Sub told kids to shut up on two occasions?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    So I have a pretty regular sub who normally takes my jobs. She stayed in for me yesterday, and when I got back today, they had told me that she had told one of my students to shut up. The entire class said they witnessed it. And worse, this isn't the first time. They had her a while back near the beginning of the year and the same thing happened then.

    That time I just kind of told them, that regardless of what she said, they should still respond to her with respect because she is the teacher in the room (there was one kid that got upset about it and was rude back to her).

    Since it happened again, I'm wondering what to do. Yesterday, a lot of the teachers were out and we couldn't find a sub for some of them to attend a district PD, and apart from this, I have no reason to believe that she is not a good sub.

    I would like to find a way to show kids that I'm taking their trust in telling me this seriously and that I'm looking for a solution, but I still want to keep the sub in the future. Is there any way to kindly let her know that telling my kids to shut up is not the way I normally do things and that they get very offended at it without offending the sub?
     
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  3. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Talk to the sub and ask her politely to cool it. Let your students know you discussed the issue with sub and that you don't expect it to be an issue again.

    If it happens again, kick the issue up to admin and don't invite her back.
     
  4. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Examples of what you could say: "Ms. Sub, I've heard from several students that you told them to "shut up". I'm trying to figure out if that's true. We love having you here but that's become an issue in our classroom because it's made my students feel uncomfortable and that's normally not the choice of words I use to deal with my students."

    Just get the conversation rolling and let her know how you and your students feel.
     
  5. RadiantBerg

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    It could have been said jokingly.

    I frequently tell kids (the ones I know can take it) "Hey, could you please shut up? I'm trying to teach here." They usually laugh and then shut up. These are HSers though...not sure it'd work with younger ones.
     
  6. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    If you like what she does then maybe just leave her a nice reminder to be careful of her language. Try to be neutral about it so say something along the lines of "Some students were upset with your choice of words last time. I know you probably slipped because I do it too! Just be more careful. Thanks for coming!"

    Remember it's hard to find good subs. If you found one that knows your class, your routine, and you like them, try to keep em. :)
     
  7. MissP89

    MissP89 Rookie

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    It might just be a difference in teaching strategy. As RadientBerg said, some people take a joking approach, and that's okay in their room. Personally I don't think, however legitimate the 'speaking to students on their level' approach is, it is okay to do in someone else's classroom. I would casually mention it to the teacher in a friendly way, as others have suggested.

    One thing I would not do though is announce to your students that the problem is 'fixed', I might perhaps have a quiet conversation with the child who was very upset about it, but I wouldn't want the students to think they can get other adults 'in trouble' by complaining about them.
     
  8. CindyBlue

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    Might be a good opportunity to tell the kids that they need to stop doing whatever they were doing that made the sub have to tell them to shut up. While I don't agree with her choice of words, she must have had a reason to say it.
     
  9. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I agree with this.

    Peregrin, how did the kids behave in general for the sub?
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I also think you could just let the sub know what you heard from the students, but also give her the benefit of the doubt, who knows, sometimes kids come up with weird stuff.
    Just tell her that if admin found out, they'd probably be unhappy about, so you're just trying to give her advice, and everything else that was said here.

    As far as saying it jokingly... it's the perception of the students. If she said it jokingly, but they didn't take it that way, what matters is that they were uncomfortable.

    I have said 'shut up' on occasion, jokingly. Not directed at the student, but joking about a student 'oh my God, he never shuts up' (the student was in the classroom).
    Someone must have complained because my P pulled me aside, and she told me not to do it. She said it's all about the perception. She says it sometimes (when she's had it with a kid or group) but she has built enough relationship with them, that it's ok to say it once in a while. Then it's effective, otherwise it's just rude.

    Your sub may not realize she's saying it, who knows. You're really doing her a favor by bringing her attention to it, and ultimately probably saving her job. An admin will probably not pull a sub aside for this, they will just say she's blocked, there are plenty of others subs to choose from.
     
  11. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Agree. Before passing judgment and in fairness you should attempt to get the sub's side of the story. The students may be exactly correct but you will never know for sure all the details and context without hearing both sides. If students find out you never attempt to get all the facts this could signal they can control the classroom in addition to modeling the way a teacher handles complaints.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    The sub reported no problems. She said they were a little chatty but good and did the work.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah it doesn't. They have a harder time picking out sarcasm. I said it once jokingly while I was in my internship teaching. While I think they all understood that I was joking, one kid decided to use it against me, and tell the VP I told them to shut up when he got sent to the principal's office.

