Please Follow my Plans

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MrsC, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,933
    Likes Received:
    1,755

    Apr 28, 2011

    Please, please, please respect the fact that I make decisions about my class for a reason. I was out at a technology training session yesterday afternoon and left detailed plans for my sub. The first item was, "Students should read the attached article; they may read on their own, with a partner or a in group of three." This was interpreted as, "Have students read the attached article aloud. Walk around the room and tap random students on the shoulder to indicate that it is their turn to read." I never (ever, ever, ever) do this--one third of my class wouldn't be able to read the material aloud, but they can be successful by doing the work the way I asked. My Educational Assistant stepped in just before the sub tapped my selective mute, ELL student; we have made great gains with him and this would have set him back several months. It makes me angry when things like this happen.
     
  2.  
  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 28, 2011

    I'm glad that you had an educational assistant. It's hard when you are out to make sure that your routines are followed. I must say that more substitutes are following plans and doing a better job with the number of certified teachers on the list.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,933
    Likes Received:
    1,755

    Apr 28, 2011

    I was lucky that it was a day I had the assistant. (All of our subs are qualified teachers--this one was a retired teacher).
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 28, 2011

    To be perfectly honest, we are collecting a growing number of duds. It's quite frustrating. I feel you...
     
  6. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 28, 2011

    Have students read the attached article...

    That's probably all the sub read for that section. People are selective that way. It's actually kind of interesting to be honest. They just assume everything after that is of no value and bloat.

    I'm glad you had someone step in though. ;)
     
  7. Major

    Major Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    5

    Apr 28, 2011

    MrsC, many "subs" are really outstanding "guest teachers." I consider myself in that category. Sorry you got a dud.......:hugs:
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Apr 28, 2011

    You're making me nervous! I have a sub tomorrow. I spent HOURS making plans for him/her. The only other time I've had subs they have been people I knew personally outside of the school system. I see subs at my school and most are absolute duds. Tomorrow is test day for me. I hope my plans are simple enough to follow!
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,596
    Likes Received:
    1,499

    Apr 28, 2011

    I had a REAL dud recently who told my children that the reason she wasn't subbing at "A" school anymore was because she had killed one of the students.
    I received quite a few interesting parent calls after that!
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,956
    Likes Received:
    2,108

    Apr 28, 2011

    You can guest teach for me any time!:love:
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,933
    Likes Received:
    1,755

    Apr 28, 2011

    Or for me, Major!

    The majority of our subs are fabulous and I have the utmost respect for them. I do get my "back up" though, when the plans that I take so much time to write are disregarded and the sub decides to do things a "better way".
     
  12. Major

    Major Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    5

    Apr 28, 2011

    I would do that anytime, cza....... unless of course you have any little "Tony Sopranos" for 3rd graders....... In that case you would owe me a couple of margaritas after school....... :lol::lol::hugs:
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,956
    Likes Received:
    2,108

    Apr 28, 2011

    Oh, I've got some challenges, but none you couldn't handle!
     
  14. Southernese

    Southernese Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 28, 2011

    I don't know, I kind of have a different philosophy. I always kind of assumed that the subs would put their own spin on things. In fact, I never specified how they should cover the material. I just trusted them to do their thing.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Apr 28, 2011

    This is why I avoid being absent from school--- we have good subs, but they don't know my students or my class.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,933
    Likes Received:
    1,755

    Apr 28, 2011

    I include the "how" when it's important for my students--for my group, being tapped on the shoulder and being asked to read aloud in front of the class is not an appropriate strategy. I'm no where near being a control freak, but I know what works with my group and what doesn't.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,956
    Likes Received:
    2,108

    Apr 28, 2011

    :help:
    The 'how' is always important...we have great subs who I trust implicitly but even they thank me for my very thorough plans. I leave post its in books, what to say, what to write on the board...sure, a sub can and should help kids understand WITHIN THE PARAMETERS I have delineated in my plans. If I say I want kids measuring to the nearest inch, I don't want a sub deciding some of my kids are bright enough to do fractional parts of inches ( I've had this happen,but that sub hasn't been invited back to my classroom). there are plenty of posts by subs who get scant plans, or no plans...in such cases, by all means gather some materials from grade level colleagues and put a spin on it...but when plans are left, FOLLOW THEM.
     
