What a waste of time!

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Aliceacc, Jan 2, 2014.

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  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    At my school we are to have emergency sub plans available. They aren't much better than a study hall day this late in the semester and tend to be busy work. But it is something based on state standards.
     
  2. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I am certified to teach high school, but have only taught middle and elementary.

    Is it customary to have study hall as sub plans?

    I personally do not see any problem with it for 11th and 12th graders. Most subs cannot teach curriculum at that level, particularly honors or ap courses--which these probably are given the son checks grades daily, he seems devoted.

    In those kinds of classes, I can see having a more student-directed class period, allowing them to study and work on their problem areas and do any reviewing of concepts they are weak in. Work on missing, makeup, late assignments, or work on projects they may be doing.

    I can totally see that.

    Definitely not for elementary where I teach though.
     
  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Did all four teachers just leave no plans whatsoever? That seems very bizarre to me. Or did they just not leave enough work?

    I would have a hard time leaving relevant work to fill a 43 minute period on our first day back. We start new units. I'd probably have to leave a current event instead.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I think that might be a bit harsh.
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    This. I was out with food poisoning this year. They used my emergency plans the first day I was out. The second day my sped teacher found a current event for most of my classes. AP had a work day. CP 12 had a work day. I couldn't even walk down to my kitchen, let alone write a coherent lesson plan.

    I'm surprised how quick some posters are to jump on someone they don't even know.
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    If I had the flu, or was stranded in an airport somewhere, I likely would not have the necessary materials with me to plan lessons. I have a former coworker who tried to, threw up on her teacher's guide, and then was charged by the school system for it (another state from where I am now.) I guess that's what she got for trying to be responsible. If I am truly so sick that I can't get out of bed, my students are kit going to have much to do or meaningful lessons. I don't travel with my curriculum guides, so if I were stranded at an airport I wouldn't be able to send in plans, either.
     
  7. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I don't think so. I know emergencies come up, but you figure something out. You have some sort of busy work, something. Or even better, didn't some at the school realize that some kids were going to have hours of nothing? Couldn't someone bring in some sort of work?
     
  8. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I'm sorry if some of you feel that was harsh. I obviously wouldn't expect up to date plans in an emergency. That's why we have emergency plans. Yes, they are busy work, time fillers. Isn't that better, though, than a kid sitting for hours doing nothing?
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I think there is a distinct difference between teachers providing work in elementary compared to high school. Another English teacher could give my kids something to do. However, it's likely it would be busy work. It's also likely they wouldn't even know I was out until at least lunch.

    At the high school level, especially with my seniors, I refuse to leave busy work. They have enough to do.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    Yes. My students ALWAYS have something they can do. For my class or another. Having emergency lesson plans is more about behavior management than learning. Four classes of study hall would be boring to a fifteen year old but plenty of my students would love the opportunity. They could finish their reading for English class, work on a project, read ahead in their textbooks.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Shoot, I could think of a hundred different generic emergency plans where my students would actually be learning something and/or required to apply what they've already been learning. Am I the only one?
     
  12. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I didn't want to turn this into an elementary vs secondary battle. That's not what the thread is about. I'll bow out of this thread now. For the record, though, the busy work in my files is map reading and graphing skills for social studies, informational text reading for science and social studies, process skills for science, and current events for both. Not a coloring page in sight.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    If you say so.

    This is my point; people are very judgmental about how other people use their sick days. Who knows when something may occur in their lives and they will need to take an ill-timed day off? Personally, I think this is no one's business why a teacher calls in sick outside of the teacher and Admin.

    I agree.
     
  14. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I think all teachers should have emergency plans if they aren't able to make specific plans. I'm not okay with the idea of teachers giving a study hall instead of making plans. (But to clarify, I'm completely okay with a plan that gives students time to work on a project or essay for the class--I think there's a huge difference between this and a study hall.)

    I try to make my sub plans related to the content we are studying if possible, but if I am too sick or unable to write plans, I use my emergency plans. My emergency plans are usually a review activity, which I think is important anyways.
     
  15. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I completely agree.
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Busy work to me=not relevant to the course. I would never leave something like that.

    As mentioned previously my kids always have things to work on. They usually have independent reading and vocabulary. My seniors have an ongoing writing project with papers due approximately every two weeks. My AP students read approximately 100 pages of a novel per week. I see no need to assign extra work. I'm out maybe three days a year on average. It certainly doesn't hurt my students to have a day to work on assignments. And by day, I mean 43 minutes.
     
