Pretty good trick for classroom control

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by jen12, May 11, 2011.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    May 11, 2011

    I'm currently working an LTS resource position and I got pulled to cover a 4/5 combo for the last hour of the day yesterday. The teacher left a writing assignment which should have been pretty straightforward, but as the students had been testing during the morning, they were really not in the mood to put their heads down and do actual work.

    I turned on the ELMO and wrote a note for the teacher that they all could see. I laid it on super thick--the kind of note I'd never actually leave for a teacher. I said they were noisy, they were not following directions, they were walking around the room--all of which were true. When they started reading what I was writing, that room got quiet so fast, it was as if someone flipped the noise switch! I looked up and everyone was working. The silence didn't last long, but it was effective enough that I'll do it again. After the sudents left I tore it up and wrote a much less dramatic note for the teacher.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 12, 2011

    Kids will catch on to that...as you said, it worked temporarily. Idle threats...even quiet ones...aren't the most effective.
     
  4. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 12, 2011

    LOL...Don't you love it when something so simple works so well. :thumb:

    I did something similar for a particularly rowdy class when I was subbing. Most of the kids talking that day were actually good students, but they also played sports together and kept talking about their games and other things. It wasn't too bad at first, but they just REFUSED to get on task and kept getting louder with their talk. So I finally just wrote the names of each offender on the board. As the list grew longer, the room grew quieter. One boy finally asked "What does that mean, if your name is on the board?" I said "Your regular teacher will explain that to you when he returns on Monday." (this was on a Friday ;) ).

    There was absolutely NO talking in the room for the rest of the period. After the class dismissed, I just erased the names from the board. :)

    It IS just a temporary solution, but that's what you need as a sub - something that will stop the behavior NOW (if possible) since you probably won't be there tomorrow to actually do any follow-up. Like any temporary solution, it is only effective if used very rarely. In two years of subbing, I only did it that one time, but it got the results I needed for that class. :thumb:

    On a more recent note, I often "sub" for my middle school teammates since all of their content classes are before lunch and mine don't begin until after lunch. One 8th grade class has three of the our loudest and rowdiest boys in it, which can make the class VERY difficult to manage at times since they all three tend to "feed" off each others actions. The other day, though, when each of them began talking instead of doing the given assignment, I just said "Your classmates seem to be distracting you. Would it be easier if I let you sit in the hallway where it is nice and quiet so you can finish your work?" It was amazing how quickly they decided to stop talking so their class partner could keep helping them on their work. :D
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    May 12, 2011

    Glad it worked for you, even temporarily. Hey, even if it worked 15 min or so, that's worth it. Keep using that tactic w/ other classes until it "wears off".
     
  6. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    May 12, 2011

    Believe me, it wasn't idle. I simply re-worded the note for an adult instead of the brazen one I wrote for the students. In fact, since I'm at the school on a dialy basis, one of the students came running up to me the next morning to ask me if I left a "bad" note for her teacher. I told her that I spoke to the teacher and told her the truth about what went on in class. Then I asked the student if she thought I should have lied to her teacher. Her reply was, "I guess not."
     
  7. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    May 27, 2011

    I agree. Subbing is a different monster than regular teaching. Regular teachers have the luxury of building a relationship with their students, practice routines and procedures, set high standards in the classroom and create a discipline policy that works for their particular students.

    Subs have a few hours a day with kids who are complete strangers, and sometimes you just need a temporary fix. You don't have an arsenal of resources at your disposal like the teacher does, so you have to use what works for the limited time you have.

    I'm trying to relax a bit from negative consequences, though. The only problem is, trying to use positive reinforcement is a little difficult when you're merely a sub. I wanted to give some noisy students a reward of a few minutes of computer free time or free draw if they completed their work and quieted down, but how do I know these rewards would be acceptable to the teacher? It's a gamble.
     
  8. StudentTeach

    StudentTeach Comrade

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    May 27, 2011

    As a regular classroom teacher part-time and a sub part-time, I get to see both sides. Especially in a high school setting where you have seven, sometimes eight periods and have have to reestablish yourself SEVEN times to seven different groups of kids throughout the day for only forty minutes... I'm in the "WHATEVER WORKS" camp. As the classroom teacher, I would be disappointed that my students didn't behave, not disappointed with the sub.
     

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