Subbing job: Should I cancel?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, May 24, 2017.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    May 24, 2017

    i have been subbing since January and it has been very hard to be motivated to sub at this time of year when behavior is much harder to manage.

    I had a job in a 6th grade classroom that did not go well today. I have a two day job scheduled for the same teacher in about 2 weeks. The classes weren't terrible but there were several issues.

    1. During advisory, students were throwing balls, holding chairs over their heads, being silly and arguing instead of playing the game they were supposed to. We had to stop and silently read because they were behaving so badly. I'm relieved the kids listened to me when I said we had to silently read with no issues.

    2. Two classes were good (meaning kids were mostly working but needed a few redirections) but two classes were really bad. Kids were very loud, distracted and needed to be redirected many many times. It was a really tough day. I'm also quiet so when kids get loud it is hard for me to redirect them with only my voice. In my own class, I think I will have some sort of attention signal that all students need to learn. One class had an aide who was helpful but the kids didn't really listen to her much either. (She is a long term sub) She would quiet them down and they would get loud again. But in all of the classes, there were a few behavior problems and it was just a really tough day.

    My question is, would it look bad to call the school secretary and cancel the 2 day job? I don't have a good reason to since I want to accept other jobs for these days but I really dread going back to this class!
     
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  3. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    May 24, 2017

    I probably wouldn't cancel unless you have really good reasons. At this time of year, any class can be rough, especially one filled with middle school students who are ready to be done.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    The more you live through, the stronger you become. That was my mantra when I subbed, and it hasn't changed much over the years. Use the currency you earned today - they know your name, you will fearlessly show up again - and consider it some of cheapest lessons you will acquire as you become a teacher. There was not one text-book class to be found in my school today, so I would go with the enemy you know. I doubt you are going to luck into an angel class or two this close to the end of school. Of course, I love a good challenge.
     
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  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Also, I subbed a 4 day job with these same kids before (different teacher) and they were pretty good (except for a few kids)! It might just be the time of the year but they were really testing their limits today.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Great time to figure out what you can do to change the outcome, isn't it?
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    As vickilyn said, and as Frederick Douglass said (paraphrased): "Without struggle, there is no progress." Struggling through something difficult leads you to learning. It might not be as "fun" or "easy", but you'll capture much more out of the experience than if you cancel.

    See if you can make a couple changes in your approach this time...our goal should always be to try to improve one or two things each time!
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Teachers are, by nature, reflective. It's as if we can't be teachers without thinking about the good and the bad and, yes, learning from it. Mathmagic got this one dead on center. See if you can bring the change.
     
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Thanks everyone! Does anyone have any advice for going into this class next week? I was really upset leaving today but I'm hoping it will go better. I've met the teacher before and he is super nice. I left a really honest note about the day so hopefully he will talk to them before I come in to prep them.
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Try a reflection exercise:
    (we could share our own thoughts, but it's more powerful when you're able to!)

    -- What was one or two elements that didn't seem to go right? (Specific -- i.e. they were rowdy, they didn't follow directions, they were throwing ninja fidget spinners at me, etc...)
    -- How could you proactively try to prevent that OR what are one or two strategies for how you might react differently this next time?
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    For advisory, the students just didn't do a good job explaining the game or the rules. I got a phone call in the middle so I missed part of it. The plans made it seem like the students would be prepared but it was honestly just a mess. When we got up out of the circle to play the game (Museum Keeper), the kids were just rowdy. They were throwing a ball, arguing over who is out, jumping on each other, and more. It was honestly an unsafe environment and I'm really glad I stopped it and had them silent read. I would honestly do the same exact thing if this happened again. In the future, I could try to have the kids wait before transitioning to the game so that the students could clearly explain the rules and I could set expectations. It's just hard because these students transitioned to the game quickly without asking for permission. (And I was still trying to figure everything out!)

    The classes were rough because students were just loud. Some kids had spinners out and for half the day, I didn't even know spinners weren't allowed in school! There were 2 classes that were great and focused. A few boys needed redirections but they were mostly good. The other two classes were loud, rowdy, and disruptive. I can't complain because they did their work but they were louder and sillier than they would have been for their regular teacher. The aide said she subbed for these kids last week and they were also loud and didn't listen. I had kids making funny noises when I was doing attendance, etc. Next time, I would maybe move kids to a quieter location who are being disruptive but this room only had one empty desk where I could move kids. I really don't know how to quiet down a class as a sub. I LOVE elementary classrooms that have chimes, clapping patterns, etc. since this works very well. But I am honestly too quiet to quiet down a class that is too loud as a sub. What would you suggest I do when they get loud?

