Students Who Ask About...

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Suburban Gal, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

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    you and your private life.

    As a Substitute Teacher for the past 2 years, I've noticed that a lot of students, especially the older ones (5th and up) seem to like to try and pry their way into my private life. I've fielded many questions. Questions like:

    • Where do you live?
    • Where did you go to high school? Did you go to high school anywhere around here?
    • Do you have any kids?
    • Where did you go to college?
    • Do you have a degree?
    • What's your degree in?
    • Are you really certified to sub?
    • How old are you?
    • What kind of car do you drive?
    • What religion are you? Are you Catholic? Protestant? Jewish? Muslim? Christian?
    • Do you attend Church?
    • Where do you attend Church?
    • What are your political beliefs? Are you Republican? Democratic? Independent?
    • Do you vote?
    • How do you vote?
    • What ethnicity are you?
    • How tall are you?
    • How much do you weigh?

    and the list goes on and on.

    I don't give the kids any satisfaction of answering, of course, and find the questions extremely rude and bothersome. Most of the time my reply is quite simple as in, "Sorry, but that's none of your business."

    Do the rest of you find yourself often asked about your private lives? If so, how do youn tend to handle it?
     
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  3. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    I don't think that questions about your education or degree are prying. Students have just as much right as the rest of the community to know the educational background of the teachers. The other stuff they don't need to know if you're not comfortable sharing.
     
  4. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    The first question the kids in my third grade class where I'm long-term student teaching asked is, "How old are you?" I said, "I am 100 years old." Six weeks later, I had my first observation by my faculty advisor. I opened the lesson, gave some instructions, examples, and asked if there were any questions. The first one was, "How old are you really? If you were 100 you'd have white hair."

    Heh.
     
  5. kermy

    kermy Companion

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    For me i only tell them what i feel comfortable telling them? my most common one is age, b/c i look really young. they ask if i'm 18-20 and i''m 25.
     
  6. kermy

    kermy Companion

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    do you think we shouldn't tell our age?? (questions is for everyone.)
     
  7. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I think it's up to you. It's certainly not relevant. For some reason every class asks, though.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I think they mostly want to know more about you as a way of establishing small talk and rapport.

    I don't have a problem telling my age, kids, married, live in this city, live in a townhome, the kids know what kind of car I drive (but I'm not a sub except by default as an aide), how tall I am (you aren't getting how much I weigh), and where I went to college (they like the football team and we are providing positive role modeling). I haven't been asked the rest.
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I answer them most of the time, but I'm not subbing. I'm the classroom teacher. They know how old I am, they know I have two cats and a dog. That I have two brothers, and an 18 yr old sister. They know sort of where I live (the town). They know I have a bf. They also want to teach him how to propose to me. They know I what college I attended and it took me 7 yrs to graduate. Anyway they probably know a lot more. I just am not remembering at the moment.
    But again like someone else said only tell them what you feel comfortable telling them. I do not share my religious beliefs.
     
  10. sub&mom

    sub&mom Companion

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    Being that I live in a neighborhood with alot of students from schools I sub at and schoolaged kids of my own...alot of my students already know alot about me. The most uncomfortable question I have been asked was, "Did you know Cookie (my dog) pooped in my yard and my dad was really mad?!" From the little 1st grader who lives across the street. I replied with, "How are you sure it was Cookie? There are lots of dogs in the neighborhood!"

    Anyway, I usually answer the questions. I will sometimes counter with my own questions to them. I think they are just trying to get to know me. Sometimes they ask me if I've subbed at their other school or their brothers or sisters class. I've never been asked my weight...wouldn't answer that one. My husband doesn't even know that one!!!
     
  11. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    I tell all of the kids that I am 87, but look young for my age. About half of them believe me! Apart from that I have no problem sharing a bit about myself - married, kids, live on a farm "out that way" (vague wave of hand), etc. I think sharing a bit about yourself helps you to connect with kids - I also ask about their lives. If subbing for just a class or two you could give the abridged version, but if you're there for a while why not let them see you are real?
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not subbing either, but my kids know lots of the details of my life.

    When I didn't get tests graded the other night, I explained the delay: that my 5 year old had been really sick. (Two of the Senior girls made her a get well card in their free period.) When we didn't get the snowday we were hoping for, I told them where I live, and that we only had an inch or so of snow (so I didn't understand why the Catholic school around the corner from me did close.)

    I say tell them as much as you're comfortable with.

    One class is determined to know whether I'm a Mets or Yankees fan, and I refuse to tell them... just for fun. I'll let them know on our last day together.
     
  13. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Hey throw them for a loop and tell them you are a Red Sox Fan
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    They asked me that and I just laughed.

    I told them that, when my team isn't in it, I pull for Chicago. They wanted to know which team, and I wouldn't tell them that either. :)

    They're a fun bunch of kids.
     
