Substitute Teaching Dilemma, please advise!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heyitssteph, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. heyitssteph

    heyitssteph Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2013

    Hi all,

    I am a young professional turned graduate student hoping to become a certified middle school or high school teacher. I have just started substitute teaching in the inner city in charter schools. I figured it would be good experience even though I don't know if I am cut out for inner city teaching in the long term.

    Long story short I am really struggling. I have been getting feedback saying that I am not tough enough on the kids (I've taught elementary, middle and high school so far.) Today I worked in the elementary grades and at the end of the day, one of the assistant teachers gave me a bad report because she was yelling at the kids the whole time, trying to discipline them for every little thing, and I was more laid back. I know I am a naturally warm, friendly, and upbeat person and I am afraid that this will hurt me in the classroom because students will take advantage of my kindness.

    Do you all think that maybe I should reconsider my plans to be a teacher? Or do you think the tough inner city school environment is maybe getting to me, and I'd be better off in a different type of setting?

    Any feedback is much appreciated! Thanks guys :)
     
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  3. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Oct 3, 2013

    I decided to substitute teach first too. I think it's way too early to come to any conclusions yet! Keep on going and make sure to think of this time as a learning experience. You'll discover what works best for you and the students.

    I'd definitely take the advice other teachers give you and try to improve. I learned a lot and changed a lot while I was subbing, and I think it was for the better. You can still be a sweet teacher and be strict. Make sure to enforce the teacher's rules and not let the kids have a free pass for the day.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 3, 2013

    I've never subbed. And I've never worked inner city.

    But I consider myself "warm, friendly and upbeat" and I have a great relationship with my kids. But I think it's easy to slide from "warm, friendly and upbeat" to "one of the kids"-- and that's a huge mistake.

    They can't learn from you if you can't maintain order.

    I don't think you need to be mean. But I think that every teacher, and potential teacher, needs to develop a teacher demeanor. Not an Alexander Haig "I am in charge!!!!" sort of demeanor, but a quiet authority that gets the kids to pay attention. We have lots of fun in my class, but there's absolutely no question as to who is running the class.

    Hang in there, try things and see what works. Make your expectations very clear and stick to them. Be open to change.

    You'll get there.
     
  5. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Oct 3, 2013

    It's okay to struggle. Substitute teaching in the inner city is tough. But if you stick with it and learn how to handle a class, then that success will enable you to teach anywhere.
     
  6. ATwainedTeacher

    ATwainedTeacher Rookie

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    Warm. Upbeat. Laid-back. Yeah, those all describe me. Add a pinch of confrontation dread and organization issues and you've made a recipe for me. My first year of teaching I was absolutely convinced that I just did not have the right personality for education. I struggled with classroom management. This year, after learning a few tools, I'm doing much better. I'm not going to say it's perfect yet, but if you walk into my classroom at any point of the day, students are doing their work and are remaining focused.

    What I've found is that, with a few tools at my disposal and a little more experience, I have a wonderful personality for education. Well, except for that organization part. The only way I comfort myself with that is that the brilliant teacher with the highest test scores at my school has a desk that looks way messier than mine.

    We all have strengths and weaknesses. There are some individuals, I'm sure, who have all the strengths of a freakin' awesome teacher. I'd say most of us have something that we are lacking in, but all it takes is a little work to work around our weaknesses. So, don't give up on teaching right off the bat because you feel that you are deficient in some way.
     
  7. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oct 3, 2013

    If teaching is your true passion, which hopefully it is, then a different work setting may be for you. Just because everyone is qualified to teach, doesn't mean everyone has the personality to teach in every kind of setting, grade level, etc. I'm at an alternative special ed school this year for middle & mostly high schoolers, which is totally new for me. Fortunately, I work with the students 1-on-1, otherwise, I'd NEVER teach a whole class of them in a million years because some kids behave differently (better) when they're the only ones being worked with at a time.

    If you never really cared to be a teacher & just thought that it's a job that you'll do, then of course, you'll have a different feeling about the whole job in general.

    Are there any other districts/schools you can apply to be a substitute?
     
  8. heyitssteph

    heyitssteph Rookie

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    Thank you! Yes, teaching is my passion. I was lucky enough to attend good schools growing up and have great teachers. I'd like to be the same kind of teacher that I was lucky enough to have when I was younger! :)
     
  9. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I attended good schools growing up & had good teachers as well. I hope you can soon find a setting that you enjoy & fits your personality. (Sorry for the typos in my post!)
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Go find my Updating... thread in the Job Seekers category and read about my inner city charter school experience!
    In a nut shell, I have 6 years of successful teaching experience. I wanted to relocate back to my home state, so I took a 3rd grade inner city charter position- I quit after about 8 weeks. I'm now subbing.

    Don't base whether or not you can teach on inner city charter school experiences.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'll be honest, I think it's more difficult to sub in a classroom with an assistant. There is an awkwardness sometimes. So how do you feel you do when you have the room to yoursef?
     
  12. heyitssteph

    heyitssteph Rookie

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    I am so new to the field of education. I don't have a degree in education and I haven't even done my observations yet. Where I live, many districts only require a substitute certificate which you can get with a bachelor's degree in any field. So I like having someone else in the classroom to back me up, but on the flip side, there is someone watching every move you make. I really don't want to live in fear of making mistakes as a substitute but I can't help it, it's tough :confused:
     

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