  18. husker_blitz

    husker_blitz Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 28, 2011

    We have a pretty frequent subs and I'm gone about once a week for track meets. I leave pretty detailed plans (at least they almost always write that on their notes at the end of the day) and they seem to follow them really good. But I also trust them since I know them (they are retired teachers for the most part) to make some tweaks if they feel necessary.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 28, 2011

    I don't write a script or anything close to it, but when I come back to an untouched stack of copies on my desk and my students inform me the sub declared it a Silent Reading Day, and there are no notes whatsoever left to explain why my plans were abandoned...well, that made me quite furious.
     
  20. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,274
    Likes Received:
    38

    Apr 28, 2011

    I strongly dislike being out! Too many bad experiences with subs. I was out for several days due to a death in the family. I left very detailed lesson plans. Left everything on my desk. I mean EVERYTHING that the sub would need. She moved everything off of my desk, turned around to my shelves and used the copies for the week I came back. GRRR. . .my kids told me that they didn't understand anything she *taught* them. Um, of course not, she skipped a week's worth of lessons. It resulted in my having to do a lot of reteaching.

    Since then, and it was several years ago, I leave detailed lesson plans, but it is mostly review work. I don't want it to be a wasted day, but I do need my routines and procedures followed, and learning to happen.
     
  21. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 28, 2011

    We have a lot of subs that are not trained/certified teachers! Very frustrating at times. Some of my favorites....
    1. Sub uses all of my tape (scotch and masking) to make a tape ball. Spends entire day throwing the ball to one student who then returned the tape ball to him and he repeated the process with a different student. He told them war stories all day while throwing the tape ball.
    2. Sub takes off artificial leg and passes it around the first grade room so each student can touch it. Principal received many calls from parents and asked the sub not to do it again. Sub returns to teach music the next week and passes it around to every class he saw that day.
    3. Sub leaves my room 4 times and goes upstairs to peak into his daughter's class. There was a restraining order stating he was not to be within 500 feet of the girl or her mother. Lovely!

    I could tell so many other stories, but I must get to bed. Good night!
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,365
    Likes Received:
    1,507

    Apr 28, 2011

    Reading the sub instructions are important enough in any classroom, but in a Special Education classroom it is crucial. Each student has specific needs that are (hopefully) listed in the notes. Even if they aren't, the lesson plans are structured in a certain way for a reason. There's no need to leave a bunch of IEPs as long as the lesson plans give the sub the essentials for a successful, calm day.
     
  23. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,308
    Likes Received:
    1,287

    Apr 28, 2011

    Oh, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does this. I hope I don't insult the sub when I write things such as: "Please say the following few sentences before beginning the attached lesson..." or "Please have the students echo read the story with you. Echo read means that you read each page and the students read that same page after you."

    I like my classroom to run like a well-oiled machine (and it sounds like you do, too, Czacza)! :thumb:
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Apr 28, 2011

    Are you speaking specifically about when you have subs in your college classes? (I think your info says you're a college professor.) I think it might be a lot easier for adult learners to adapt to a sub's new or different style than it would be for a younger student, particularly a student with special needs.

    Besides that, the unfortunate fact is that not all subs are qualified to "put their own spin on things". In many districts, all that is required to get a sub license is a high school diploma or maybe a handful of college credits. Without the right kind of knowledge and skill, a sub "putting his own spin on things" could end up doing a lot more harm than good, as what could have happened in MrsC's classroom. With a more specialized subject, like a foreign language or upper level math class or something, the sub may not have the content knowledge to be able to do any sort of spinning.

    I agree with others that if the teacher has made an effort to leave complete and detailed plans, it's for a purpose and the sub needs to follow them.
     
  25. Southernese

    Southernese Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    I used to teach high school, so I was thinking of my experiences then. If I'm out for my college classes, we just cancel them.

    I guess maybe I was spoiled with good subs, but I developed the mindset that wasn't going to try to run the class if I wasn't physically there. I figure subs are creative people too, and they would be more effective using their own methods instead of mine.
     
  26. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    IF I have to be gone for a day, I leave things that require no teaching. Really, like press play on an audio book, pass out the questions that go with the story. Press play on a video, pass out paper that gives a writing assignment to go with it.

    I've had good subs and bad, but I don't rely on anyone to actually GIVE information when I'm out.
     