    Regardless of if you're joking or not, it never looks good to admin if its said, and can always be used against you in the future.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't handle "discipline" issues with subs. If I'm truly concerned, I speak to administration and block that person from subbing for me again (block if there is a way...otherwise state no so-and-so when requesting a sub.
     
  15. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    It could have been said jokingly. Some people don't get that type of humor and get upset about it. I have said it to students before in a joking fashion.

    I used to work for a middle school where PE teachers when breaking up a fight said "sit you *** down!" to a kid. Now that I can see getting bent out of shape about, but not shut up. It's not polite, but it's not profane or worth making an issue about.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    This.

    These are 8th grade students. If they are like other 8th grade students, they probably weren't little angels for the sub to start. They probably deserved being told to shut up.

    And... they are 8th grade students. They can handle being told to shut up.

    This would not even blip on my radar.

    Then again, I'm amazed at the people who think "shut up" is foul but say GD this and GD that. Say "$hit" when they stub their toe or spill their coffee. I'm especially amazed when some middle school kids claim it is disrespectful but turn around and "dis" what another kid is wearing or bow up to a teacher. I find it hard to believe that these people are truly offended by such a statement.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think they were likely just surprised to be "called out" by the sub. Wounded their pride or something.
     
  18. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I have been known to tell a class or kid to shut up. However this is after exhausting all the other polite ways to get them to be quiet. The sanction after shut up is sending from the room to the Time out room.
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    For some reason, those two words in combination are almost a mild profanity for kids. I've never understood why. There's being polite and gentle with students, and then there's being direct with a command. That being said, I'm in the fortunate position of not needing to worry too much about this issue. If a student is being too chatty in my class, I turn off his microphone. ;)
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    We're not saying that 'shut up' is profanity. I can say shut up to my kid, and I can cuss on my own time, etc, but it's a different story where I tell other people's kids to shut up, or as an educator, in the classroom I would cuss, etc. It's different.

    But I also agree that kids get bent out of shape for non reason at times, just because they know they can complain or they feel entitled.
    It's Black History month, so we've been reviewing famous African Americans and we're covering the Harlem Renaissance. The first day 2 black students were complaining how they were not comfortable, etc. They complained just to be disruptive. We were watching biographies of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and then later Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, etc. I just kept telling them to stop complaining, and didn't validate their concern. It wasn't a concern.
    The next day I made a disclaimer about the word "Negro", how it's not used today and how it's viewed, but how it was used back then, because we will be coming across it in poems and stories written by Black artists. Then I made the point how they use the other N word like it's nothing, so they need to step back and relax, because no one is offending anyone.
    They 'shut up' after that (pun, lol)

    So sometimes just explaining things to them also works.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oh my god. That would be so amazing.

    It could be because I never allow them to say "shut up" in my class to eachother because I explicitly taught them that it is disrespectful and there are more polite ways of asking someone to be quiet. I do this for class atmosphere.
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Ah, that makes sense. Will you have the opportunity to talk off the record with your sub? If all else works when you're out of the classroom, making sure this one issue is clarified should make things easier for your next absence.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    But you explicity taught it's not okay to do a few other things the students still do, right? Whether that be sleeping, cheating, interrupting, using words like retarted and gay, or a number of other things. I'm not suggesting "shut up" is appropriate. I just don't know if they are genuinely offended by it. No doubt that at least a few of the students told someone else to shut up or eff off over the course of the day.

    If you are really upset but don't want to involve administration over the use of shut up, maybe you could add a note to your sub plans along the lines of: I've had some issues with the use of inappropriate words and phrases in the classroom. If you hear students use shut up, retarded, or cuss words, please let me know. Word choice is something I take seriously.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I agree. Unless you live in Utopia, good subs are very hard to find. Especially for middle school. I'd tred very carefully over this one. Choose your battles and words very carefully. Remember, subs can take you off of their list much easier than you can have them removed from yours.
     
  25. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This. I don't see what the big deal is, especially if the OP likes the sub. Sometimes, kids like to "rat out" teachers because they know their behavior has not been great.

    Choose your battles because every fight is not worth it.
     
  26. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    I like this idea best!
     
  27. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    :agreed:
     
  28. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I like the idea too! I'm a little worried that she may take it as me being roundabout and not facing her head on about it.

    By far the best solution I like has been joeschmoe's:

    I would add that the reason I'm asking her this is because as JustMe stated, I'm having problems having students learn to speak to each other respectfully, so to also inform me if that language is being used by my students.
     