  15. misswhammy

    misswhammy Rookie

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    Sometimes it is so funny the questions kids ask you. "Do you have a boyfriend?" "Is that your real last name?" "What is your first name?"
    I usually just laugh it off and let them know that it is time to get to work and not worry about me.
     
  16. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    When I did sub I would get all the normal sub questions. I grew up in the town where I teach and subbed so I either know most of them because of my kids or in some cases I went to school with their parents. I answered most questions as long as I felt that they werent asking them to get out of work.
     
  17. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

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    I definitely think it's different when students ask their regular classroom teacher those kind of questions than when they ask the Substitute Teacher. After all, they're going to be stuck with that regular classroom teacher for an entire year (or more). But a Substitute Teacher's just in and out and probably never going to see any those kids ever again. They may later, especially if they're in middle school or high school and teach for other teachers, but even at that it's not like the kids really need to be knowing anything.

    And in regards to educational background questions ctopher, all they really need to know, is that I wouldn't be there if I didn't meet the state's standards to substitute teach.

    As for age kermy, I never tell any of them how old I am. In fact, my rule is, once I answer one question about me or my personal life THEN I open up myself to answering more and having to answer ones on weight, religion, and political beliefs that have absolutely zero place in the classroom. And if you close yourself if to answering those, then they can come back around and whine, "But you told us how old you are. Why won't you tell us that?" So, that's one rule I really didn't mind establishing for myself.

    I'm glad regular, classroom teachers have chimmed in, but would love to hear from more subs about this very topic and how they handle or don't handle being asked a lot of those questions.
     
  18. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    I'm young - 24, but I have no problem telling the kids my age though. I do usually make them work for it though, I'll tell them the year I was born and make them do the math to figure it out. (They're in 4th grade, so this is math they can do, but it does take some calculating for them.)
     
  19. GatorGal

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    I sub for middle schoolers, and the kids usually ask me:
    1) Are you in college?
    and
    2) How old are you?

    I answer the first (yes), but I never answer how old I am. I usually counter it with another question directed to them. :D

    I can't believe kids ask you how much you weigh! They need to learn some manners.
     
  20. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I am also pretty much an open book. My weight stays out of, it though :) When you are a regular classroom teacher, I think it helps in developing rapport. After all, you probably spend more time with them than with your family during the week. As for age, it's just a number, I don't get why people are so protective of their age. I always wonder about people's ages. I have no problem telling, but first I make them guess. It's interesting to get their perspective of age.
     
  21. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    I think if I actually told them how old I am they wouldn't take me seriously.
     
  22. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Unless they are high schoolers, 21 will sound old to them (hahaha). I don't know what the fascination is with age. We're such a youth-worshipping culture. I guess that's why I make up an outrageous answer. Last week I told them if they take their vitamins, they can also grow to 100 without looking old!
     
  23. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I always just thought they were being curious. After all, I was a new person to them. I wouldn't allow them to interrupt the lesson with questions, but I did tend to answer most of them.

    Usually I have them serious answers, but sometimes I didn't. I often asked them to tell me how old they thought I was . . . dangerous question. LOL

    As a teacher, my kiddos know all kinds of things about me. They just learn them as the year progresses. On the first day of school I also give them a chance to ask me questions.
     
  24. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Being in my low 20's and don't like to tell the kids how old I am (I teach high school). I'll let them guess, though. I tell them that my husband (who teaches down the hall) is two years older than I am. I also tell them that I won't tell them if they guess correctly. After a few minutes of guessing some kid will usually guess an outrageous age - which I agree to. "Yes, I'm 83 years old."

    Our next door neighbor is one of my husband's students and he often has friends over - it is no secret where we live. Our car sticks out because it is old and bright and we live in a small town.

    What I find most interesting is the kids have to tell us when they see us somewhere. "I saw you walking yesterday." or "I saw you at Wal-Mart yesterday". It's a big thrill (who knows why) to claim to have seen us out and about.

    If it something I am comfortable sharing I share. Sometimes I play around and pretend that I don't want them to know or give them riddles.
     
  25. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I love it! I remember being like that as a kid. My own kids were laughing out loud when they found out the librarian checks out books. It was hilarious to them.
     
  26. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    My kids think I'm 56.
    I'm not sure why they believe, but they do.
     
  27. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    The only personal questions I've been asked so far is how old I am and if I'm married. I live in a military town, so it's common to be asked if I'm an Army wife, and I don't mind saying that I am - most of the time it helps, since the kids are usually Army brats anyway.

    I sub for anywhere from 2nd to 8th grade, so at first I was hesitant to say how old I am. One class of Positive Behavior/TLC middle schoolers actually guessed my age, so I told them that yes, I am 21. I thought it might make them take me less seriously, but it didn't really bother them. They just thought it was cool that they guessed right! ;)
     
  28. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    One year I had the kids convinced I didn't know how old I was. This year they think I am 17.
    They ask if I am married and have kids. I just tell them no...b/c it is true!