  27. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    90% good

    90% of my subs have been good, but when they're bad, they're bad. The worst one I had fell asleep on my desk - she did give out to work though - and the kids actually thought she died because she moved so little. They drew straws to see who would poke her at the end of class.

    I leave review work or work that can be done individually by my students when I'm gone, and if I know I'm going to be out, I write it on the board. My kids know that if it's on the board, it needs to be done. If they see nothing on the board, they know either it was an emergency or the sub erased it.
     
  28. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    1,056

    Apr 29, 2011

    As a sub, I always like it when the teacher leaves me things to teach. Most of the times it's review, so I can still turn into re-teaching, incorporate group work, partner work, use a lot of engagement techniques i learned, so it can be a good day for the students.
    I hate it when they leave me meaningless stuff, fill out worksheets, silent read, etc. I know the teacher has no clue who the sub will be for that day, and that sub may be incompetent to do anything, so the teacher wants to play it safe. I don't blame them. But on these days there are more behavior problems, because the students can also tell that what they're doing is not important, it's just killing time.

    And then sometimes, I get to teach new stuff. I love it! I can definitely handle it, I have to read the whole lesson beforehand, so I will know what I'll be talking about, but it's so worth it. The other day I was in a 6th grade math-science room. In math all we did was correct last night's homework, then start on that day's homework. I had no problems because it's a good school, but if it wasn't, I could have had a hard time. In science class, I was to move on to the next section, about volcanoes.
    I read the text, made a lesson plan and followed it. The teacher only asked for having the students read 5 pages, and have homework assigned. I changed to include activating their background knowledge, discussions, partner read sections by section, think-pair-share, and take notes throughout the class. It was awesome, the students were engaged, and learned something.
    I left all the plans and notes for the teacher to see what we did and how far we got.

    I think, if a teacher leaves something new to be taught, and the sub can't successfully teach it, it's still not anything worse as if the teacher just assigned meaningless stuff. So it's worth to take that 'risk'.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Apr 29, 2011

    Oh, it's definitely worse to have to re-teach and get students to un-learn something than it is to teach them the correct thing from the beginning. For me it's not at all worth the risk.
     
  30. mb_teacher

    mb_teacher Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    That is hysterical...about the kids poking her. too funny...but also scary that the students were for all intents and purposes left unattended.

    The times I had to be out, I left specific instructions, including who my best helpers were and who would be honest about what was required of them. The subs said they loved them because they were easy to follow.
    I'd much rather have you tell me what the kids will expect. I know that they will do better when they know the routine.
     
  31. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    1,056

    Apr 29, 2011

    Yes, I could see that with math or physical science. But what about history, English or earth / life science? If the textbook is right there, and all the sub has to do is really just read it and find a way to explain it to the kids.... is it really that hard? Maybe I'm just naive about this, but I don't think it's all that hard. Of course I have no experience in being a teacher, leaving plans and find out that the sub messed it all up. I'm just looking at it from the sub's point of view :)
    Do you have any stories to tell about this? I'd love to hear it! :)


    Actually I have one story, that I heard from reliable sources (AP, secretary and next-door teacher). The teacher left simple, but detailed plans for the sub, for a newcomer class. This class can be rowdy and you must take control, but they will listen - eventually- and do what you ask them to do. The sub came in, put the plan on the docucam, and told the kids to do it. Of course they could not understand, because it wouldn't make sense to a student. The sub set there, the kids went wild. Towards the end of the class he called the office asked for the AP to come in. As soon as she walked in, he took off without saying anything :)) Maybe he's the reason teachers are reluctant to have subs teach :))
     
  32. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,365
    Likes Received:
    1,507

    Apr 29, 2011

    I can only remember one time when a teacher specifically told me to cover the material in any way I pleased. It was a middle school GATE class where I had been often and knew the routine and kids. She had observed my work previously and was one of my references on my resume. It still scared me to death to wing it after years of following lesson plans to the letter.

    I cannot imagine taking lesson plans and throwing pieces of them out the window, especially in a classroom with exceptional learners.
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,706
    Likes Received:
    1,122

    Apr 29, 2011

    Any subject matter that can be taught can be mistaught, and HAS been mistaught, trust me: a good deal of the time I spend working with adults on subject matter goes to clearing up the damage from things they were taught that range from missed interpretations to wholesale fabrications, and the "soft side" (as I suspect you regard it) of the curriculum is even more vulnerable to misteaching when misplaced confidence combines with desperation to lead to bad shortcuts.
     
