Need Middle School Subbing Advice!

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by teachnfl, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. teachnfl

    teachnfl Rookie

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    Aug 18, 2010

    Hey! I've been subbing at the elementary level for 3 school years & decided, for this new school year, to start subbing also in middle school (6th & 7th preferably) to gain more experience.
    My question: What are some strategies, behavior management techniques, games, etc. that work with this age group? Thanks! :help:
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 18, 2010

    I loved subbing in middle school! Remember that this is the age where they're testing their boundaries as those fun hormones are kicking in at the same time. The best example I have is when I asked a 7th grader to act like the young adult she was becoming. She thought about it for a second and answered, "But I want to still be a kid!"

    Remember to be flexible but firm (I know, how oxymoronic) as they straddle that chasm between childhood and adolescence. They may try you, but they're testing themselves ten times as much. The best thing you can do is keep accepting assignments in the same classrooms. They'll either decide to love your presence or realize they have to go with your authority.
     
  4. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Aug 18, 2010

    I, too, started in elementary and switched to secondary. I've found that I can use many elementary strategies for middle school kids. They are closer to elementary mentality than high school. Kids this age, really appreciate a sense of humor, fairness and fun. In middle school, as in elementary, it's advisable to introduce yourself neighboring teachers so you have a place to send that one kid who is setting a tone of rebellion.
     
  5. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    Aug 19, 2010

    Be consistent. The kids talk, so if you're nicer in one class the kids will know in other classes and come up with their own reasons why. I once had a kid tell me that I must have liked the earlier classes better because they were full of the white kids.

    On that note, be fair too. The kid who told me that was smart enough not to just blurt it out, I had to assure her that she wouldn't get in trouble since I was asking her. She was also really polite when she told me. And this school is in a part of town where I wouldn't be surprised if that kind of thing happened.

    Their still little kids, so they need to get a break. But at the same time they're not little kids anymore so they need to be held responsible for their actions.

    Finally, try not to send someone to the office. You don't know what the teacher lets them get away with. Once I took a phone from a kid who turned out to be in special ed. The teacher usually just made him put it away, but I took it up to the office. When stuff goes to the office it can't be taken back (at least that's the mindset you should have). If they're not disturbing the class too much you can let the teacher know or send them to another room. This can always be erased later since the office doesn't have to know about it.

    At the same time, if they're disturbing the class or being overly rude don't be afraid to send them out.

    Finally, I've had some teachers leave in their note to send kids out if they don't do the work. I've always thought this was crazy and didn't do it. If the kid doesn't want to do the work they'll be punished enough with the grade.
     
  6. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Aug 19, 2010

    I think it's all about how you introduce yourself to the students. For me (and my style), I don't slap high-five when they say, "wassup sub!" or some other kind of not respectful behavior. Note I didn't say disrespectful... they try to act cool and are trying to expand their personalities, but they invariably stumble over themselves.

    So getting back to it: I don't interact with kids in any way less than say, what the President of the United States might act... and I don't accept anything less either. (Would kids say, "what's up Prez" if they saw him?)

    And when addressing the class, when the bell rings, I call them to order (i.e. pay attention). And I wait... (usually kids will shush each other down). And I address them... and if people start back talking while I'm going, I stop. And I wait. That's the way I do it. You'll find what works.

    And remember, you want to be calm through everything. Yelling, or threatening, or whatever just makes it more of a headache FOR YOU. Just be calm, cool, collected.
     
  7. teachnfl

    teachnfl Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2010

    What about actual instruction? Can you still have them work in pairs (think-pair-share, buddy work, etc) like at the elementary level or are middle-schoolers more independent? What about review games?
     
  8. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    It really depends. With math I usually let them do it anyway since they'll be able to help each other more than I'll be able to go around the room helping.
     
  9. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Aug 20, 2010

    I only sub in middle school in that which is my first certification. Music (namely band).

    I've done it before... and I don't care for it.

    In general classes, I like 5th and below.
     
  10. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Aug 20, 2010

    Pairs and groups only if their teacher has them well trained in that kind of work. One of my best days subbing middle school was for a teacher that had all her kids trained work in rotating groups throughout very long block periods.

    If a teacher leaves you no sub plans, and the class has a positive vibe, it could be fun to train the kids in a group technique using a fun topic.
     
  11. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Aug 22, 2010

    ONe thing that worked for me with MSers was to promise them some reward time at the end of class if they'd work for me now. And I love MS.
     
  12. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Aug 23, 2010

    I like Middle School. The kids really respond to me -- especially the boys, who love that I don't nag them about every little . thing. Whilst high school kids can be really obnoxious, middle schoolers will behave after a glare or a raised voice. Some of the girls hang around my door after school ends. Maybe they have crushes? That's cute, but I'm not into little girls or girls period lol.
     

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