No Training For Substitutes: What Gives?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Suburban Gal, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,622
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 18, 2005

    I recently added anothe elementary district and just started working for them on the 10th of the month.

    Yesterday, I subbed music for grades K-5th and found myself being overwhelmed with rowdy students in Kindergarten, 3rd, and 5th grade. Not to mention, I finished the This is America, Charlie Brown - The Music and Heroes of America video about 10 to 15 minutes early with 4th and 5th grades. So, I decided to return them early to their classes since they really didn't like the Charlie Brown video and weren't interested in listening to anything I had to say - ESPECIALLY the 5th graders.I figured it was better to return them to their classes and have them do something productive than stay with me since I wasn't told (in the sub plans) what to do if I finished the video early. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that the teachers used the music time as their planning time for the day and that they had to cram it in that 30 or 45 minute block of time otherwise I wouldn't have bothered returning the classes early like I did. Anyhow, what's done is done and when I went in to sub a 1st grade this morning I found myself being dismissed by the school. I was informed that a library aide would be taking my place since she needed something to do for the day and that I shouldn't be dismissing classes early regardless of the fact that I have nothing else to do with them or regardless of the fact that they're giving me lots of grief as a Substitute. Boy, was I sure upset as I left the building.

    I understand districts have certain expectations of us as Substitutes, however, they also have to understand that we don't receive any training like the regular full-time teachers do. The state hands us our certification and that's that. We get no manuals, no training, no nothing. Not to mention, the districts themselves don't give us anything EXCEPT, at best, a Substitute Handbook. Which, IMHO, simply isn't enough.

    My local community college offers an adult education course for Substitutes who want to better themselves and was thinking about taking that course, but am unsure how much it would actually help me as a Substitute. So, I was re-thinking my direction and am considering applying for certifiction to be a Teacher's Aide. I may have better luck with being a TA and hopefully there's more training available to TAs than there is Substitute Teachers.

    States need to do more than just hand out certificates to people with High School, Associate, or Bachelor degrees. And districts need to better understand how ill-prepared and ill-equppied Substitutes are as comapred to the regualr full-time teachers.

    With all that said, I'm very frustrated with the lack of assistance and backing Substutues get in addition to the fact they don't receive any training like the regular full-time teachers do. Are there any other Substitutes out there who feel similarly and would like to see Substitutes get more respect and more training?
     
  2.  
  3. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,809
    Likes Received:
    190

    Nov 18, 2005

    I guess it depends on the state's requirements. Some schools are very supportive of their subs and their work. Then there are the others.

    I would like to see more respect for subs.... I know a few times I subbed for a teacher who left a mountain of work she didn't get done and wanted me too.

    I haven't ever brought any classes back early because I know it's a planning time. Maybe you should search this forum for games or things to do.

    I know videos are tough especially if they aren't age appropriate, but maybe you could have asked questions or played a game of some sort.

    It's a tough job, but I think very rewarding for those of us going into education!!!
     
  4. earthmommy2003

    earthmommy2003 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 18, 2005

    It's very important to CYA. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (Did I mention NEVER!!?) do anything you're unsure of without asking someone, especially when it has to do with the children's safety and whereabouts. Those students went back to classrooms that didn't have teachers. They went back unsupervised (because if you'd been with them you'd have known that the teachers weren't there). ANYTHING could have happened to them in the time it took to get from your classroom to their classrooms since no one knew they were coming. Sorry, but with or without a handbook, that's a BAD idea.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2005
  5. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,008
    Likes Received:
    152

    Nov 18, 2005

    I agree that in some districts there is NO support whatsoever for the subs. In one of the districs that I sub for, all you have to be is 18 and breathing to be a sub. Oh and did I mention that the breathing part doesnt mean you have to be breathing all the time. When I started subbing we went to a training for about 3 hours. Did that help me in the classroom? NO I went to another training recently for a new district and did it have anything to do with our day in the classroom? No, we learned how to use the subfinder system and filled out paperwork and got our id's. For the first few years of subbing I was pretty much on my own to learn things about how a good sub handles their classroom. You are right that subs should have more training. If we had more training maybe the kids would be less disrespectful.
     
