Students insulting subsitutes

Discussion in 'General Education' started by substitute_stev, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. substitute_stev

    substitute_stev Rookie

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    Jan 7, 2015

    Students insulting substitutes

    I started out as a substitute about 7 years ago, became a full time teacher, then went back to being a substitute by choice.

    I dress nicely, present a positive image, and act professional. I wear khakis, dress shirts and dress shoes whenever I step into a classroom. Image is important.

    The problem is sometimes a student will give a smart remark as some kids will do.
    Today a student stared at me and said...."Are you an ex-cop?" I said "No I am an ex-teacher." He said.."you look like an ex-cop because you are too official looking" I said "oh". He said ..."scary" and walked away. Not sure what he meant by that. It was a hurtful comment.

    Students and teachers will sometimes ask if I was a former principal, cop or actor? I get that almost on a daily basis.

    Anyone else get snide remarks as a sub or teacher? Not sure if I should be flattered or take it as a sign of disrespect?

    Thanks.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2015

    Seems they are reacting to your conservative look and nothing else. Don't take it personally...you are giving these kids too much power over you. Shake it off.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I honestly don't think any of these comments are that insulting. Too official looking? What's so insulting about that? Scary? That probably meant that he thinks of you as someone who means business so he better not mess around with you. Not insulting at all.

    If the kids made comments about your race, age, weight, appearance, etc, that would be insulting.
     
  5. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    I've been a sub for about two years. I've learned that kids just try to get a rise out of the subs and you can't always take what they say to heart. But I didn't learn this until a few months ago. About a year ago, I had my hair fairly short, like a pixie cut. I had a certain annoying boy raise his hand and said, "Hey, weren't you in that video?" I raised my eyebrow and asked, "what video?" Bad response. I realize now that he was only doing it for attention and to "impress" the girls at his table, as they laughed with him for quite some time. He then responded, "Ya know, the one with the wrecking ball."

    I was completely floored and really taken aback. I mean, it's not that it was a negative comment, to be compared to Miley Cyrus, but I mean....yes it was meant to be negative.

    I would get comments all the time for my hair and how young I look. I would just laugh it off because its never personal. They don't know you, so they try to see how far they can go.
     
  6. substitute_stev

    substitute_stev Rookie

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    Thanks guys. I can now look at it from a different perspective.
    After being in Education for the last 8 years I am starting to get a little burned out. I have been taking things too personal lately and feeling edgy.

    After my full-time teaching career ended a few years ago due to lay offs I have been just subbing the last few years. I have had teaching opportunities but turned them down because I am not ready to commit to full-time teaching again.

    Lately, I have been considering another field such as sales or being a trainer. I like working one-on-one as opposed to working with groups.

    Any ideas or career paths that teachers transition to?
     
  7. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    A student made fun of my hair yesterday to another student, and I caught her as she was doing it. It hurt my feelings, even though it was petty & stupid. Another student made fun of my daughter's name.

    A lot of students have a complete lack of respect for adults, and can be downright cruel. This will be a problem when they try to get and/or keep a job.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    "So, do you shop at the teacher section in Mervyns?"

    "Why is your beard so grey?"

    "I know you said your beard is more grey than the hair on your head, but I think you need to look at your head more carefully."

    "You kinda look like Fred Flintstone."

    .... and many more.

    All simply random observations from kids who have not yet developed the filter that prevents them from verbalizing every thought that comes into their heads.
     
  9. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Where I work, snide remarks are the norm and actually is much nicer than a child using curse words to describe how they feel about a teacher ...

    I don't think twice when a student says something about how I dress, my hair, looks or personality - unless it is nice and deserves a "thank you." Teaching is all about letting the petty comments of children go and moving on, IMO.
     
  10. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    What about things like, "I hate this class," "This class is so boring," "You're a bad teacher," "You can't make me do anything," or my favorite, "I'm going to switch my schedule to get out of your class?"

    At what point should we teach them that their comments in the future will have more weight - like, if they say something like that to their boss?

    I need to be better about letting things go. No matter what face I put on, though, comments like that still sting a little.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I get some of these comments as a teacher, especially the 'class is boring', 'I hate this class' kind or 'how do I get out of this class?"

    Pretty much all of these are done to see your reaction. To be honest, it took me 2 years to not let it get to me, especially when I spend so much time to come up with things that would be of interest to them, and they dismiss it as boring. Usually I ignore it, or treat it as disruption, meaning I respond to the student being disruptive but not to the comment.

