New Sub and Terrified of Going to Work

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Jammy, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Nov 3, 2019

    Hello everyone I'm just looking for some advice on how to calm my nerves about going to work. I just started and I have had some pretty difficult late assignments already to the point that after my most recent difficult day of subbing last Thursday I called in sick Friday and have spent my entire weekend feeling terribly anxious about going back tomorrow. The majority of why things have not gone well for me is due to my inexperience but I've also had the bad luck of only getting late calls so hardly any lesson plans to go by and dealing with really rude school staff. The actual students are not my biggest issue so I am not scared or intimidated by them but I just feel like I'm doing a really bad job no matter how much I try to prepare. Does anyone have advice on how to calm myself and relax?
     
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  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Nov 5, 2019

    It actually sounds to me like you're doing a great job already. Here's why.

    1. You are concerned that you do an adequate job. You're not just in it for the pay check.

    2. You are concerned about social relationships between you and the staff. The ice you experience is more than likely not because of you. The staff has an entire new day at school on their mind and aren't currently in the mood for a meet-and-greet session. The key is, rather than them being there for you, you are there for them. They might be Lucy, but you are not Charlie Brown. You are Linus, a friend to everyone.

    3. You are comfortable with the students. Gigantic plus!!!!!!!!

    4. You are making mistakes. Yes, that is a plus. It shows you are not an android. You are better. "Oops" is a much better programming language than anything Apple can devise. Our brains run on trial and error. Our brains operate on experience: experience results in a strength stronger than any robot will ever achieve.

    I'll never forget my first subbing experience. A high school shop class with the exact same lesson plan the students had done before (and before that and before that...). It was SCARY!!! But I survived. Then not long after that, I taught a high school period with The Zoo (the teachers' nickname for that class). My former high school teacher, after it was (finally) over, told me not to worry about it. Needless to say, that 45 minutes felt worse than being in a lion's den. But I survived. And each time, I learned. And improved. Not long after that, there were schools that called me first above other subs. One secretary called and my Mom answered and informed I was already at another school. The secretary replied, "Oh, darn! We want him here!"

    5. Tips. I like having a sub file in my room of emergency lesson plans. However....most teachers don't have such. So...be ready. Have a book suitable for any grade. For older kids, a book of short stories is a good idea. Or a novel to spark their interest in finishing on their own. O. Henry is a possibility for short stories. Following district rules concerning copyrights, a DVD can come in handy. I'm not a big fan of videotizing kids, but sometimes, it helps. I might recommend Shari Lewis, Mr. Rogers, or Blue's Clues. I'd be cautious to avoid controversy in both books or videos; avoid bad words or other stuff that a parent or two might find objectionable. Also, be prepared with a lesson that includes some type of class activity, a worksheet, a craft, a quiet game, etc. Keep the lesson simple since you're coming in cold to the class.
     
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  4. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2019

    Thank you so much for all of this! I had prepared worksheets and books before but I struggled with what kind of lesson plans I should prepare and you're right simple is better. I'm a sensitive person so I'll learn to develop a thicker skin when it comes to school staff and not let it get to me. I hope I will improve in the future.
     
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  5. artiste7

    artiste7 Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2019

    Not sure what state you are in, but unless you are long-term, there are supposed to be sub plans left. Even it is an emergency sub folder. If I had to go to work with nothing left to work with, I would be a nervous wreck also.
    If you can try getting assignments through an app if allowed, or somehow find other schools that are more organized, you will probably feel better about going to work. It's enough to go into a different setting almost daily, not knowing what to expect (which is part of the job), but quite another to be expected to bring in assignments and other things that may or may not work for the population of students in a given classroom setting. In a pinch, I have gone online to find writing prompts appropriate for the grade level if needed, or coming in, have the class do silent reading until I can get plans, but to have none is not acceptable. All the best!
    A7
     
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  6. artiste7

    artiste7 Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2019

     
  7. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2019

    Oh I should clarify that what I meant by "hardly any lesson plans to go by" is that whether it's a late assignment or early one the teachers I've subbed for usually email someone at the school their lesson plans for the sub but I wouldn't receive them until practically halfway through the day or maybe not even at all had a TA in the class not helped me and gone to find out if the teacher had emailed one or not. I had some other common issues that I'm sure any sub encounters like having a lesson plan that wasn't clear or being instructed to teach something I didn't feel I was capable of doing properly.
    I can laugh about this now but I had one incident in which the lesson plan stated the class would do two rotations of group work based off a chart they had posted on the whiteboard. So the assignments were on the board and group numbers were attached to magnets so they could rotate the group work however, the teacher only named students in the lesson plan who could help me properly assign work to groups using the chart but imagine my surprise when none of the students could agree what was the write order of groups and some groups immediately went to work on some assignments, other students started working independently, and I basically had no idea what to do with the remaining students who didn't know what to work on so I gave them pretty much an hour of independent work time so they can just find anything to work on. So yeah that was my inexperience in not being able to figure something out.
    I also had another job in which I found the teacher's substitute folder that had a generic lesson plan outline that I was able to follow somewhat except when I got the day's science lesson that was supposed to take up an hour and the lesson plan said the science worksheets and lesson were in a science folder. Of course when I open up the science folder it was empty luckily I love science so I had some powerpoints ready and was able to give a makeshift lesson to fill up the time.
    Anyways I went back to work and I have had a much better time now!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  8. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2019

    Hello! I just wanted to thank you for your supportive message it really helped me a lot in fact I am even being requested by schools and teachers now so I feel like I have improved so much from my earlier experiences. I just wanted to let you know you really left an impact on me :blush:
     
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  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Dec 4, 2019

    When I subbed in one district there were 4 schools that I worked in. I technically could have opted not to work in a particular school if I didn't feel I would be happy working there. There was one school that I thought would be horrible but after I got some experience I got more comfortable working there. I think you should just keep doing your best and once they get to know you things will go more smoothly. Give yourself a break and don't be so hard on yourself.
     
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  10. Jammy

    Jammy Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2019

    Thank you so much for your kind words and I agree I think with more experience I grew more confident and started doing better and not as anxious to go to work as much anymore so I will continue to work hard and improve.
     
  11. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Dec 4, 2019

    Jammy,

    When you check in at a school, ask where you'll find the lesson plans. If they tell you in the classroom, look right away and if you don't find them go back to the office and insist that you need the plans BEFORE you can begin class. Don't let a single student enter the room until you get the plans. Don't let them stick you in a room with no plans until much later in the day. If there are no plans, the principal or designee should tell you how to proceed -- such as get you a copy of another teacher's plans for the same subject, or tell you to show a video (and give you the approved video) or tell you point blank that you are on your own, in which case they can't complain if there are parent complaints.

    It isn't acceptable on their part to send you to the room and allow students to enter without plans in your hand. Unless you are a long-term sub, it is THEIR responsibility to work that out.
     
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  12. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Dec 20, 2019

    Like Pat Benator said, teaching is a battlefield. Act like you own the classroom, like you know all the material, and you will slay!
     
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