  6. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 18, 2005

    Educator - I read your post and did not see anything about your background. So, I'm not sure what classroom teacher training you have had or what previous experiences you have had as a teacher. Do you have a degree in education - or are you one of the substitute teachers who has a bachelors degree in some other area and the schools hired you anyway? Have you been a teacher in the past - or is subbing your first classroom experience?

    It might help to know this so that we know where you are coming from.

    I am currently a substitute teacher. I have a degree in elementary education. I have been an elementary school teacher. I had these experiences before I began subbing. I knew how to read lesson plans, classroom routines, how to handle behavior problems, etc.

    I still have some problems when I ask for help from the school's administration. Just today I was at a junior high and one young man was acting out. I talked to him - then gave him a stern warning. He acted out again, so I followed through and did what I said would happen - I sent him to the office. As he headed out the door, I called the office on the telephone. The secretary asked for the name of the student. When I told her his name, she immediately knew what had happened. A bit later, the principal came back to the classroom to ask what had happened. I told him. The principal said that this was a repeated issue with this student, thinking that he could act up for a substitute teacher. He lectured the student about his behavior and told him that he would have a detention because of his lack of self-control. I was very satisfied with the school backing me up in my position as a substitute.

    I have had two inicidents at different high schools where the students were out of control. I made it through the day at each of them. But, I have "written them off" my list of schools where I will substitute teach.

    If the school does not respect me and my job, I will not return. There are other schools where I can work - and have a fun, interesting, satisfying day.
     
  7. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,622
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 18, 2005

    :eek:
    Actually, you're wrong! The 4th graders returned to a classroom where the teacher was there - just on the computer - and the 5th graders returned to a classroom where there was no teacher, but stayed with them anyhow. I didn't feel comfortable leaving them alone and after speaking to their teacher in the hallway as she was passing between rooms assured her I'd stay with them until she fully returned to teach her class. I even escorted both classes back to their classrooms myself. So please don't make assumptions before asking additional questions and gathering all the facts.

    And it's NOT a bad idea if I walked back with the students each time and even stayed with one of the classes until their teacher could return to resume their day.

    I'd also like to add that the teachers didn't tell me to take the classes back either.

    Sorry. But, I did outline my backgorund in my initial introductory post, which can be found here.

    I agree and I don't return to schools that respect me either. Like you said, there's plenty of other schools out there to sub at where you can be respected and i'd rather work at those than one I'm not respected at.

    I just recently 'wrote" off a community school district myself because I found myself without any backing with out of control students. I hated to do it, but it had to be done.

    Seems like you and I are so alike in this respect. :)
     
  8. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 18, 2005

    Educator - I went back and read your initial introduction. OK, so your college background is not in education. What are your thoughts now about the school where you subbed for music? Do you really want to return there, or not? If you want to go back, maybe you could speak with the principal and explain what happened - and that you would like a second chance. If s/he agrees, the principal could explain their policies/procedures.
     
  9. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,622
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 18, 2005

    I like this elementary district and the school is a really nice school. I'd hate to stop subbing, especially since they're really close to me. Most of what I do is a distance from me so I had really lucked out distance wise.

    The lady who spoke to me said that I needed to hold on to the classes in the future so I don't think they're taking me off the sub list completely. Then again, who knows. I guess I'll just have to wait and see if they even call me again.
     
  10. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 18, 2005

    If they don't call you, give them a call and tell them that you'd like to return there. We are in the cold/flu season and schools will be searching for substitute teachers.
     