    Also, the teacher wanted me to call individual tables up to get and return books. For two of the classes, the kids just got up and got the books themselves. For the next two classes, I did call individual tables and sent kids back who got up without permission. The aide was really helpful in stopping kids who weren't called and I don't think it would have gone well without her. I really don't know how to make kids follow regular procedures when they are loud and don't listen.
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I mean the teacher expects them to have the work complete when he returns so I expect that the students are being safe and doing there work at a reasonable volume. I wasn't asking them to work silently or anything. If this group of kids were allowed to not do their work, behaviors would escalate even more.
     
  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I think I am also burnt out with all of the behavior management we have to do as subs! I am so jealous when I observe other classes and the teachers seem to have everything under control and they make it look so easy!! It's just mentally exhausting to have to manage so many behaviors that students don't normally do. It does not help that I absolutely hate subbing...
     
  14. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Teachers seem to have things under control but they do have bad days too, when no one is there to observe. Plus the relationship they have built with their students everyday helps in classroom management. As you are about to student teach, I think this would be good experience for you. If this was your class for real, you wouldn't have the option of not coming back, so you need to figure out how to make it better. See this as an opportunity for a do-over.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm struggling with my grade 7s at this time of year. Spring fever has hit; the end of the year is (almost) in sight and hormones are so thick in my room you can almost see them! They aren't purposely breaking expectations, it's as though they have lost all sense.

    I was out yesterday afternoon and this is what I wrote in the plans for my sub (who has only been subbing a couple of months):
    "This is a chatty group of kids, but they aren't disrespectful or mean. We do a lot of partner and collaborative work, so they are used to being able to talk with others about their work. Extended off-topic conversations are not okay; if reminders about this aren't working, feel free to separate the "offenders". Don't feel that you need to maintain a silent work environment or that everyone needs to get everything finished (they won't). As long as most of the work is completed, the room is tidy at the end of the day, no one runs away, fights or is disrespectful to you or anyone else, it's been a success! Please let me know about any serious issues and I'll follow up. Thank you for being willing to deal with adolescents at this time of the school year!"

    I think that you should keep the job--returning several times to the same class helps you and the kids develop a bit of a relationship and you get to know the students better. As others have said, there will be days (and weeks) like this in every classroom--even when it's your own. Subbing gives you invaluable experience with what can work and what doesn't. Don't worry about not having a loud voice (although working on projection will be a good idea), I flick lights on and off or raise my hand to get the attention of my students. When I'm angry, or when they won't stop talking, I get quieter, not louder. Proximity works far better than volume, in my opinion.
     
  16. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    It just gets interesting as testing stress and then summer-itis sets in for everyone, doesn't it? I had an absolutely horrid day subbing Monday. I made myself move past it and had a great day the next. You never know. I think you should keep the commitment, too. It's just a very humbling job. I bet you're going to really enjoy student teaching and the difference relationships make. The memory of it helps console me on hard subbing days. :) Haha. Take it easy on yourself. I think you're showing excellent signs of becoming a skillful teacher.
     
  17. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    So my 2 day job started today. Today, I had another teacher supporting the whole time so the 6th grade classes were pretty good. A few still needed redirections but it was nowhere near as bad. I had one class to myself though which was horrible again. They would not stop taking and kept complaining. One student was throwing paper balls and I should have had him move seats. The boys kept saying "THEY'RE DISTRACTING ME" super loudly just to be distracting themselves. These kids know how to behave but they are just taking advantage. I opened the door and asked the teacher next door to help and he did. I know it's the end of the year but I don't know how to make these middle school boys work quietly for a period.

    Tomorrow the kids have an test that is independent work. I am worried that I will not be able to manage them to work quietly especially since I will be the only teacher in the room for most periods. I'm honestly losing confidence in having good classroom management ever in middle school. I wish I could have them behave for me like they do for their regular teachers. I know it's different for a sub but I'm starting to wonder if it is just me. I'm a very quiet person so I work better when kids have hand signals to listen like in elementary school.
     
  18. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Are you setting up clear expectations, with clear consequences, from the get-go? If not, make sure you do so, and follow through with that; they'll test your boundaries.

    Regardless of what the sub leaves, you need to make sure you make them aware of what you expect, and hold them accountable to that.
     
