Long term from h**L!

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by my58vw, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. my58vw

    my58vw Rookie

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    Jan 20, 2007

    Hello allm

    I am a long term sub for local district here in Southern California. I am normally at my home school where I am number 1 candidate for an open science posistion next year. I was called by the head sub coordinator and asked if I would take a "challenging" 4 week long term - and I said sure.

    On the first day I found out the first sub had bailed after about a week in this class, leaving over 1000 pages of uncorrected work, and a total disaster in the class. A few things disturbed me right away.

    1. Very little (I mean almost none) support from the other staff of the department that I am in - I mean - you are a long term sub, figure it out - that is coming into an assignment with NO pacing guides, no idea where the class is at, etc.

    2. The original teacher is old (maybe 65) and has no control over 3 of her classes. Two of them are like a war zone - my main goal is to try and calm these classes down. The teacher would give an assignment, then go hide in the corner and let the students destroy the room.

    3. The school expect miracles in 4 weeks, where the class has been out of control for over 3 months.

    OK, I go in, and handle things in class, take charge, etc. It takes me over a week to figure out what is going on. For one, the teacher will not let me access grade recording software and does not have a hard grade book - a no no in this district. I have no idea how much the ungraded assignments are worth, or even hoe the teacher grades the work.

    Third day I am being pounded by the assistant principal about ungraded work - my response - the other sub did not do the work - how am I supose to in three days to over 2 -3 weeks in grading. Also students are upset because I can not give them their grades, etc...

    Well I have control over 3 of the 5 periods. Periods 5 and 6 are still can explode at any time, and the kids just do not want to learn, and I feel bad for the kids. On Friday I went out to the office and someone broke into the classroom, turned over the desks, and stole my cell phone, and stomped on my backpack, destroying my laptop computer which was in the bag (about 1500 dollars in damage). They stole all kinds of things from the class in about 10 minutes. School will do abolutly nothing about the damage of my computer.

    I have a week left, but am considering not coming in and canceling the job. My family thinks that will be coping out and letting them win. I know for certain I will never work again at this school - even if they offered me huge money to work there - but I don't want to upset the district.

    What would you do? I no longer trust the students at all - and learned a lesson - nothing is left in a class unless it is chained down and covered by insurance...
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2007

    I am a big believer in honoring your committments. But.....

    How on earth do they expect anyone to work there? Why would anyone choose to? Respect and professionalism have to be two way streets. It seems as though they're looking for someone to keep the parents happy, without much concern for the kids.

    Is there any way this could come back to haunt you? Could it possibly put you on some sort of a blacklist for other districts?

    If not, then place a value on your sanity and walk-- or run-- away.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 20, 2007

    Woah! What I don't understand is you mentioned a teacher that hides in the corner. Why ARE you there if there is a teacher there? If someone else is there not teaching, why isn't SHE grading papers?

    Do you have to grade everything? Can some things count as completed? It depends on the level of assignment/how much work the students put into it of course. Could you have the students divide the paperwork up and put it into binders or folders? Then using a checklist, have other students "grade" their binders. Then you can collect binders and put real grades on them. By binders, I mean anything (it doesn't have to be the 3 ring binder). Would this be easier or more work than it's worth?

    I agree with finishing it out. I wouldn't have left valuables in there overnight, but having done so I'm appalled that the district isn't at LEAST sympathetic. They may or may not have their hands tied, but they should show a lot more support!
     
  5. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Jan 20, 2007

    I took that to mean it was the original teacher that left before the first long term sub (who quit) came in. This is a war zone, and you don't deserve it. I've never even had a pen or pencil be stolen from my classroom. I leave them everywhere, but the kids never take them. If my cell phone was stolen, I'd completely flip out! Check with a union rep. Chances are that something can be done about it.

    I'd quit... I wouldn't feel any remorse. Hell, just say that you got the flu - it's only a week! Then your reputation wouldn't be at stake, and no one would say you bailed out. I wouldn't even think twice. And, trust me, I am one to keep a commitment and one who doesn't lie. lol
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 20, 2007

    I would not go back, but I would tell them exactly why. What, are teachers supposed to take being victims of crimes for the sake of .... uhm, what ? If the principal has no control over the kids or the teachers, don't give him or her the time of day.
     
  7. my58vw

    my58vw Rookie

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    Jan 20, 2007

    The teacher went out to have surgery. The teacher initially left very basic plans for about a week - which did not help all that much. She had a test planned this week, and I gave it (and had to dig through 5 full filing cabinets to find it - buried under huge amounts of other unrelated papers) - to find out after the test that the sub had collected the students notes previously and not returned them - 90% failure rate (and the test was not hard).

