Questions from a newbie.

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by starsallaround, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. starsallaround

    starsallaround Rookie

    Aug 30, 2013
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    Jan 17, 2014

    I am a new substitute and have subbed for 2nd and 3rd grass classes so far. I have several problems that I would loveee some advice on:

    1. My biggest problem is that I CANNOT get them quiet. There is a constant chatter ALL the time, even when I am talking. I feel like I spend the whole day going "Shhhh ... shhhhh ... David, be quiet ... Sierra, I see you talking .... shhhh." And even when I tell a specific child to be quiet, 10 seconds later they are talking again!

    2. As a sub I feel like I can't really "discipline," but what am I supposed to do when a kid does something mildly bad? E.g. One of my kids today repeatedly was acting out, annoying his neighbors, etc.

    3. What I do about the constant tattle-taling?

    Thank you guys, any help would be appreciated.
  3. LinguaTutor

    LinguaTutor Rookie

    Nov 25, 2013
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    Jan 20, 2014

    Hello starsallaround

    I'm sorry to hear this. Although you are a substitute teacher, you still have power. Treat them as if they are your students.

    If they cannot be quiet or are being bad, you can either:

    a) Give them work to do, in which if they refuse, give it out as homework and let the main teacher do a homework check the next day. The homeroom teacher should be understandable and helpful. However, there were cases when I was substituting and I gave students homework in which I told the homeroom teacher to do a homework check as well as paid attention to the school work that we did on that day. He didn't do a homework check nor didn't care what I taught them and told me that I could have just watched a movie with them. I then told pointed out that just because substitute teachers are not their homeroom teacher, doesn't mean they're useless. I told him I mind as well not substitute at all since there's no point. Eventually he understood but still, I never got along with him in the first place. Hopefully the homeroom teacher is not like that!

    b) Tell them that all of the students, and not just the naughty ones (or just the naughty ones, up to you to decide) that they won't get a recess or play time. I like to have all the students, including the good ones not to have recess because this way, the remaining students put pressure or I guess even threaten the naughty ones. I know it's harsh, but you'll be surprised it can work.

    These have worked for me in the past. I'm not saying my idea is the most effective nor right, but it is a suggestion.

    I hope other teachers on this board can give their own advice in which you'll have a pool of ideas!

    Good luck!
  4. SallyN

    SallyN Rookie

    Jan 18, 2014
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    Jan 21, 2014

    Obviously you should be stricter. The fact you are a substitute teacher doesn't change anything
  5. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

    Nov 24, 2008
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    Jan 21, 2014

    Hey there! We have a whole sub forum down the page a little ways under "Special Subjects."

    1.) I hardly ever expect total silence. I really think this is an issue a lot of teachers struggle with too, and as a sub, usually what I see is a reflection of what the class has been taught and the classroom rules. So I expect a little noise during work time, but not a lot, and I don't get too upset over it. That said, you should not have them talking over you when you talk. That is not okay. Stop, refocus. Go over the rules. Have them raise their hand and tell you the rules. If it's really bad, you need to get firm very fast. Use your face and make it clear you are not happy. You can sternly tell them to put their heads on their desk, go back to their seats, whatever, and then give a lecture. "I think Mrs. X would be very disappointed in your behavior right now etc...." Don't be sing-songy, have a flat and even tone of voice. I almost never say, "shhh."
    For individual chatty students, try going to their desk and sliding your body down to lean on their desk (either in front or between them and their chatty neighbor). You don't need to talk, just point at what they are supposed to be doing. Stay there for a minute and invade their space a little, they will get the message to knock off whatever they are doing.

    2.) Move the student. Have them pick up their things and move to another table.

    3.) As a sub, the easiest way to handle tattling is to just say thank you very sweetly. If you don't act on it, they'll get that it wasn't useful. This could take all day though.

    Oh,also, with little ones especially- model model model. Don't ever just let them go to an assignment, model how it should look. Are they cutting something? Model how to cut it most efficiently so there aren't 1000 scraps. Getting out a textbook: "I'm looking for friends to be on page 55 with their finger on the word GO and eyes looking at me." Moving into a line: "Johnny will show us how to quietly line up with his hands at his sides. Let's all watch. Oh, a few of us had a hard time with that, let's come back to the carpet and try it again. Remember, I'm looking for quiet mouths and eyes facing front." Every. Single. Time.
  6. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Feb 13, 2008
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    Jan 21, 2014

    NO NO NO to mass punishment!! It's better to "catch" a few misbehaving kids and give consequences for what you KNOW they have done than to punish everyone.

    I do agree with this poster's first comment, however- you DO have power as a sub. I would suggest coming up with a management procedure you can use in any classroom, with any age group and start putting it into practice. Kids understand, "I am your sub today and here is how I do things. When your teacher gets back things will go back to the way you always do them." Personally, I would make up some little cards and a poster of consequences- for example, 1 card - lose 5 min. recess, 2 cards- lose 10 mins recess and take a note home, 3 cards- move desk away from rest of class, 4 cards- lose out on group or fun activities, and 5 cards- time out in another classroom. Then I'd have the kids practice what you expect FIRST thing and then follow through. Even if it means you send home some notes and move some seats. It's easy enough to make up some notes ahead of time that just say, "Dear Parents, your child, ____________, received consequences for behavior today while I was subbing for _________________. Please sign this form and return to school with your child tomorrow." You have to show them you mean business and word will get around soon enough. I don't think it's necessary to use a "mean voice" or attitude- simply give them a card and tell them what you expect and move on. You might also offer stickers as a reward throughout the day. =)

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