    One day last year a little boy asked if I had kids. I said no. He asked if I was married, I said no. He then asked if I had a boyfriend and I said no. He said "What can't find anyone good enough?" I said exactly. He was 5 years and knew all too well!
     
  29. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Just say you'll answer any questions that you're comfortable with when they're finished their work. That way, you can find out who is really interested in YOU and not in getting out of their work!

    I was a pro at this as a child. I know those tricks! LOL
     
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    At the beginning of the year, some of my kids asked their science teacher how old she was. She didn't tell them, but she did tell them that I was her 8th grade reading teacher. So, now they think I'm really old. They think the 8th grade LA teacher is about ready to kick over because I told them that she was my 7th grade LA teacher. LOL
     
  31. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Ima I love that! The 8th grade LA teacher should tell them that the science teacher was her science teacher. ...To complete the circle and completely confuse their reality.

    I used to sub in middle school and the kids all knew me from the neighborhood but didn't ask many personal questions. Sometimes they'd ask age - just to be able to place me - younger or older than their parents. I'm now a full time HS English/LA teacher and the first day I encouraged them to ask anything they wanted. I explained that I would say pass if I didn't feel comfortable. (This led to an autobiographical essay for them.) They wanted to know my religious and political beliefs and when I passed on both topics they wanted to know why. I feel that as the teacher I want to leave the space open for them to discuss their beliefs with each other, without my cluttering the dialogue up with my personal views. My job is to get them to make educated decisions for themselves, not to think the way I do. This led to a very powerful class discussion.

    They still want to know why I don't have kids and why I'm not married. They are trying to make sense out of the world around them.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Deftly handled, creativemonster. It's incredibly easy to get flustered about this.
     
  33. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    Age is just a number, but so is weight. Why is everybody against telling weight too? Then again, I teach Kindergarten and they don't completely grasp numbers like weight and age!
     
  34. Zanadu

    Zanadu Companion

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    I sub in a small community where there is only one elementary and one high school and most everyone knows each other. Since we are so close knit I don't get a lot of these questions. Most students know where I live and actually know my family. I've never been asked my age, weight or religious affiliation but I don't think they really need to know that. I'd redirect those questions by telling them to focus on their work. Asking where I am from is a little different. Everybody here is from somewhere else. Many students are leaving or have just arrived. I've been in classes where students are getting ready to go back to a new area in the states and they are fearful of the change. Finding out that I or another class member has been there tends to lessen their worry. If they ask if I've been to college or what I studied I'm happy to share. I feel it shows that I think it's important and that women do study science. I've been asked if I vote and I was happy to say that I do and I stress the importance of knowing the issues even if they can't vote yet. I redirect when I get asked how I voted. I've only been asked this when we were talking about government. It was never an out of the blue question. I guess if I feel that I can be a role model I'm willing to answer. Even when you're only in a class for one day you are still able to be a positive role model and make an impression.
     
  35. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    As someone who is "weight-challenged", my weight is a number I am sensitive about. (I'm "age-challenged" too, but that one doesn't effect me as emotionally).
     
  36. kermy

    kermy Companion

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    i think it's different beinga sub and answering questions. I don't tlell too much about myself to kids i'm only seeing for 8 hours one day. I feel that when i get my own class i'd be more willing to tell more about myself.
     
  37. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For the past 6 or 7 weeks, I've acted as a LTS in the building in which I normally teach (Covering another teacher's upper-level math classes while someone else covers mine until she returns from maternity leave.) Anyway, I've seen a particular SAT prep class maybe 5 times ever, and Thursday was my last class with them.

    One of the girls (HS Juniors,mind you!) desperately wants to know my age. Not to be defiant, just to know. When I wanted to know why, she responded that she was just curious, and wouldn't tell anyone but her best friend. I still smiled and said no. Then she asked for the year of my birth. STill no. But she still wanted to know.

    Finally I said I would be happy to give her a pass to go see the principal. He would be happy to tell her my age, my weight and my salary.
     
  38. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I think it's a societal thing...so many assumptions and judgements are associated with weight and there is always so much attention on it everywhere you turn. Age is something you can't control, so to me, it's less threatening if people know.
     
  39. Mldouglas

    Mldouglas Comrade

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    This is so funny!!

    Hi!!

    I get questions like that all of the time. I don't answer most. The only ones I really answer are about my qualifications and marital status. I have had kids who have asked if I am a real teacher or where I really work, why I don't have my own classroom or why don't I go to school to be a teacher? I think those questions are so funny. I get the impression that these kids are not fully aware that most teachers start out as a substitute teacher before they get a teaching job. Them asking if I am married does not bother me. When I write my name on the board, I write "Miss Douglas" so I explain, if they ask, that I am not married. When they ask me about my age I tell them that I am older than dirt!!!

    Marci D.
     
  40. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Rookie

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    A quote from the movie "Mean Girls"..: I love seeing teachers out in public; it's like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs." (spoken by a high school student to others when they see their teacher in the mall..)

     

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