Warning to Subs--CYA

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by jazzminjoy, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Nov 17, 2006

    I've only been subbing for about a month, and I recently noticed something. The office gives each sub a form to fill out with comments. Well, that form goes back to the Office of Education!

    There is very little room for comments on that form, so I write extensive comments on separate paper. On the official form, I now no longer write anything negative. If I say on that form that I had some problems controlling the 3rd period class or didn't finish the agenda or any other problems--guess who looks bad? The sub. It stays part of your record.

    So, for now on, I pretty much just write along the lines of "Thank you for having detailed lesson plans and a well-organized classroom. I followed the lesson plans. All went well. Detailed notes are on your desk. It was a pleasure subbing for you. Thank you."

    Then I put the details (good and not too bad) in the personal notes that I leave for the teacher on his/her desk.

    There is a place on the official forms for the teacher to leave a comment and decide whether or not he/she would let you sub for him/her again. I recommend periodically obtaining a copy of that feedback.

    Anyway, cover your a**. If there is an "official" form, keep it "clean." Don't put down anything that will cause others to question your abilities as a sub.

    Also, make the teacher you are subbing for look good. Start with something positive about the teacher.

    Hope this helps. (I missed out on a long term sub position because I stupidly mentioned on the "official" form that a fight almost broke out in a special ed class I was subbing. (It was my 2nd week.) The regular teacher wound up breaking her contract to move to LA and be a Hollywood screen writer, and now another sub has the class until a replacement is found. That could have been a long-term position for me.)
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Nov 18, 2006

    This sounds like very good advice from a veteran sub.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 18, 2006

    Here's how it works here . . .

    The regular classroom teacher sees the sub's "official" notes from the day, and then we write down how things went from our perspective and turn that in to the office . . . where BOTH pages (they're printed front & back of each other) go on file.

    I had one sub write that she had followed all plans, the kids were great, and she'd had a good day. She'd not so much as OPENED my sub folder. The kids didn't get their report cards much less their assignments. The room was wrecked, and there were kids out of the room most of the time. Boy, the things they told me on their "debriefing" we had on the day I returned.

    I vote for honesty! The sub I had two days this week while I was at a conference said that period 1 was great & did all the work, period 2 was great and most got finished, period 3 was fair but seemed to work fine, period 4 didnt' work and acted awful, and period 6 was "enthusiastic and excitable". That's pretty much a reflection of a typical day. My 4th period hasn't been with me long, and they're quite the bunch to handle. Sixth period is chatty, but does great work.
     
  5. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Nov 18, 2006

    I vote for honesty, too. What I'm talking about is different. It is writing a generic positive summary on the official form (which only has a few lines for comments anyway), and then providing very detailed, honest information for the teacher (not the Board of Ed.).

    We are not talking about bad subs. I don't think they would be reading these forums trying to improve themselves anyway.

    I'm saying, if a sub had problems, let the teacher know, just don't make it part of a public record.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 18, 2006

    I still vote for honesty. Brief, but honest.
     
  7. Shane Steinmetz

    Shane Steinmetz Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2006

    Hi, jazzminjoy!

    I understand what you're saying. Substitutes that have problems with classes sometimes do look like they are the ones with the issues if other people find out about it. My county's substitute training program actually has a tip in it that says not to believe the "good teacher myth," which states that only incompetent teachers ask for help from the outside or complain that there are problems. Nevertheless, I still get the feeling from the other teachers and staff members that I can only ask for help so much before it begins to eat away at my appearance.

    I don't think that was stupid of you. How did it make you lose the substitute position?

    I'm not so concerned about my appearance that I'm going to put up a wall. If I've got something to say about a class that I know represents fact, I'm going to write it down. I wouldn't care if it became public record or not, since it would be only the truth.

    Besides, the point of a public record is for the truth to be revealed for people that want to know it. If you have to write generic comments on them, what's the point of even having the system?

    That's like at my McDonald's where we're asked to "bump" orders off early just to keep drive-thru times down before the order's even been assembled. It makes our record time look better, but if it's all about looks, what's the point of even having a record?

    Who makes a Big Mac in five seconds, anyway?
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 22, 2006

    Maybe, if you have something negative to say, you should say how to postively handled the situation. For example, "the class was a bit chatty today. I taught them the tootsie roll, lollipop quiet chant, and they were able to quiet down for the day." Or, "Two students attempted to fight. I spoke to them about the importance of talking about their problems. I was able to help them come up with a plan to solve their problem."
     
  9. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Nov 23, 2006

    That's good advice. In my particular case, the aid broke up the almost fight. She is a very negative person and was always yelling at some of these special ed kids. I know her attitude had a lot to do with the atmosphere in the room. Upon reflection, I'm somewhat glad I didn't get the long-term position. The steady work and pay would have been great, but I enjoy the variety and challenges of regular subbing.

    What's the tootsie roll, lollipop quiet chant?
     
  10. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 24, 2006

    Apparently it comes from Dr. Jean. I asked my kids if they knew what a tootsie roll was and had them pretend to unroll the tootsi roll in the air. Then I taught them the tootsi roll chant.
    Tootsie roll, (pretend to unroll in the air, I usually do this quiety when the kids get too loud, and they follow up by saying the chant. I don't have to say a word! Then we continue with what we were doing)
    lollipop, (pretend to lick a lollipop)
    We've been talking, (use hand to make the talking motion)
    Now we stop! (put hand in front of mouth)

    so it's: tootsie roll, lollipop, we've been talking, now we stop!
     

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