The most frustrated part of subbing is

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Subber, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Mar 19, 2010

    The most frustrating part of subbing is

    some teachers undermining the sub. If they do that even for a split moment based on the lies told by the students, that's enough for me to feel disrespected. After all, they should know how how kids in general are towards the sub.

    Until the subs get respects from *ALL* teachers at the site by default, this non sense the subs have to face would never go away. One can argue that there are certain subs that cause these kind of doubts (in regular teachers) that may be the kid has a good point. Well, why are those kind of subs hired at the first place? Why must we (other subs) who have the special skills to adjust different grades, different environments, and different whatnot on daily basis, meeting the much needed service have endure this?

    I think that subs should start working on getting Union support. Then, may be some adults would think twice before looking at us with "Did you do that?" or "Did you fail to d that?" eyes.

    My experience today was in a high school senoior class. During that rowdy period when the nextdoor teacher came and talked to them, one kid had the nerve to say that I was busy getting the attendance that they didn't even know what they're supposed to be working on. If I were the teacher, instead of turing the head toward me, I'd browse the classroom, especially looking at the good studious kids, to see whether they're already working on *something* to figure out that they must have been told already. Gees. And I didn't tell just once but many times what they're supposed to be working on before I even started taking attendance.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Part of being a good sub is having good classroom management. If your class was rowdy to the point that another teacher had to come in and shush them, something is wrong.
     
  4. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    As many yrs as I've been subbing now, I don't care how mean I need to get to keep the kids in line. If that's how I have to be, then I'll do it. When I leave my end-of-the-day note, I'll make sure to say that I had to get VERY firm w/ them. That way, if they complain that I was being mean to them, the teacher will more likely think they're exaggerating.
     
  5. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Mar 19, 2010

    I know at my school when we see a bad sub, we do flag him or her and will not ask them back. BUt with subbing you don't know until they are working....
     
  6. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    "Very firm" is a good way to put it. I'll have to remember that the next time I have to leave a note about an out of control class.
     
  7. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    First, the kids have been in school for six months now. If they don't know what to do while the teacher is taking attendance, then they haven't been listening to their regular teacher either.

    Second, sometimes the teacher next door is just trying to be helpful. Sometimes we take it as criticism when they really don't intend it that way.
     
  8. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Mar 19, 2010


    Instead of starting with the line "Part of being a good sub is having good classroom management" and then ending with the line "something is wrong", why don't you have the gut to insult me directly.

    Given the way your society values education and teachers (substitute or not), all I will say is that "I take it (your insult) as a compliment".
     
  9. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    No doubt that the teacher I was subbing for - he is more than a teacher in that school, would have no problem with my notes. I didn't go get the teacher next door to come nor he tried to intervene voluntarily but one kid was extremely loud which became contagious and I had to remove a few of them but the office was low on staff to come and get them. And these are kids twice my size acting like 5th graders.

    BTW, the teacher next door wasn't siding wiht kids or anythign like that. I was referring to not being savvy enough to know that their students lie through their teeth.

    Subbing is a temporray step for me to get back into the work force after not working for years due to health. I am way over qualified to take the kind of insult I had received in this thread. I am only mentioning because of the insult I received in this thread to let the person him/her know not to worry and that he/she will have plenty of subbing work when I leave. That's right. Just with two the districts - both small, I get called from both districts on the same days 90% of the time. And I get subbing assignment every day. Ironic, isn't, for someone with no classroom management skills, according to him/her?
     
  10. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Mar 19, 2010

    Nuff said.

    I understand. I was just venting out a little about a teacher falling, even for a split second, for the lie of a student (who wasn't even a good student and the teacher knew who was how) as if us sub teachers don't know enough to tell the class their assignment before taking the attendance. I was just saying that in general, we sub deserve more respect than we have been getting (from the so called regular teachers). Having said that, I do not mean to imply *that* teacher showed me disrespect. Just that the impulse was to fall for the kid's lie for a split second.
     
