Substituting in high school

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by milan, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. milan

    milan Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Those who sub in both high school & elementary, how do you compare? I have only picked elementary but I would like to try high schools too. I am kind of intimidated. I have read somebody saying in the forum that they wouldn't sub higher than 5-6 grades. What are the reasons? I wanted to start in the elementary, but I'm not getting any calls. Looks like the elem. schools near me all have preferred sub teacher lists. I have a BS in Math so do you think I should go and meet with the high school people?
    Also, they made us pick schools when we went in for the interview and workshop. Can I go to the schools that are not on the list? Or should I contact them and add more schools to my list?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Many times subbing in high school is more about giving the class an assignment and then maintaining control over the students. That "maintaining control" can be a BIG headache!

    Teenagers can have bad attitudes and can be very disrepectful, especially toward substitute teachers. I only sub in middle schools and high schools at two small schools that are in very small towns. I still get an occasional "stinker" of a class, but usually my main problem is just being bored all day.

    I say - give the older grades a try! If you don't like it, you only have to get through one day. Then you never have to go back again, if you don't want to.

    I don't quite understand the last part of your post. If you want to go to more schools than you chose, talk to someone at the Board office.
     
  4. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Milan: Everyone's experiences are different and unique. If you are real hesitant, call a high school and ask if you can observe; that's one good way to test the waters before you go in.

    However, I will tell you from my experiences, I LOVE subbing high school! :) If you show them you respect them and mean business at the same time, they will respect you in return. Yes, there are times you have a tough student. However, what I love about the high schools I've subbed in anyhow is if there is a difficult student that is really disrupting the class, you can send them out to the dean's office. High School teachers I talk to just don't put up with that craap.:rolleyes: They've got 6, 7, sometimes 8 periods a day. In many cases easily over 250 kids, depending on the locals of the school. A good high school teacher has the students on task the minute they come in. There's no time for goofing off and not doing your work in a well run classroom.

    Also, the fact that you have a BS in Math is HUGE! I'm not sure where you are located, but here in California certain districts are starving for good math teachers! You would work all the time, seriously. In fact, you'd probably get a job fairly soon since math and science in high schools are in need.

    My experiences in middle school were not so good. Personally, I stay away from this grade like the plague!!:crosseyed To teach it is one thing, but to sub it? Forget it. That's just my own humble opinion. Their hormones are raging at that age and I actually find middle school to be MUCH harder to deal with than high school.:rolleyes:

    I hope this helps you somewhat. I say, go for high school. You may really love it. I know I do.:cool:
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Hi MIlan,

    If you have a BS in math, why don't you actively search for a full time job teaching math?

    It's not exactly hiring season, but I wouldn't be surprised if school within an hour radius of your home still needed someone qualified to teach math.
     
  6. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Oct 22, 2008


    I knew you'd post....oh great math teacher!

    Yes, see milan!? You could prob even get a teaching job in math right now! At the least the subbing experience would be great and you'd get lots of work, I'm imagining.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 22, 2008

    All I can speak of is my own experience. In my department of about 20 teachers, here's how we started our year:

    - Labor Day Weekend (just before school starts) our Calculus/ Precalculus Honors teacher has emergency stomach surgery. He returns to work 2 weeks later, only to be out for another surgery at the end of September. He's still out.

    -September 20: My mastectomy. I was out for a month.

    -September 22: Another of the Precalculus teachers went into labor a few days early.

    So we were down 3 math teachers at the same time. Did I mention that the Math 7-8 teacher is pregnant, and due in the spring???

    Math is high needs (especially in my school this year.) I can't promise a job at all, or one in the school of your choice. But I can tell you that math teachers, like Chem or Physics, are impossible to find!
     
  8. Swamp Dog

    Swamp Dog Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2008

    I sub in everything from K - 12. I've actually come to prefer the high school because of the earlier hours. Subbing in high school is less about teaching and more about crowd control. It also helps that I am older and still have a pretty good rapport with teens. I would guess that it also helps being a former Marine. I don't take any crap from any of them.

    A few times when I've had a hard time with a trouble maker or two, I just send them out of the classroom. I've been told not to send them to the office, so I don't. Let them wander the halls and get in trouble for not having a pass. Someone who makes more than me can deal with them then. They don't pay me enough to deal with all of that.

    And yes, they have told me not to do that anymore, but I still do. And they always call me in the next day.

    But I don't want to scare you. Most days are all good and nothing that extreme happens. So I'd say get in there, make yourself known, and watch the job postings.
     
  9. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Yes, go for it. I would only do elementary at first too, b/c I was intimidated by teenagers, but now I just go in there and have an instant rapport with most of them--probably b/c I never grew up myself and I was a pill in high school, so I understand what they're going thru. They're easier than middle schoolers usually, but I still love ms best. If you do math, yeah, let the teachers know so they'll let you teach rather than leaving busy work.
     
  10. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Funny, all this talk of subbing high school, and my next 3 assignments over the course of these upcoming weeks are all at high schools. :)
     
  11. milan

    milan Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2008

    Thank you all for your input. It helps a lot.
    I am intimidated because I am new to teaching. I don't have a degree in education. I've been working in the IT field and part time tutoring. I haven't tutored more than 3 students at a time. So the thought of a class full of students(especially big students in high school) scares me. I decided to sub to gain some experience in the classroom teaching so once I feel comfortable, I can apply for a Math teacher's job.
     
  12. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    Nov 14, 2008

    I JUST started subbing... so far .. in my sheltered little charter school, I don't mind early elementary - middle school is ... special in the bad way - late elementary made me want to pull my hair out... I've only student taught for high school - I'll let you know how it goes. :)
     
  13. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Nov 14, 2008

    I sub in several large school districts and I am frequently called to cover high school classes. Each grade has it's own unique challenges for a sub.

