Discussion in 'General Education' started by wanting2teach, May 4, 2012.

  1. wanting2teach

    wanting2teach Rookie

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    May 4, 2012

    I've accepted a job position (just for the remainder of the school year) at a school. They have me in one classroom in the afternoons, but because I wanted full-time, the District agreed to have me "float" in the building in the mornings. The trouble is, there are days when I'm simply not needed. The ladies in the office have no place for me to fill in as a sub and don't even have anything clerical they want me to do.

    This leaves me a good 3.5 hours of nothingness. Any suggestions on what I should do? Take the initiative and walk around classroom-to-classroom asking teachers if they need anything done? Clean toilets? (joking)
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 4, 2012

    Maybe offer to help some teachers with grading?
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 4, 2012

    Perhaps talk with the special ed teachers and see if they need an ad hoc aide in the room. That's what I tended to do when I was an unassigned floating sub.
     
  5. lovebeingteach

    lovebeingteach Companion

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    May 4, 2012

    Offer to do some EOG Prep with some kids that need a little extra help, and wait and see how fast your schedule fills up.
     
  6. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 4, 2012

    Do SOMETHING!
     
  7. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    I know I would love to have someone help with certain students! Offer to make a game for the class? Laminating? I would even like to have someone run copies for me.....What about helping someone with running records or some other kind of assessment.
     
  8. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    May 4, 2012

    I would love to get some extra reading practice for my kids who don't read at home. If your state hasn't had testing yet, offer to tutor the grade/subject that the school has the most trouble with.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 4, 2012

    Make yourself indispensable.
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 4, 2012

    Do you have a laptop you can work on learning more stuff? Use the time to professionally develop new curriculum, teaching strategies/methods, etc. [And be thankful ;) ]
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 4, 2012

    Our permanent sub helps me out a lot with providing accommodations for kids. Most of my students have the accommodation of getting tests read aloud (including generic classroom tests- can't give it to them on state tests unless they get it normally as well), and with me having 13 different classrooms I work with it's impossible for me to do it. If I dropped everything every time a grade level had a test, I'd never do anything else! It's also hard for the classroom teacher to do it while not distracting the other kids. I fill up a lot of the perm sub's time with just doing that! Go see your special ed teacher(s), I'm positive they have things they could use you for! Our perm sub also has a box in the lounge that teachers can put "work requests" in- things like making copies, stapling, organizing, etc.
     
  12. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 4, 2012

    I think you should go from classroom to classroom to see if any teachers need help with something. Obviously, if the teacher is in the middle of teaching a lesson, then don't interrupt. If the kids are doing group work and the teacher doesn't look too busy, it won't hurt to go in and ask if she needs anything done. (even things like making copies, stapling papers, etc.)

    Or, if you know any teachers in the building, email them to let them know when you're available and ask them if they need anything done or any help teaching in the classroom. I think the school will be impressed if you take this kind of initiative.
     
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 5, 2012

    Please make yourself available to other teachers. I would LOVE an extra set of hands in the morning. This is prime learning time in many early year's classrooms, and certified help is always a huge blessing. If I knew one of my co-workers was available, but not helping, I would start to be annoyed with that person. You are unassigned to a classroom, but there all morning... jump in!
     
  14. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Easy for me to say, of course, as the most hyper senior citizen on the planet. (I blew past retirement age without a pause.)
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 5, 2012

    This is a golden opportunity for you. You've been given the chance to be that teacher they can't live without.

    Let the other teachers know your status. Let them know you'll be happpy to do their Xeroxing, to give them a quick potty break when needed, to help with grading or with recording the grades. You'll be an extra set of hands in classes that are hairy, you'll be someone they can turn to when they need help.

    Trust me, the right people will notice exactly how you choose to spend this time.
     
  16. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 5, 2012

    Offer help to the teachers, offer to work with or planning RtI, school improvement plan, help with behavior.
     
  17. wanting2teach

    wanting2teach Rookie

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    May 7, 2012

    Yes, it would be annoying. That's why I'm frustrated and made a post about it. I want to be utilized as best as possible. I have already talked to HR and the principals at nearby schools to make myself as available as possible.
     
  18. sizzla_222

    sizzla_222 Companion

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    May 7, 2012

    i would go around and ask the teachers how u can help in any way.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    May 7, 2012

    Here is what I want you to do.

    I am coming to realize that the job of classroom teacher is really a job for two people. Though we have been doing it mostly alone for as long as there have been schools, the reality is that what we do equates to flying a 747 without a copilot or first officer. Sure, it's possible but it's neither safe nor effective. This is especially true today with the increasing number of "high maintenance" students that end up in a regular education classroom.