  11. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    One of my worst subbing days ever was for a middle school class. Each period was louder and more out of control than the previous one. I had a revolving door of kids I sent into the hallway to collect themselves. I threatened detention and was returned with snarky remarks like "oh, I can't stay after school today." Really, the detention would have been for the entire group of kids I saw all day. There was no way to single out good versus bad behavior, because NOBODY behaved. At one point, I asked the class if this was the way they would be acting with their regular teacher.

    The kids all told me, yes. This was exactly the way they act for their regular teacher because she's new and doesn't believe in raising her voice with them. When I asked why she should have to do that, their response was "because we're kids."

    All of this was confirmed when one period got so loud the teacher in the adjoining room popped her head in and threatened detention. They actually quieted down for about five minutes after that and then got loud again.

    That teacher next door later told me it wasn't me, it was their regular teacher. She had no contol of them and there was no way any sub could possibly work with that in one day's time.

    So yes, Cassie. Classroom management is important, but no matter how good a sub might be at it, if he or she is walking into a situation that is regularly out of control, the kids aren't going to respond to someone they only have to see for one day. It may not be the original poster's skills in question. And I get a little tired of seeing people always place the blame for misbehaving students on a sub who is not familiar with the regular quirks of the group of kids.
     
  12. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    kids do NOT act the same for subs as they do for their teacher. Now I am not saying the regular teacher didn't lack classroom mgmt - that is possible.

    But I have seen very well-behaved classes turn into monsters when teacher is away. If fact one of our kinder classes had the teacher absent for 2 days. 2 seperate subs and the kids were so bad, I had to leave my classes to help the situation. I certainly hope the sub wasn't offended by me trying to help. But if the kids are acting crazy - due to sub or not - my job is to go in and help calm the situation. I know I would want a teacher to come help my class if my kids were acting up with a sub. In my school teachers are expected to help a sub that is having any kind of problem - whether its their fault or not.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In these tough economic times, unions are having a hard enough time trying to keep our seasoned, professional members...subs are low low low on our priority list in terms of negotions...sorry. So when I come back to my classroom after a sick day or personal day or workshop and knowing that I left incredibly detailed plans with step by step instructions, timing, resources listed, supplies indicated, pages post it-ed, what to say suggested and find that those plans have been disregarded, my class has lost control and that the sub has made his/her own decisions regarding the care and instruction of my class (based on what? several hours of interacting with them???) and that such decisions have caused me 'clean up' work?.... (Point in case- a sub who let a kid go to the bathroom during a timed drill, then took out crayons to use as math manipulatives when the student returned from the bathroom and 'taught' the kid how to subtract and left me a note that said the kid had neve had so much fun learning before....PS...I left explicit notes about this particular student....) yeah, I undermine them...I call the sub service and ask that such subs NEVER are placed in my room again. Sorry. I have no time for people who want to 'play school'...this is not a commentary on all subs...just the ones whom I block.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I wasn't trying to insult you. I'm letting you know that classroom management IS part of being a good sub, and if you're not managing the class, then you have some work to do in order to improve your work as a sub.
     
  15. SunnyGal

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    Mar 21, 2010

    Subber, did the teacher who came in actually say anything to you to make you think they were believing the student over you? We all know that we can't believe everything that all of our students tell us. When I have a sub, I know which kid is going to be honest with me and which one isn't. If that teacher was just checking on you, what makes you think they automatically believed the student?