  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I really don't know what consequences there are besides moving seats. I did tell them that but there are only like 2 places to move in this classroom.

    The test tomorrow is a take home test that they can work on in class. That's why I'm worried about kids working independently since it's not the same as a normal test. Maybe I can have them work with privacy folders if they have them in the classrooms to help?
     
  20. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Can you arrange with one of the other teachers to be able to send a kid or two as a "time out"? That might be a good motivator for the kids who are disruptive as attention-seeking behavior.

    I would also look for some kind of reward. I don't usually give my students candy but I might in your situation tomorrow. If they get through the whole period without disrupting and following expectations, you could give them a Starburst at the end of the period, for example. Or if candy isn't option, could you print off positive notes home, like 8 to a sheet or something? You could put a list of names on the board of kids who have lost the reward, telling them that they can earn having their names erased if they get back on track.
     
  21. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Did the classroom teacher leave any info behind regarding consequences / enforcement of expectations? If not, is it possible to send a student to the office if they don't follow directions after a reminder? Does the school in general have a behavior policy? Don't be afraid of researching the school site or chatting with the other teachers / administration there!
     
  22. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    Not really and I thought he would since I left him a note about the issues we had last time I was there. That's why I'm not really sure if these kids behave better for other subs. I could send kids to the office but I hate doing that. Ugh
     
  23. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Not really and I thought he would since I left him a note about the issues we had last time I was there. That's why I'm not really sure if these kids behave better for other subs. I could send kids to the office but I hate doing that.
     
  24. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    It's all about what you need to do to help keep them in line. I think you'll find that if you give clear expectations, have clear consequences (and possibly, rewards), and follow through, that you'll actually get more respect from them, and actually feel better about it. Going to the dentist may be something we dislike, and we could possibly put it off, but putting off will likely just allow the problem to exacerbate instead of nipping it before anything can happen.
     
  25. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I can ask the office if I can send kids down but the issue is that the admin is not always there. I walk by and there is often just the secretary and the admin is somewhere else. So I could but the kid could honestly come back with no consequences. I could tell students that I will be writing down names for the teacher after the first warning and seat change.
     
  26. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I could ask the teacher next door! There is a connecting door so that could work but I feel like these kids would enjoy going next door. That's actually what I was trying to do during the class and the kids said "His class is more fun so it's not even a punishment!!l LOL
     
  27. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    The school has to have a general policy on discipline: what is it?
     
  28. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm not sure. I've never had a teacher at this school leave a behavior plan for me. And until this class I have never had behavior issues bad enough to send to the office. I will ask the secretary if I can send kids down if necessary when I go in tomorrow.
     
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  29. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    I would make sure with that teacher that it would be a clear consequence and that they would still have to complete their assignment.

    I find the visible list of names helps with my students sometimes (middle school). They have to be able to earn their way off the list, though, otherwise there's no reason to improve once they're up there.
     
  30. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Instead of stopping by the office just to ask if you can send kids down, you could also ask about the policies so you know what options are available to you. If students can behave when another teacher is in the room then they are capable of behaving. When you go into the class tomorrow, I would get the students to work towards rewards. Students who are working well for every X minutes e.g. 10 mins) can get a token. X tokens can earn them a reward. Students love food rewards (check if you can give out lollipops) if not, try stationery. If you want, you could also tell them that every token they earn they can put into a box for a lucky dip at the end to win a larger prize (I loathe to say this, but maybe a fidget spinner or a $5 itunes voucher?)

    When I want students to be quiet and do independent work, I let them listen to music with headphones with the caveat that I cannot hear the music through their headphones and both ears must be covered. I find that this works because they are listening to music and aren't talking to each other. Some students do work better with music than without. It all depends on your schools policy on technology. Like I mentioned, knowing the policies gives you options. But this option has been effective for me in getting students to work quietly and to be productive.
     
  31. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Update: the day is actually going really well! I didn't have a chance to ask the office since they were busy but kids were well behaved during classes. I told kids that this is just like a normal test and most were working quietly. I had a few whisperers put up privacy folders or change seats. The extra class that I struggled with yesterday wasn't great. However, there was a math specialist that came to help with this class. They were good for the first 1/2 but they weren't great for the 2nd half as they didn't think the work she had was important for them to do...
     
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  32. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Ask on your way out, during lunch, ask a colleague...make sure to check in somehow. It should take less than 5 minutes...and good teachers (subs are included in that) know how to find the answer to a problem or situation.
     

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