  11. 2ndTimeArnd

    2ndTimeArnd Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 19, 2005

    Educator4Life, I agree with others who comment that a sub in a specials subject should never return students back to their classroom until they are supposed to. I can understand why the school administrators weren't happy with your decision. I am a classroom teacher now but subbed before that, and I always went prepared with extra work for early finishers - such as read-alouds, word searches, puzzles, whatever. Even if the teachers were in the classroom, or "just on the computer" as you note, they do rely on that planning time and must have been quite surprised to see their students returning 15 minutes early.
    While it is true that more training and support would be nice for subs, many districts are in a financial pinch and sub training is, sadly, far down on their list. My teaching partner was gone last week for 3 days and I had to literally pull her sub through the daily program ... she never came early enough to read lesson plans and prepare, never brought any extra read-alouds or her own ideas to help make the day go smoother. She left no communication for the classroom teacher and didn't even have the courtesy to thank me for my help before she left. I, other teachers and our principal all noted that ... and we likely will put her on the list of subs we prefer to not have back in the school. I realize subs don't get top pay, but it's their job to handle the classroom for that day, even if it involves having a few activities in their back pocket when work gets finished.
     
  12. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,809
    Likes Received:
    190

    Nov 19, 2005

    Din,
    I agree w/ you. You need to come with your own games, activities or something!! There's plenty on the internet. I would bring word searches, pictures to color (which even older kids like to do). If I didn't have something ask another teacher for something!!!
     
  13. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,622
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 19, 2005

    This is easy for someone like GlendaLL who's also a cerified and trained teacher because she can walk into a classroom and have better control than I can and can better keep them occupied if there's any time left over. Plus, she can commander better respect for herself because she's an ACTUAL teacher. I'm just a nobody without an education degree and no "real" classroom experience. The kids do pick up on that and know exactly what buttons they need to push in order to cause trouble and coast through the day with their Substitute.

    I've met subs like GlendaLL and have spoken to them and just after 10 or 15 minutes of speaking to them can tell it's far different inside a classroom than it is for someone like me simply because of the fact they have education degrees and have the proper training necessary to make things go a lot smoother than I ever could.

    I already have a 50 LB sub pack (bag) with everything I could possibly need from ballpoint pens to scissors and can't really add anything else to it like word search books. Pus, I teach K-12 on any given day and since it's such a wide age range it's a lot harder to keep a sub pack with age appropriate things of an extracurricular nature.

    I'm also afraid to deviate from the lesson plans because I know many teachers don't like it. Not to mention, I'm always worrying whether or not a teacher will approve of the extracurricular activity. I'm just not savvy enough like GlendaLL to know what really is and isn't age appropriate since I never took any education courses or had to student teach and go over and give out age appropriate extracurricular activities to fill left over class time.

    And I don't care what ANYONE says because it'll always be different for someone like GlendaLL versus someone like me. Always.

    The only education course I've ever had was Introduction To Teaching and that really doesn't help me much so I've been looking through the local community college's catalog under the education courses and see that they're offering EDU 122 (Observation/Clkinical Experience in Education) for anyone who's thinking of becoming a teacher. You learn classroom management, effective teaching methods, and learning styles. They require a minimum of 30 clock hours in the public/private school classroom where supervision is monitored by a co-operating teacher and college supervisor. I'm thinking that I may be able to work my subbing into that somehow and figure the class can only serve to help me, not hinder me. Plus, I can put something like this on my résumé.
     
  14. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,008
    Likes Received:
    152

    Nov 19, 2005

    I do have to say you are right Educator, as a former untrained, uncertified teacher, I can see the difference my training has brought to my "classrooms" as s substitute teacher. Now I know that they are going to behave differntly when I am there and I have learned to either roll with the punches or go home and tell my kids IF I ever hear of them treating a sub as I was treated that day I am going to ground them till they are married.
     