    If there's a sub next door to me and the class is really loud, I'll go poke my head in just to see what's going on. It's not that I think that the sub is letting the class go crazy, I just want to make sure everything is okay.
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My first inclination on the story was that the other teacher was trying to make sure you have everything you need and do not need assistance. In a perfect world, the sub has absolutely everything they need to make the day go as smooth as possible. Sometimes this isn't the case. Personally if a student had told me that, I wouldn't have thought twice about what a sub was doing or not doing. I would have just made sure that the sub didn't need assistance such as locating plans. There has been a time or two when a sub has come into my room to ask me where things are or for assistance understanding a sub plan. It's not always a perfect scenario and we recognize this. Did the teacher actually say anything in response to what the student said. I didn't see any response that the teacher said something to undermine your authority. Sub teachers do have a different ball of wax than the classroom teacher. Checking on you is not the same thing as undermining you. It's actually a sign of respect and care that the person acted outside of their classroom and their own little world to begin with.

    Do I think staff can do things to undermine the subs' authority. I'm pretty sure that does happen. I just don't see it here. I would hope by stepping in, checking on you or even helping, you wouldn't take offense to that.

    What I'm seeing in your post is not that someone undermined you but that little things have been building up for a while and you are frustrated in general. This, I can understand.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The Grade 8 class last year was notoriously horrible for a sub; even the "good" kids were less-than-stellar. I worked in the classroom 2 periods a day; the kids knew me and knew the expectations I had for their behaviour (and knew that the truth of their behaviour would get back to their teacher when he returned). If there was a sub, I made it a point of stopping into the classroom, or just standing in the doorway, for a minute or two a few times during the day. I didn't need to say anything, my presence sent the message. My actions in no way were meant to undermine the authority of the sub; they were a show of support and an acknowledgement of a difficult group. (By the end of January, we started having me sub in the class and have the sub take over my support responsibilities.)
     
  18. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    agreed - I would see it as a sign of support for the sub. - like I have your back against the enemy) ;0) I do this for subs around my room.
     
  19. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Thank you for asking. I wa stalkign about the turning of his head when that kid made the statement. The only justification I could think for him is that like a lot of people do, he probably think I am younger than I actually am and assumed that there's a possibility that I started going about taking attendance before I told them about their asignment. Even then, I am really stretchign to give that justification because he had seen me subbing in that school and in fact for that class a week earlier. Fortunately, that time, the primary instigator student of that period had to go to basketball practice and so, things didn't get contagious like it went down on the second time. In both subbing of that class, it was that same period, in fact the same students, that were the rudest and taking out loudtotally ignoring that I was speaking in giving them their assignment and loudest by raising their voice, ignoring my request to keep their voice down since some student were reading following the direction.


    I wasn't blaming him for coming to help. He must have known some of the kids in that period were like that. I was talking about falling for the kid's line for even a split second. That's just unbelievable to me.

    Some of the kids in the last period was a little knaughty in that they wanted to sit by their freidns and talk but they NEVER were rude liek that. They really were more like kids, trying to play cats and mouse games but they ended up listening to me rather than getting louder. While those kids in the former period bahaved worse the second time, those kids in the last period cooperated better. If anyone still wants to say that this pattern indicates that it had to do with the sub's classroon management skills, that person must be living in another planet, not just another country.
     
  20. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    I knew that it wasn't his intention to undermine me when he turned his head. Just that, the good were already reading and so, he was not so keen on, even for a split second, to fall for the kid's lie, he would have *seen* that ON HIS OWN.


    By "little things have been building up for a while and you are frustrated in general", if you mean my experience here and there with some regular teachers or staff at schools, yes, you are right.

     
  21. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I think so jen12! :)

    Subber, good luck w/ getting back into the field.
     
  22. lindydish

    lindydish Rookie

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    I think it's important to note that you're working with high school seniors. Not only have they been in school since fall, they know what's expected from the past 11 1/2 years.

    I sub for high school classes 90% of the year and once you get a feel for the general behaviors, it's a fun job. Every class is different, but generally for seniors you shouldn't have to rule with an iron fist. Get them to quiet down at the very beginning (usually standing and staring at the class, or a quiet "I'll wait" will work to get their attention) and lay out your ground rules. Mine usually include the statement that once we get through everything the teacher left for us, which WILL happen, I'll give them the last 5 min. to chat with each other. This usually gets them in gear because they have something to look forward to. If they get out of hand, that 5 min. becomes something I can take away.