  17. Loveslabs

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    I don't understand how they got away with leaving nothing. We are required to have our plans set for at least three days ahead when we leave each day. Plus, we are required to have three days of emergency lesson plans at all times.
    When I left for break I had the first three days after break already set and ready to go. I could have been written up for insubordination if I hadn't done so before leaving. This is true for our whole system k-12, no excuses! Some high school language teachers tried to fight this and say it was too hard to leave emergency plans for foreign languages. They were told to suck it up and deal with it.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What you're leaving as work sounds completely appropriate for the type of course you teach. Most courses aren't as autonomous as yours, though.
     
  19. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I agree with this. I just want to make the point that we are out there :)
     
  20. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I agree that what you do is probably the best way to handle sub plans considering that you have ongoing projects, etc.

    For my class, my students mainly just have nightly work so they wouldn't have anything to work on with your method. I think for math, review activities are really beneficial and they usually don't need a teacher with them since they can help each other! I agree that busy work isn't ok, but I don't think all emergency plans are busy work.
     
  21. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Do you leave this information for the sub? Do you work with students that aren't seniors or in AP? I am curious what you do with them or what you would do with them? Please don't attack me for asking. I am asking out if curiosity since I teach primary.
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    You think the school year should be shorter?
     
  23. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Why?
     
  24. gr3teacher

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    For one, because at least half of my class would have been out anyway (seriously. At this very moment, 8 of my kids are out of the country and another 10 are at least 100 miles away from school). For another, I'm snowed in three states away, and there's absolutely no way at all I would have dared travel yesterday.
     
  25. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Oh yes! I always leave a list for the sub of things they can work on. I also make sure she/he knows where I keep my books (behind a curtain) for any kid who may claim not to have one! Our subs typically know our kids well though (we mostly have parents as subs), so I haven't had anyone take advantage.

    I do have sophomores too. I co-teach with them, so life continues as normal. When we're both out, they typically work on independent reading or vocabulary. They're a bit too needy to work on essays independently. We have too many sped kids to make that work.

    I've only ever had one class misbehave for a sub. She wrote demerits and that took care of that. I'm lucky I teach where I teach. I'm the only one who teaches English to these two grades, so I have complete control.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I agree with those who have said it really is between a teacher and his or her employer as to whether an absence is acceptable. My administrator does not want to know why we're taking a personal day, even if it's at a "questionable" time. As I was told when I started to explain last year, it's called a personal day for a reason. As for sick days, I honestly don't even think I should have to reveal specifics when using my alloted days. "Sick" days can be extremely personal.

    One day this year, I had no sub plans. I had my reasons, and I felt not a bit bad about it. Life happens. Trust me...I would have rather been at school. That was a first for me, and hopefully a last. But it happened and everyone survived. That said, I do think plans with meaning should be left under most all circumstances.
     
  27. Jerseygirlteach

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    I respectfully disagree. As a parent, you can bet I care a great deal if my child's teacher isn't leaving lesson plans or is calling in sick just to extend a vacation (if that's what happened in this case).
     
  28. AdamnJakesMommy

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    I'm not being argumentative only presenting my opinion--and this is completely from a mother's point of view. Taking my teacher hat totally off.

    I honestly wouldn't care if the teacher called in sick for an extended vacation--not my business and there could be a very good reason why it was extended, also not my business.

    I would care if my child had nothing to do though. However, my son is 6 and has no sense of self-initiative, it really would be the teacher's ineptitude if my first-grader had "study hall." BUT, If my son was 16, I would be irritated with him if he did nothing all day because four of six classes were study hall--study hall may be their sub plans and they probably work out great lasting maybe 45 minutes of the day every once and awhile allowing kids to get caught up, make up work, study notes, work on projects etc.-- So I think study hall is a perfectly legit sub plan for high schoolers because high schoolers are capable of independent study--and should be encouraged to do so.

    BUT! This situation seems so bizarre because so many teachers were out leaving so much time for study hall. So, normally, every once in a while it *might* be one maaaayyyybbeee two classes if two teachers were out that were study hall So clearly, having so much free time is a HUGE exception to the norm.