  15. earthmommy2003

    earthmommy2003 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 19, 2005

    "Technically" I'm untrained, but I'm a parent of 7 children. You have to know how to work with groups of kids... no doubt about it. I have to say though, that I've met a multitude of teachers, who've never dealt with groups of children, who, coming straight out of their TC programs, had the same problem. Part of being a teacher is finding the information for yourself. You have to utilize resources available to you. The internet is a great place to find information. Also, B&N gives an educator discount. So you can purchase material there. I brushed up by reading the Dummies books, your 1st year, etc. I also highly recommend http://www.kidsareworthit.com/books.html get the video "Winning at Teaching Without Beating Your Kids" HTH.
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,846
    Likes Received:
    149

    Nov 19, 2005

    Educator4Life, I partly agree w/ you. These teachers don't seem to understand that they need to leave extra things in case there's extra time at the end. But I personally wouldn't have taken them back quite so soon...maybe 5 minutes at the most (because all the clocks on the campus probably aren't set at the exact same time on the dot, so if you end 5 minutes early, it's more believeable to say, "My clock showed that it was time to end"). I've subbed for 6 yrs & I'm surprised that so many of these teachers don't have the common sense to leave extra work (no offense to anyone). I mean the teacher should really try to see it from a sub's side. They should be asking themselves, "If I was the sub in this class & I finished teaching the lesson earlier than expected, what else can I have them do?" That's why I always bring my own worksheets that takes a pretty good length of time for the kids to do, but that they can do on their own (otherwise, they'll all be raising their hand every second for help or just give up & misbehave becase it's too hard). Word searches are great, most kids love them & it takes a while to complete.

    If I were you, I'd bring my own worksheets from now on that pertain to the type of class you'll be subbing for, so when you have that extra time to kill, bring them out so the kids are occupied & you can just supervise. After the time is up, you can tell them to just take them home or collect them & throw them in the trash if you want. The main point is that this is just a solution to kill that time!
     
  17. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,622
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 19, 2005

    I've already had the experience because I worked at a KinderCare several years ago for a couple of months.

    I looked into that and for some reason I can't think of right now it isn't someting that I can do.
     
  18. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 19, 2005

    For the B&N discount you probably need to show your membership to your state's teacher association which would require you to have a full-time position in a school. I'm just guessing....that's the reason I can't get the teacher's discounts at Staples, because I'm licensed, but don't have a position yet so I'm not part of the teacher's association.
     
  19. gigi

    gigi Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,346
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 19, 2005

    The school I sub at consistently for knew me from my work at a private K school. Thankfully, being a certified teacher myself, I could read the lessons plans and had packed a bag with extras, even though I didn't know what the classes were doing. I just packed seasonal things. There was another school I subbed for that called subs "guest teachers." Before school began there was a day long seminar, making everyone familiar with emergency drills, location of nurses office, etc. It was great.
     
  20. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 20, 2005

    Most teachers get their education and experience before being responsible for a classroom full of students. Educator, you are definitely doing it the hard way - getting thrown in where you either sink or swim. Take it a day at a time and do your best. At the end of the day, sit back and think about how things went - both the good and the bad. Remember the good and what you did to make it that way. Think about the bad and consider how you could have made it better. Have a positive attitude - you are NOT a nobody!!! Give yourself some time and things will get easier for you. The observation/clinical experience class sounds like something that could be helpful to you.

    There are several experienced substitute teachers on this forum. At the end of the day, you can come here and tell about your triumphs and troubles and get some helpful feedback.
     
  21. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Messages:
    6,699
    Likes Received:
    66

    Nov 20, 2005

    Often times my planning times is spent on the comptuer, pulling activities from our state curriculum, typing lesson plans, entering grades, looking for activities online, etc. I subbed in a music class several times (once they figured out I could play the piano and read music I was their choice...lucky me!) behavior was always an issue and time. The more experience you have, the more prepared you are to deal with that extra time. When we finished early we practied certain songs again, or if there was an extreme amount of time left over I took the kids outside and played games with them. Good luck!
     
  22. Hnana

    Hnana Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 20, 2005

    Boy, have y'all covered a lot with this post! Back to the original question: I went to two days of sub training. They talked about how to make a "difference" in a child's life. (This is impossible for a sub who comes one day and is gone.) Training should cover how to control unruly teenagers, how to lead discussions, and prepare you for the list of regular tricks kids play on subs. I am still trying to figure out all of these little things. I have finally accepted that they are not (high schoolers esp.) going to listen to anything I think is interesting and no matter how much I might love the subject I am supposidly teaching, it will not rub off with a one day sub assignement. (Sorry if I sound negative but I sometimes take it all to heart and try way to hard to make them listen and pay attention.)
    As for worksheets--throw all of them away and think of something else to keep them busy. Find a game, make up a creative writing assignment, read a book to them. Teachers prepare for a sub by copying lots of worksheets to keep the kids busy. Another worksheet from me is not going to make any kid happy.
    Even with that said, my sub pack weights about 30 pounds, and don't know why???
     