    I think two teachers with one class of 40 are more than twice as effective than two teachers who each have their own class of 20.

    I'd like you to prove me right or wrong.

    Find one classroom - perhaps one where the teacher is effective, yet overwhelmed. Offer to team teach the class with them for the remainder of the year during the time you are available.

    I'd be very interested to know two things. First of all, how much does two credentialed adults in the classroom reduce the stress level of both teachers. In the classroom there will be an extra pair of eyes and teachers will have mobility to take kids to the office etc.

    Second, how much easier will it be to differentiate instruction? Even with only 20 students, I've found this to be nearly impossible without another adult to help.
     
  20. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 7, 2012

    Our English classes run between 16 and 22. (Other disciplines - intro foreign language, occasionally social studies - can run a little higher, maybe 25.)

    To me, one teacher to 20 students is about the golden mean for lit classes, 16 for writing classes: just about what we have.

    I don't need anybody else there with me: I take up a lot of verbal and mental "space" (as you might guess, lol). I don't need anybody to take students to the office, because I've never sent a student there, or anywhere else, except to the nurse or a guidance counselor, if I was worried about them.

    Our classes meet four days a week. That fifth day, for one-on-one work, really helps with differentiated instruction.

    I'm fortunate, I know, and I like things just as they are.
     
  21. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    May 7, 2012

    Here it's 20 for K-3 and 35 for everything else.

    K-3 is no prep or specials. If my kiddos are at school, they are either at recess or with me.

    No aid and this year near every first grade teacher has at least one child with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties who they need to keep one eye on at all times for safety reasons. I have one who likes to throw chairs or run out of the room when he gets mad.

    If wanting2teach was at my school and had free mornings, I would more than open to having them team teach with me in the mornings.

    What I'm talking about here is a big paradigm shift in education that, if it were to happen, would get considerable bang for the buck.
     
  22. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    May 7, 2012

    Great idea!
     
  23. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    May 7, 2012

    Team teaching or co-teaching really comes down to personalities. I once had a co-teacher who I liked personally, but who had a completely different educational philosophy than I did, and more often than not he would distract the kids while I was trying to teach. On the days he was out, I had a much easier time teaching.

    On the other hand, I've seen other duos whose styles meshed very well. So I would say that two teachers aren't always better than one.
     
  24. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    May 7, 2012

    We have a retired teacher who comes in every Tuesday and Thursday morning. She volunteers to do anything we need done. She has a box in the office to put things with directions. Usually it's copying, cutting, laminating, making booklets, taking photos, etc.

    Before she leaves, she always stocks the copiers with paper and makes sure they are full of ink and staples (this is a treat).

    She's a gem!

    My advice is to get busy and stay busy.
    Be liked...WELL liked.
     
  25. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    May 7, 2012

    I had a ton of downtime this year and I just surfed the net and played Words With Friends. Also caught up on Mad Men.

    Enjoy the free time.
     
  26. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Oh ya...some believe she is a retired teacher who actually won the lottery!
     
  27. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    She sounds wonderful. How kind of her to help out every week!
     
  28. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 7, 2012

    The OP wants to help out, so there's really no reason not to.
     
  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2012

    In fact, there's EVERY reason to pitch in. She's a new hire...her best steps would be to find ways to be productive. Using 'down time' to twiddle one's thumbs doesn't send a message of professionalism.:2cents:
     
  30. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 7, 2012

    :agreed:
     
  31. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'm sorry, but that is an attitude that has to change. Lots of people work side by side with peers. In my team-teaching utopia as you might call it, one teacher would be in charge in sort of a pilot-copilot arrangement. Copilots are capable of flying the airplane from gate to gate. They just sit in the right seat and the aircraft commander sits in the left seat. The AC bears ultimate responsibility for the aircraft.

    But no pilot would ever think of telling the copilot to stay out of the cockpit. It just wouldn't happen, even though most airplanes can be physically flown by one person. Moreover, the pilot has to make sure the co-pilot gets his or her share of takeoffs, approaches and landings. That's because the pilot is ultimately responsible for the professional development of the copilot.

    Here's how it would work in teaching. New teachers would spend a certain number of years - beyond just getting tenure - before they "upgraded" (aviation term) to the sole teacher in charge of a classroom. If two fully qualified teachers were to staff one classroom, perhaps the one getting evaluated that year would take charge.

    Oh, and fully qualified teachers would get paid more.

    I think the reason so many teachers resist my idea is that few teachers ever really have a chance to do it. You get your credential, get hired and you're on your own. From that point on, you have very few opportunites to observe other teachers and get very little feedback on your own teaching. The copilot learns from watching the experienced pilot. When I would listen on the intercom, probably 80% of the conversation between the pilot and copilot was feedback, tips, tricks, ideas, better and safer ways to do things. And in the back of the plane, where I worked, it was the same. We reguarly worked with peers and constantly bounced ideas off of each other.