    Don't be so quick to feel insulted as a sub. I've been in your shoes before and it does feel like we're being "judged" all the time and we have to make up for all the horrific subs that are out there. Do your job, follow the plans, make sure the classroom is still standing at the end of the day and no student is hurt. :) The majority of teachers know what a tough job subbing is and are thankful that we're there. They want to support us and help, not judge and complain that we're not doing our job. (Again, just be darn sure you've followed those lesson plans that were left!)
     
  23. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Couldn't have said it better. Standing in front of the class and saying nothing BUT looking in charge is incredibly effective for getting their attention.

    Body language is really key - show confidence and ACT like you're in charge. The students really pick up on that. Students really are like dogs or baboons (pack animals) - they will follow the alpha (you) if you are that.

    And as long as you are professional, dedicated, and firm - teachers will appreciate you for that.
     
  24. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I'm sorry, but I simply don't see how "turning his head" equals "falling for the kids' lie". It seems more likely he was checking the rest of the class "on his own" to see if the other students were on task. Even if he did believe the kid - even for a split second - I don't see what harm it could have caused. Does this teacher know you and your experience personally? Even though the percentage is small, there are some bad subs out there, so it makes sense the teacher would assess the entire situation for himself.

    You've admitted he didn't say or do anything to actually undermine your authority or indicate he believed what the student was saying. I agree with the other teachers that he was probably just looking in to make sure everything was alright and see if you needed any help. Plus the fact that almost all kids "act up" when they have a sub and having a regular teacher step in is a very effective way to get a rowdy group back in control.

    I've subbed for almost two years now. Last year, I had an incident with a middle school class where the next-door teacher had to "step in" and call down the students because they had gotten loud enough to disrupt her class. Even though she didn't say anything at all to ME about the class behavior, I did feel like I had failed to control the class in that case since they were loud enough to make her stop her own class. Again, the teacher herself gave no indication of blame towards me at all, but as an aspiring teacher, I felt I had let the situation get too far out of control. I didn't take offense at that, though. Instead, I considered it a learning opportunity to improve my management skills.

    In two years of subbing, this is the only time another teacher stepped into my room to quiet the class down. Given my experience as a sub and student teacher, I feel I have a pretty good classroom management style, but I also realize I can always learn more strategies for handling loud or rowdy kids.
     
  25. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Last time I subbed I had a student teacher. The children will all about the room (and not doing their work). The student teacher said, "they're being better than normal."

    It was so frustrating balancing control of the students with allowing her control when she was teaching. Its one thing to have students move about, its quite another when none of them is on task because they are too busy being across the room talking to a friend.

    Also the student teaching kept giving this one boy card changes for very minor things - he was one of the best behaved in the entire room. And let other kids practically do back flips and scream without giving them one.
     
  26. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    I agree with you that high schoolers need not to be ruled with iron fist and I didn't. I also agree with you about different classes, differet schools, etc. That particular high school clicks with me. It was only a few students in that period that behaved like that. The instigator probably was just wanting attention and I did give him but I think he has a disorder of some sort wanting attention constantly to the point that he was disruptive. He didn't seem harmful despite his loudness but it was those few other, sitting close to each other but not close to him that took advanatge of his loudness. The first time around of my subbing, they didn't get loud as much since the loud instigator guy wasn't there for them to take advantage one. That just showed that those few kids were just hopeless. Even then, my post wasn't about those students as much as the teacher falling for the lies for a split second. Thank goodness he didn't aske me *literally* infront of them - that would truly be like undermining the sub - and my demeanor in response to the kid "If you're not talking, you'd have heard it".


    Anyway, thanks for your constructive post.
     