  23. gigi

    gigi Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,346
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 21, 2005

    I subbed in third grade one day, and we had indoor recess due to a rain storm. The kids were itchy, so I took out my Dr. Jean CD, and we played Tooty-Ta! They loved it. Just pack a bag with lots of extras and improvise.
     
  24. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 21, 2005

    Educator - I am subbing in a science classroom today at a high school. When I told my husband that I accepted this job for the day, he said, "Why did you do THAT??" I had recently been in a science classroom at another high school and had a horrible day. Today is going just fine! You just never know what you're getting into each day! Sometimes roses, sometimes stinkweed! Take it one day at a time.
     
  25. daysy_may

    daysy_may Groupie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,258
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 21, 2005

    Glendall, how did the rest of your day go?
     
  26. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 21, 2005

    Easy day today!! I showed a video to the three physics classes and passed out worksheets to the various chemistry classes. This is a relatively small school and the students (mostly) were well-behaved. My husband asked how things went for me as soon as he got home. I think he was relieved that it went OK - and I was not a BEAR for the evening!

    I told hubby that I was finished when the final bell rang. So, I walked out of the school with the high school students. When I got to the parking lot, it was a bit WILD with all of those students racing to get out of there!! I felt like I was Kathy Bates in that movie (Was it "Fried Green Tomatoes?") where she was cut off by some pretty young girls in the parking lot. They told Kathy Bates that they were prettier and faster - so, Kathy Bates rammed their car and said, "I'm older and have more insurance!" That's just how I felt in the high school parking lot!!! :) I got right out there with the rest of them - but, I did NOT ram my car into anyone else's!
     
  27. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Messages:
    1,120
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 26, 2005

    I have been subbing for a year and you know what makes it much easier? When schools have school wide discipline policies because when a students refuse to do their work or talk out or don't follow directions, all the sub has to do is warn them that they are breaking a specific rule and the student knows what will follow if he or she doesn't straighten-up. Then follow through with the punishment. The district I sub for gives red marks in their data folders for various infractions. Once I had to give this BIG bully girl a red mark for not doing her work but she would not give me her data folder no matter how many times I told her to. So I said to her, either you are going to give me the book (she was sitting on it) or I will call in the principal and he will get it from you. She handed it to me started crying. That girl and I are buddies now :)
    I have subbed middle and high school and I have had some bad days in the beginning, but the key is to stay calm and in control always. Of course I am not calm inside, but I "appear" to be. Also, let them know your rules up front (write on the board.
    I always leave detailed letters for the teachers I am subbing for and let them know what students were problems and which students are on the "angels" list. THis is beneficial if you are often at the same school like I am.
     
  28. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 26, 2005

    katerina - The school wide discipline policy sounds like a GREAT idea! It would be more consistent for the students and easier for the substitute teachers. I wish the schools around here did that!
     
  29. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Messages:
    1,120
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 26, 2005

    Yes, I love the school wide policy (actually, it's district wide). I have subbed just a few times is another district that does NOt have such a discipline plan and I hate it!
     
  30. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Messages:
    7,630
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 26, 2005

    That is a great concept. Not only would that be helpful to subs, but also to students who may move around in a district. The discipline policy is consistent no matter where the child goes to school. I think more school districts should adopt a policy like that.
     
  31. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Messages:
    1,120
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 27, 2005

    I do too. Also on the walls in every room and in the halls are big posters "Why are you here today?" and "Who is responsible for your behavior?" This makes the child more responsible for his life at school.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 353 (members: 1, guests: 333, robots: 19)
test