    In high school, I never play the role of monitor. If there is an assignment they are working on, I get involved. I read the assignment myself, ask questions, and offer assistance.

    In every school I have taught, I found a great many of the students to be deficient in math. Your qualifications will be of tremendous value in high school.

    If there is time in a class where the students are finished with their work and no other assignments have been left by their teacher, ask them who needs help with their math work. You will get a lot of hands raised. Even if you spend only a few minutes explaining to them how to work a problem, you will gain many allies. They will remember you in other classes that you will cover. They may be less likely to give you a behavior problem.

    Who does your sub scheduling? Give them a call and let them know about your math talents.
     
  14. jspader02

    jspader02 Rookie

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    Nov 15, 2008

    I am about to just begin subbing in just a few weeks and I find that I am highly intimidated by the high schoolers too - mostly because I graduated from high school only 4 years ago haha. I'm hoping for elementary positions! Then again, as I think about it - I had a great time with my high schoolers while I student taught. I don't know, I say go for it and definitely give it a shot. It's nice that you can actually hold a conversation with them as opposed to the younger ones. Plus it's a little more low key and slower paced.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 15, 2008

    I hope you love math, and I hope you're gentle with people who don't - in my experience, most of them have had at least one teacher who... um... let me water this down: at least one teacher who ought never to have been teaching math. (Don't mind me. In my particular corner of teacherdom I hear stories that make mild-mannered me yearn to go out and kneecap people on my students' behalf. Fortunately for all concerned, by this time the malefactors are usually well beyond my reach.)

    If you love math and you love it when you help get the lightbulb on in the brain of someone who claims to hate math, then you might not have a job this week or this year, but if you substitute and do as Ross has suggested, Word Will Get Out.
     
  16. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Nov 15, 2008

    A little advice for those intimidated by HSers:

    Look each one of them in the eye and smile sincerely--you can do this while you take attendance. Ask them what name they go by and get the pronunciation right--I fill in a little chart with their preferred name and where they're sitting. Right about this time someone will pop out with a cuss word, so I look at them and say lightly but firmly: "Those kind of words cause me actual physical pain." They usually apologize, and I'll hear no more of them. I usually start the class by telling them a bit about myself--I'm lucky b/c I travel a lot and they love to hear about my teenage daughters getting to pet tigers in Thailand. If you have time, and not too big of a class you can ask each a bit about him/herself. Also, asking the troublemakers for help can be effective.

    The worst thing you can do is to go in and talk tough to them--I saw a sub get creamed that way the other day--she almost had to leave. The regular teacher can do that but they know darn well that a sub can't do anything to them. Anyway if you do as I said above, you will get them on your side--you can't work with them if you don't. It took me over a year to get this system down, but I think I finally have it refined--I almost never have to send anyone out, and now I just love subbing for HS.
     
  17. Palidin

    Palidin Rookie

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    Nov 16, 2008

    Talk with other subs in your district if the school has a good maqnagement team there should be no problem. I subbed at one district and they gave good guidance if the students all go home and the school is still standing you have just completed a successful day as a substitute. Primary grades have as many opportunities
     
  18. lovelylbb99

    lovelylbb99 Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2008

    Hi

    Hi

    I will say that you should contact any school you want.

    I contact all the High Schools on Wednesday and I got called the next day to substitute at a high school. You tell them their assignment and then they do it or they don't. One class was 9 & 10 graders and I had kids throwing clay in the class. I just had somebody circle their names. Doing that day I was reading a book in 2 classes and next day I was in the art class I was kind of bored so I was just drawing. It all depends on the class and the assignments the teacher give. Try it and see if you like it!
     
  19. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

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    Dec 17, 2008

    I subbed for a couple years & personally I definitely liked high school better than middle school (I never even tried kindergarten). Like others have said already, in high school it's more about classroom management than teaching or "holding hands". But if you treat the students like young adults i.e. with respect & don't talk down to them IMO that helps a lot to get their respect and in turn the school day goes by much more smoothly.

    So in reality, much of the time high school can be SO easy it's downright boring!

    One thing that helped me with certain classes at certain schools that looked to be troublesome was that I would casually mention that I wrestled in college & was looking for a coaching position (btw I'm just average sized, 5'10"/180lbs). Along with the various small scratches & subtle red abrasions you get on your face & arms when wrestling, with few exceptions this always helped a lot to keep things calm. :D

    But here's something anyone can do - I heard this said and demonstrated in an old B&W movie - and it worked for me as far as I know: when you walk into the room, act like you own it. DON'T act arrogant or disrespect the property of the room's fulltime teacher (getting on a powertrip will get you nowhere) but instead do with quiet confidence whatever pertains directly to your duties that day.

    You know what the consistantly most irritating sub jobs were for me? When the students really liked the fulltime teacher. All day kids with sullen faces would tell me "That's not what Mrs. X would do" or "Coach Y lets us do that math formula in such-n-such a way" or "Mr. Z always lets me hand out papers." So several times I've had to "lay down the law" and tell them nicely but firmly that I have a different way of doing things and we're only here together for 50 minutes so everybody, please calm down. :dizzy:
     
  20. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Dec 18, 2008

    LOL, I don't think the line about wrestling would work for me, but I did get a blue belt in karate once. I just don't look the part right now. What you said about ownership--that is so spot on. I think I've gotten more like that and everything has gone so much better since then. The funny thing is that I've always been a rather timid person, but my confidence has grown with the kids and that helps. What B&W movie are you talking about BTW?
     

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