  27. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    I have noticed that and used that technique. But, it'd not work for those few kids in that period. They're literally acting like I was not even there. They're continuing with their chatting and laughing out loud. I could tell that most other kids were annoyed with them but they didn't want to be picked on by that gang and so they just focued on reading. Later (sometimes after the teacher left), I said to the class, addressing to those kids, and thanked them for their behavior. I didn't use the word "behavior". I used a more powerfiul word that conveyed that I was addressing them according to the age and grade, not like praising little kids.


    I have noticed that too and the overwhleming majority studnets in that schools are cool. In fact, I like them a lot. And I know that I am on the preferred list of subs at that site. But, at that moment nothing would work for those few kids, who were taking advantage on the constant loudness of the attention seeker. That nextdoor teacher had to tell them to act like seniors since thy're about to graduate. I think that got to them and made them realize how ridicuolus they had been acting.

    I know for a fact that *their* teacher does.
     
  28. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Thanks. I appreciate that.
     
  29. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Subber,

    You've done everything right, using all the techniques that works for 99% of the students 99% of the time. Unfortunately, you just hit that outlier 1% minority that will drive many regular teachers batty. And as a sub one doesn't have the knowledge or the secret trump card to pull to get that unruly minority to get back on task. I know, I've been there before...
     
  30. CD1980

    CD1980 Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2010

    That is an awkward situation, sometimes, when you're the substitute but there's a student teacher. When the ST has good classroom management and so forth, it's a cake walk for us. But when they don't....

    I had this situation recently (just for one class period), where the ST didn't have very good control. I didn't want to step on her toes or anything, so I just went around quietly putting out little pockets of disruption, then I whispered to the regular ed teacher when she returned that the kids had been a little rude. (It wasn't out of control, just the chatty kind of stuff that they try to pull with us substitutes all the time, only the ST hadn't quite learned how to handle it.)

    How do the rest of you handle it when there's a student teacher? What do you suppose our role should be?
     
  31. ms.

    ms. Comrade

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    I had substitute teachers with me while I was student teaching 4 times. My cooperating teacher wrote a note each time that I would do all the teaching (I had a significant amount of teaching experience before student teaching, and I had done my homework, so classroom management was a breeze for me. I worked really hard to get where I was.)

    It worked out very well with three of the four subs. However I really had a tough three days with the last sub. My CT left the note for the sub letting them know I was teaching all of the classes and I really didn't need any help. The principal was ok with this.

    The substitute decided otherwise, she would yell at my students. She would tell students they could use the restroom behind my back. This was really frustrating because around 1/4 of my class amazingly had to use the restroom. This would be in classes that I usually only one or two students would be excused to use the restroom during the whole class period. My school had a pretty strict policy about when/how students could be excused for the restroom (the exceptions being student with special medical needs.)

    I asked her politely if she received the note from my CT that I would be teaching. She snidely replied "Yeah, so." She would just complain that she was bored to death. (Remember this was a three day sub job, she was told by the administration that it was ok if she just brought a book in to read.) All I heard was constant complaining from her, which was really annoying. She even got on the nerves of the other teachers I worked with with her negative comments.

    Although I will admit it was a good experience, as I saw how much students try to take advantage of substitute teachers.
     
  32. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    I once subbed an elementary class with a ST. By the time I was called, it's been about 2 hours after the the school had started. By the time I got there, she was in the middle of teaching and so I didn't want to interupt her. She asked me whether she could continue and I said, "It's OK with me". My thought was that she'd supposed to be doing the teachign for practise anyway. Also, I figured that I'd do the teaching in the next session or so. So, I helped out, walking around and handling some kids that were talking, etc. Then, we needed to get something from the front office and so I went. The secretary asked me who's teaching care of the class. I said, ST was. The secretary asked why I wasn't and so I said, I didn't want to interrupt her. Later, when I was teaching, she went out to do some things. May be she went to the front office. Overall, it went well.