    Occasionally (maybe I shouldn't do this), I respond to the "How do I get out of your class" with "sorry you can't. You need 4 years of English, so it looks like you're stuck with me"
    Sometimes when I get annoyed (again, I shouldn't do this) I say something like "The feeling is mutual" but only with certain kids, because with them it works, it shuts them up.

    But normally ignoring is the best situation. If it happens a lot I treat it as disrespect and have a talk with them, sometimes with the entire class, and tell them that they don't have to like me or my class, but they do have to behave and show respect. They can hate me secretly, but I don't want to see it. That usually sinks in.

    The 'class is boring' comment often has other meanings. Kids say 'boring' to mask a million other things, such as I don't know what to do, this is too hard, this is too easy, I'm not interested in English, I don't want to be here... basically whatever issues they're having, they verbalize it with 'boring'. So I don't let it get to me anymore.
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jan 8, 2015

    I don't see those as snide comments.:confused:

    A thicker skin can fix a lot of issues.
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    The bold are opinions, so yes, I ignore them and just let it go.

    The red is a matter of defiance and is more about discipline/management issues so how you respond depends on a lot. I teach HS, so if a child doesn't want to work, then it is what it is. They are right - I cannot make them work. I ask them a few times, make a show of pleading, but then I move on.

    The green is an empty threat in my school, so I would ignore it ... after saying, "Bye! Finally! ... Hallelujah! Praise God!"

    With my students, I stress all the time that words and actions - showing up late, catching an attitude, and being insubordinate - can get you fired in the real world. Some don't learn until they are out there and experience it firsthand.
     
  14. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I guess it's just me, but there is nothing a teenager can say about my hair or name that would bother me.

    Now, I will admit that I am (slightly) more concerned with how students view/talk about me as a teacher but that's because my Admin likes to use students to check up, aka spy, on teachers.

    More importantly, a lot of people in general (not just students) have a total lack of respect for others. The rude and inappropriate things I hear my students say pales in comparison to the stuff I hear grown people - who are not hormonal, immature teens - say about other people.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    "You can't make me do anything."

    "Yes, but I can make you WISH you did."
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I'm a petite lady & was in my 20s when I subbed for a good 11 yrs. There were times I wish I was more intimidating-looking like a male teacher, so the kids would listen to me better. But NO, I've never ever been insulted or given any hurtful comments about the way I looked that I can recall.

    If kids said I look like a cop, actor, etc., it wouldn't affect me personally. I'd let those comments roll off my back.

    And regarding what OTHER jobs/careers teachers can do, well, that's the Million Dollar Question in my book. All I've ever read were jobs such as tutors, textbook writers, maybe exam scorers & nannies, but of course those all seem like little side jobs. I have no idea what else. I know I personally switched gears into speech-language pathology, so I should be graduating with my Masters of Science in that soon.
     
  17. substitute_stev

    substitute_stev Rookie

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    Excellent posts. Everyone gave me much to think about regarding student behavior and addressing the disruption, not the comments.
    My job is to teach the lesson plan, manage behavior, and not lose control or focus while managing a classroom.
     
  18. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    I did when I was subbing. I was covering for IEP meetings. I went into a 4th grade class the teacher was giving a vocab lesson. The prefix was "sub" she explained the meaning as "under or beneath." She gave "Ms **** the substitute" as an example. She explained that subs had less authority and respect. I hated working in hervclass after that. The kids were rude, openly defiant, and would justify it with their teacher's own words.
    I should add before this her class was my favorite. They were respectful, followed directions, and did their work. After that they would say, "you can't make me do anything. You are not a full teacher!" I taught reading part time and had my own classroom at the school. I subbed on my day off.
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Hatima, that's horrible.That teacher is awful.
     
  20. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Remember, the kid is forced to be there. You can quit your job. School isn't a model of the real world.

    That said, you're free to levy whatever consequences on them you have available, I suppose. Because it's not the real world, they don't actually have complete freedom of speech either.

    As for the comment in the OP, though, I suspect the kid didn't think of it as an insult. Personally, I think looking "too official" is something a substitute should probably go for as a look.
     
  21. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This is my students' favorite line: "YOU/teachers get paid to be here, we HAVE to come."
     
  22. Topsy

    Topsy Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2015

    "You look like an ex-cop, actor..."

    If you even want to bother to reply, you might say, "Thank you," and move on. Being an ex-cop would be a badge of honor, imho!
     

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