  34. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Apr 29, 2011

    I teach a foreign language. One of the grammar topics we cover is the use of subjects in a sentence. Most of my students recognize the word "subject" and believe that they can define it, based on their prior experiences in school and in life. They almost always define a subject of a sentence as "what the sentence is about". That's totally true in many settings and contexts. What's the subject of this play? Well, it's about blah blah blah. You get what I mean.

    The thing is, when we're talking grammar, the subject doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what the sentence is about. The subject is most simply defined as the person or thing that performs the action of the verb. You could say something like, "Two weeks ago I read a book about bees." If you ask students what the subject of that sentence is, a whole bunch of them will say that the subject is a book about bees. The subject is really "I".

    It can be a difficult concept for students with a weak background in grammar. I work very hard to help them learn, and in many cases re-learn, the rules of grammar. If a sub walks in, sees that my activity says something about "identify the subject..." and then proceeds to teach them the "other" stuff about what a subject is, or allows them to carry on with their inaccurate definition of what a subject is, my whole lesson is shot.

    That might sound like a small thing, but it's a huge, enormous deal when it comes to learning a foreign language, especially mine, which is intensely heavy on the grammar.
     
  35. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    When I first started teaching I was told by my AP that I should expect a sub to teach so I would leave detail lessons about topic and work. I realized that many subs I would get were not comfortable teaching middle school math and would often leave me notes complaining about it.

    Now, I just leave busy work that students can do and for the most part this works great with subs.
     
  36. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    776

    Apr 29, 2011

    I don't get a sub if I'm gone. My P says when they tried having subs for my position in the past they'd just end up in the office all day asking a million questions on who they were supposed to be with, where different classrooms were, and what they were supposed to be doing. I guess that makes sense. Since I have service hours that legally must be met, that means I have to purposely over-schedule students for pull out times to make up for times when I have meetings or am out for trainings and other things. That part is kind of frustrating.

    Last year when I was student teaching I saw some subs do some pretty interesting things. The last half of the year I was in an inclusion setting where I spent much of my time in the gen. ed teacher's room. One day the gen. ed. teacher had a sub and the lady brought her cat with her and let it roam around the room. Another time she was leaving half day so she was there when the sub arrived to look at the plans. The sub literally looked at her and said "I don't think so. I'd rather have them do something fun like coloring easter eggs since it's so close to the holiday" and then proceeded to gather up all these craft materials. Crazy! Another man tried to teach the kids how to borrow (even though that was not in the plans) and was blatantly teaching it incorrectly. With so many licensed/experienced teachers out of work, I have no doubt that there are many subs that are competent enough to review or teach new material. However, I think the problem still comes in that they don't know the kids. That could make the lesson difficult and the teacher would probably have to redo it anyway.
     
  37. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    I had a sub, and all I had scheduled for the day was to play a chapter of the Great Gastby audio book, and finish the chapter questions. The ending uses ambiguous language; the sub told the class that Gatsby was still alive. This caused a TON of confusion, because Gatsby is in fact, dead.
     
  38. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,684
    Likes Received:
    39

    Apr 29, 2011

    I, too, am glad you had an assistant there! In 28 years I have rarely seen a sub maximize use of the lesson plans. I'm not a pessimist, just a realist!
     
  39. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2011

    Caesar,

    What kinds of activities do students do when you are absent? I had a fellow TF sub for me once, but she obviously knew the material, so it wasn't a big deal. I would imagine that a foreign language class with a sub would look totally different from a foreign language class on any other day, so I'm curious as to what kinds of activities you have them do. Do students work on projects, writing assignments and grammar activities? Computer lab activities? Just curious!
     
  40. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Apr 29, 2011

    I am so glad to have my Livescribe pen (and be in grades where I can use it!). I just create a pencast, and all my sub has to do is take the kids to the computer lab. The pencast is me, lecturing. I include their assignment, and they just go for it.
     
  41. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,823
    Likes Received:
    190

    Apr 29, 2011

    So far, I have had really great subs (of course, I tend to request certain ones). Sorry you had such a bad experience...
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. SaraFirst,
  2. Anna music teacher
Total: 399 (members: 5, guests: 369, robots: 25)
test