  29. RadiantBerg

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    I must also add, I do think the kids are playing you like a fiddle with this one. Even if it's only to waste class time....
     
  30. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well they merely mentioned it, and didn't bring it up again. I told them essentially "I see" and "I'll look into it." One kid looked genuinely upset, and the kid she told to shut up is not normally a problem in my class. Because they mentioned it once before, and the entire class was in agreement I have to take their complaints seriously.

    There are only 2 or 3 that would really attempt to play me like a fiddle if they could, the rest behave very well in class and are honest students. When the entire class tells me something, I have to take their word for it.

    It wouldn't waste any class time because I'll use my time outside of class to solve this problem. The only reason I have such good rapport with my students and the students trust my management enough to feel comfortable in my class is because I take the time to listen to them, and take them seriously.
     
  31. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I have to add, also, that if I received a note like JoeSchmoe posted, I'd have a hard time accepting jobs for you again. If I felt the need to tell a class to shut up and you found that offensive enough to mention it to me, I obviously would not be a good fit for your classroom. I wouldn't take being chastised by someone (who likely has less experience walking into "new" classrooms than I do) because students "ratted me out."

    In my experience, the demand for good subs in middle school is far greater than the supply. Especially now that many systems are limiting the number of hours subs can work due to the ACA. If I could only work X many days a month in the schools, I'd make sure they were the assignments I like the most.

    And...if there was such an awesome relationship between you and your students, such that you feel like you have to go to bat for them over this issue, I'd imagine that they'd respect you enough to behave for the sub in your absence. I'd advise that you don't shoot yourself in the foot based on this tiny issue.
     
  32. gr3teacher

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    Apparently I'm alone here, but I'd consider this to be extremely disrespectful towards my students. I would not be happy about a sub talking to my students like that. Granted, it's obviously different with 3rd graders than 8th graders, but I'd still consider telling a class of students to shut up inappropriate.
     
  33. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Your not alone.

    If the teacher is uncomfortable with the way a sub is treating their students that sub should not return. I prolly would not say anything to the sub, they would just get defensive, but I would never have them sub for my class again.
     
  34. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    The differences in expectations around the country/world/state always interest me.

    I find saying "shut up" FAR less disrespectful than having students call teachers by their first names or even just last names without a title (Coach, Mrs., etc.).
     
  35. RadiantBerg

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    Me thinks the sub would be happy to never return to a situation where his or her actions were so heavily scrutinized anyway.
     
  36. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah this is interesting for sure, because I feel the exact opposite.

    How would you feel if at a staff meeting another teacher told you to "shut up"?

    To me this would be very disrespectful, ineffective, and likely quite incendiary.
     
  37. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    100% agree. I wouldn't bother telling anything to the sub, just take them off the "sub list".
     
  38. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I would also find it disrespectful for students to call me by my first name, but I'm not seeing how that is relevant here.
     
  39. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    First I've heard of that. What's that about?



    Well hopefully the sub feels differently.

    It's not a tiny issue to me. And while I am disappointed in their behavior that they behaved in a way for a sub that elicited that response, I received nothing in the note I received from the sub that suggested that they were being rude or disrespectful to the sub. Simply chatty, and I'm sure you know, that 8th graders will be chatty. I deal with it by silently waiting for them to stop talking. It takes all of 5 seconds for it to become completely silent. I understand that not all subs may use that same strategy, but I don't think the strategy she used is appropriate for my classroom.

    I will leave her the note, because I feel like giving her a chance. She mentioned in her note that it was a pleasure to sub for my classes and that she looks forward to doing it again. I also look forward to having her as a sub, and if she doesn't want to sub anymore because she doesn't feel comfortable about being asked to treat my students a certain way, that'll be too bad, but at least I asked her in the nicest way possible.
     
  40. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Well, I didn't want to be the one to say it, but ... :yeahthat:
    Exactly. What did the kids do to make the sub tell them to shut up? Did they tell you, OP? Or did they claim they didn't do anything? You would expect honesty from them since they respect your relationship with them so much.
     
  41. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nope, they mentioned that they were talking when they shouldn't be. They know enough about our relationship than to lie with me or claim that it was completely unwarranted. And as I stated before the entire class corroborated the same story.

    If they were behaving in a way that was rude to the sub, I would expect the sub to notify me about it in her note, rather than remaining silent about it. That silence/omission of their behavior would be worrying to me as well, because the sub isn't being truthful about what happened that day. She simply mentioned that they were chatty.
     

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