    Now you might say "but all the teachers at my grade level meet regularly as a team and share ideas." That's very nice, BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME!!! It's not the same as two people watching each other do their jobs every day and constantly get ideas back and forth.
     
  32. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    May 7, 2012

    Rockin' out to Rancid can be productive...

    Kinda, sorta. :p
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm kinda sorta thinking most administrators would be more impressed by a new hire taking some initiative to prove themselves valuable to the district. But if punk rock works for you, go for it.
     
  34. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    May 7, 2012

    I'm only joking!

    I've had tons of time this year because I honestly haven't had much to do, besides work with the kiddos. I'm not really supposed to go around and help out other teachers, since I'm employed by an agency, not the school. I'm not exactly allowed.

    But hey, if the OP wants to help out she should go for it. I was just suggesting she enjoy her free time because, normally, there is so little of it.
     
  35. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 8, 2012

    My original post was, "DO something!", but I think this post gives a nice balance to the discussion. Why, I've been known to post on forums while at work!
     
  36. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Bazinga...............my 4th graders are on a field trip so.........
     
  37. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    May 8, 2012

    You've got a nice idea in your head, and a metaphor to go with it, but I've got years of experience doing team teaching. All I'm telling you is that it's not always as awesome as you make it sound.

    Aside from that fact, in practicality it will never happen. A district would have to double the workforce to put two credentialed teachers in each classroom. The only time you are ever likely to see it happen is if it's a federal mandate; i.e., one of the teachers is there for special ed or disabled kids.
     
  38. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 9, 2012

    I would agree with this. I've co-taught in multiple settings and disliked it in every scenario. When I was the sped teacher in the regular ed teacher's room, I was treated as an aide- I guess the "co-pilot" in Sarge's example. I wanted to poke my eyes out I was so bored. The teacher did all of the teaching and I was expected to walk around and manage behavior, keep kids on task, and assist kids that raised their hands with questions. In that same classroom, for the other half of my placement I was the regular ed teacher. I enjoyed that role much more since I actually got to teach, but it was still hard having someone else in the room. She would explain things differently than me and confuse the kids, or give what I thought was too much help. In another setting during my junior year, I had a fellow ST as a co-teacher, both of us in the "regular ed" role. That was better, since we were both seen as "equals" and no one was "in charge" of the room. Our personalities and teaching philosophies were a perfect match and she was a close friend of mine so we enjoyed working together. However, it literally took at least twice the amount of planning time for us to plan together, divide up responsibilities, and make two people teaching the lesson work. The lessons turned out well, but I would have been so much more effective and efficient had I been able to just do it myself (as I'm sure she would have by herself). We'd have to spend hours together planning for just the next day or two, and since it was only a junior year placement we were only in charge of teaching Reading and Social Studies since we were there half day. I can't imagine trying to plan an entire day with someone like that every day!
     
  39. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    May 9, 2012

    Sarge, I worked at a private school that did just this. There were lead teachers and associate teachers. The associate teacher was typically a newer teacher, still learning the ropes. Both were qualified to teach, but the lead teacher was more of a mentor, and since they were there permanently, had the ultimate say, but throughout the associate's time working there, more and more would be put on their plate to control, that way after a certain amount of years (2-3 at this school) they are ready to "spread their wings and man their own plane with their own new copilot.

    They did this instead of any kind of BTSA program, although since I had my credential, I chose to get it cleared privately anyway. As much as I want to stay in private school, it's best to keep all options open. I believe the mentorship I went through far surpassed the BTSA program. Again, this also has to do with the teacher I worked with. Others were not always given as much leeway from the leads.

    Unfortunately, I thought I was coming into the same situation with my new school this year, which also has lead/associate teacher titles. My associate has no interest in being a teacher, taking initiative..nothing. But that's a story for a different thread!
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 9, 2012

    So it's at least possible that the difficulties that greendream and waterfall experienced may not be failures of the model itself so much as in the implementation.
     
  41. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    May 9, 2012

    From what I remember, another member who used to post here (halpey1) and keeps a blog (http://lookatmyhappyrainbow.com/), combined his class with another teacher to take advantage of the benifits of a co-teaching situation. Many of the entries on the blog have discussed those. In that case, it's not a mentorship situation, but does allow more differentiation and sharing within the class. And, since it's essentially two classes put together, it doesn't mean an increase in personnel. In fact, Sarge's original post said that he thought a class of 40 with 2 teachers would be more effective than 2 classes of 20 with their own teachers.
     

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