    I really do not know whether ST was supposed to do the teaching primarily or the sub is supposed to.

    There were a couple of similar situation prior to that but in those times, I was there from the beginning of the day and the ST and I split the work evenly.
     
  33. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Mar 27, 2010

    Wow, you describe this one school I work at TO A TEE. (You don't work there, do you? :p) When I have THAT CLASS, it's hit or miss (depending upon the activity assigned by the classroom teacher I guess). Thing is, it (management) will only tend to get worse, with class sizes going up up up.
     
  34. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    I've given detention to an entire middle school classroom before - and the principal doubled it.

    Does your school have discipline reports? No one ever explained the difference to me between a discipline report and a detention so I used to always use discipline reports. I preferred them because they also take down the student's version of what happened Well it turns out discipline reports are alot more serious and after three of them the child gets sent to a behavioral program, which explains why I never had any problems with the rest of the class after I mentioned I was writing one for someone
     
  35. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Mar 28, 2010

    I didn't know about discipline report. I doubt that we have one in, especially in one of the two districts I sub where, kids (in a school I do not sub anymore) have the attitude because they know that their parents would bail them out using *discrimination* ticket against the school. That high school I do nto sub anymore was so bad where the administration would avoid any situation that would involve the parents such that kids were impossible expect for honors classes where the majority were non Black kids. If I were to use the phrase "especially the black kids" that were extermely difficult, would I be called racist? But the school where I click with the kids have predominantly black kids than that school which I do not sub anymore. The school I click with is considered lower in income level btw. I think that what happens with the school I do not sub anymore is that those balck kids know that their parents would rather pick a fight with the school than discipline their kids and so ...

    Anyway, recently, I heard that the whole adminsitartion at that school was being replaced. I still wouldn't want to sub there. Not until those kids gardauate and a new set of kids arraive. But by then, I doubt that I'd be subbing still.
     
  36. dsj123

    dsj123 Rookie

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    Apr 1, 2010

    Another frustrating aspect of subbing is when you think you do a great subbing job for the day. The classes run smoothly, you get everything done that the teacher wants, you leave a detailed summary and so on... You would think that the teacher may request you next time - but quite often they don't. I just don't get it?!?!
     
  37. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Apr 1, 2010

    I was called in yesterday to take over a class. They canceled my math group, but that is a whole other can of worms.

    So, I went to the classroom, found the lesson plan. Very vague, very difficult to read.

    I couldn't find all of the materials she needed (she knew she would be out for weeks- she was out for a sporting event tournament). She also didn't leave enough worksheets for math, so I had to send a student to the office to get more copies made. It was a mess. She also wanted me to do a read aloud but didn't leave a book or tell me which book she would like me to read. So, I had to look through her books to find one that was related to their theme. Annoying, but I solved it.

    See, when I leave lesson plans, I try to be as specific as possible, I leave post-it notes on all worksheets and when to use them. I leave ENOUGH of the worksheets. I also leave ALL materials and books that you need out on the table, in order of when they are to be used. Oh, and I leave three names of students that the sub can trust if they are uncertain about something and need to ask a question. I had no clue who to trust in this class. Very frustrating.

    I've had subs complement on how wonderful the day went and how easy it was to find the materials and to follow my instructions.
     
  38. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Apr 1, 2010

     
  39. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Apr 1, 2010

    Don't get bent out of shape about that; you'll drive yourself bonkers. Just know that there are MANY reasons why you're not back--the teacher lost your contact info, maybe they have a close friend they wanna use, or maybe the teacher just doesn't place importance on your role... Whatever. Just don't fret over this.
     
  40. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Apr 1, 2010

    Oh, you didn't know that you as a sub are not supposed to have a such a smooth experience? There are *some* teachers who wouldn't want sub that the kids clicked with but then there are teachers who love just those subs.
     
  41. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Apr 1, 2010


    I don't identify them by ethinicity.
     

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