    I was asked to go to a department meeting last Monday for the students final exam - which is this Thursday - given a list of questions to go over with the students - 100 questions - and told I had to review the students for the test. I am a science teacher - but I am not a biologist by any means - my degrees are in physics and chemistry, and I can not personally review and be ready to teach the class in a week - talk about stress. Now if I had taught the material for the last 18 weeks - but then I am only a 4 week sub.

    The few students I could trust told me the teacher would write the notes on the board, then go sit down and tell the students to copy the notes. Class would consist of worksheet after worksheet - and very little lecture time - the exact opposite of my style. I can not be expected to come in and fix what is an out of control class - with the respect level students already give to a substitute. Just as an example - I will be lecturing, and have a student start talking loudly. I will walk over, using presence try and get them to stop - then I will stare at them, still does not work, then I will stop talking which will make everyone stop and look - finally I will say something - and many times that does not work. Then I have to send the kid out - which does not work because the kids just go to an on campus detention, mess around and are never given detention, etc. The system does not work - I am not even allowed to lock out late students.

    All I am learning is how to NOT run my class - and how to NOT handle my kids. All this has taught me is 1. I can never trust a student for even 5 seconds, 2. I can never leave anything for 5 seconds that is not chained down to something, and 3. that students can turn and stab you in the back in 5 seconds if their behind is on the line.

    It is unfortunite, but school sure has changed since I was in high school. BTW this week, one day is class, one day standardized testing and two days finals. Oh ya, and the paperwork - nothing in this class is pass of not - everything has to be touched - another thing I will change when I have my class.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2007

    NO, kids have NOT changed! You most certainly trust most of the kids, most of the time. Schools haven't changed either; you're just in a very poor excuse for one.

    The things that were vandalized were the result of some punks-- every school has a few-- who KNEW they could get away with it. The kids are frustrated because they know they're getting a raw deal. No one is teaching them and no one seems to care. They do some work and it's buried in that filing cabinet, never to be seen again. So why do work the next time?

    That said, none of this is YOUR problem. The administration is totally at fault. You're not a miracle worker who can come in and fix this school's problems in the span of time they've given you. They're looking for a scapegoat and hope they've found it in you. The parents are also somewhat to blame-- how can they NOT know what's going on?? If it were my kids, trust me: this very timid mom would be down there demanding answers!!!
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2007

    I tend to think that kids have changed a great deal. I think there are more disabilities, more apathy, less respect, less patience or ability to sustain attention, less willingness to think, less willingness to work hard.
     
  10. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jan 21, 2007

    This is a very sad story, and I would leave.... but not before writing a letter to the administration explaining the reasons. It is no reflection on you. This was a disaster before you were there. I'm so sorry, and I hope you continue to teach.
     
  11. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2007

    If I'm not mistaken, is this class in CA? You just described what I know goes on every day in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which is where I teach.

    I would be interested to know how this situation worked out in the end.
     
  12. artteacher3

    artteacher3 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007

    You have to lay the ground rules and stick to them. As far as the work that you have not graded. Can the kids help grade? You may need to ask for assistance. I have a long term sub assignment and I hear that the teacher did nothing. The good thing is that I started with them from the beginning of the semester. I want to have fun doing art projects but the students have so many discipline problems. Kids these days have no respect. And their parents don't seem to be any better. I love to teach but I want a bunch that want to learn.
     
  13. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Aug 30, 2007

    Artteacher3,
    I agree that you must have the ground rules. Would it be possible for you to tell your kids that you would love to do these kinds of (interesting) projects with them, but we'll only be able to do it if they work diligently? Then begin your super interesting project. If they still don't behave appopriately, then give a really boring activity, and if they whine, remind them what they must do to participate in your interesting projects.
     
  14. did2007

    did2007 Rookie

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    Sep 3, 2007

    First of all, I would NEVER bring my laptop to ANY public school that I sub for. I learned that from field experience. Also, get a cheap cell phone that's on insurance and keep it in your pocket AT ALL TIMES!

    Anyways, this reminds me of my first full day of subbing. This was a group of first graders who didn't have any classroom structure. They were rowdy to begin with and lied to me about snack money. OF COURSE, I couldn't collect any money for the ice cream because the school system said for subs not to collect any money of any sort. I wound up telling the principal at the end of the day I would NEVER sub for that school again. They didn't want to do their classwork. It was just a bad day that I learned so much on how not to run a classroom. I have a set of classroom rules and they abide by them. I also explain right before class how I run the classroom that day--and if I need something, I buzz the office.
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 3, 2007

    I, too, think you should write a letter to the administration detailing exactly what has been going on the past 4 weeks and what you know to have occured before you arrived. I agree with the poster that suggested having the students help grade, the binder idea was great! If its just for one more week, I would tough it out. This would show other districts that you are willing to stick it out no matter how bad it gets. I am sorry that you have had such a bad experience, but know that not all classes/districts are like this.
     

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