    If Adam was 16 instead of 6, I would expect him to have read the next chapter in his books, took some Cornell notes while reading it, worked on any work he possibly could from other classes, worked on projects, work on foreign language grammar/vocab/ etc. I was in high school not too long ago, even when there is no assigned work--a high schooler doesn't have "nothing" to do. And considered the excessive teacher absences as a fluke that unless it happened again, I wouldn't spend my energy worrying about it.

    I'm not saying the teachers were right or wrong in this situation, but I wouldn't be vitriolic about it either. And as a mother, I wouldn't be mad at the teachers in this situation. But that's me. And maybe I'm wrong.
     
  29. 2ndTimeAround

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    I would love to hear them.

    I have one week left of instruction. There isn't anything thAt I can think of that students can do independently that would have them actually learn instead of review. The plans I have on file cover material we've already discussed in class. I'm always up for new ideas so please share.
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    You disagree with what exactly?

    I said meaningful plans should be left. I said one time in my over seven years of teaching I did not leave plans and instead had another teacher take my class and roll with it. I appreciate her friendship and for being there for me when I needed her. There are so many things that happen to teachers outside of the classroom every day that trump lesson plans...

    I said personal days are just that in my district...personal. They do not want to know why we are using a personal day. I said nothing about extended vacations, but that would be approved in my district.

    And finally I said I think sick says should also be a private matter or just between employee and employer. Do you think parents should have a say in whether sick days are approved?
     
  31. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Ahh. Your original post came across as generalized and not specific to this year. It sounded to me based on where it was in the conversation that you meant any year that there were 2 days in school after Christmas Break.

    I wonder how many are still away because you don't have school until Monday. I know many families had different plans this year because of how the holiday landed and the break that was given because of it.
     
  32. AdamnJakesMommy

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    I totally totally agree. Why people take sick/personal leave is NO ONE'S business (by no one I mean parents, co-workers, and strangers on internet forums). Abuse of time of thereof is between the employee and the employer.

    What a cynical world we live in that people are barraging total strangers who weren't at school today without having a clue as to what their reason was. I'm sure some of them were sick, I'm sure some of them weren't. I'm sure some are unable to catch a flight back home, I'm sure someone sat at home eating bon bons watching Days of Our Lives. Right or wrong, people do this.

    The only problem with this particular situations is that on this particular day 4 out of 6 teachers were out and he had a bunch of study hall time. And the thing of it is, maybe one--2 would be pushing it were playing hooky. The rest were probably out for real, legitimate reasons.
     
  33. gr3teacher

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    Honestly, knowing my families... I don't think many of them would have stressed about their kids missing two days of school for an extended vacation. I even had a few parents come out and tell me that their kids wouldn't have been in this week even if we had school.

    And truthfully, I probably wouldn't have come in either, even if we weren't snowed in and we had school. I've worked in this district for four years, and other than my daughter being born, I've only ever taken one sick day. A couple extra days with my parents would have taken precedence over babysitting half of my class.
     
  34. Jerseygirlteach

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    I disagree with what I perceived to be a justification for using sick days for any personal reason and that this is only a matter of concern between the teacher and employer. If that was not your intent, I apologize. Also, I'm sure you had your reasons for not leaving plans - emergencies happen. I was speaking more generally about the idea repeated in this thread about secondary teachers not needing to leave plans. I don't agree with this and it sounds to me like a free ticket to zone out, text, or talk to your neighbor,
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    "Apply[ing] what they've already been learning" could definitely be a hardcore review activity. I don't see anything wrong with review, particularly if the only alternative is "nothing". In my class, everything we learn can be applied through extended practice, often through large translation activities. It's not always easy to find passages that don't have too much vocab and grammar beyond what we have learned, but it's possible.

    If you teach Latin, I'd be happy to share my plans with you.
     
  36. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't think I implied sick days should be used "for any personal reason". I said:

    "...it really is between a teacher and his or her employer as to whether an absence is acceptable. As for sick days, I honestly don't even think I should have to reveal specifics when using my alloted days. "Sick" days can be extremely personal."

    And what I meant was that I don't think I should be required to tell my principal that I am dealing with a certain physical or mental issue. So I don't agree with requiring a doctor's note as those alone can be very revealing.

    I didn't say or mean sick days should be used for any old reason.
     
  37. AdamnJakesMommy

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    And in the midst of all this discussion--

    You know that feeling when your sinuses start draining and you know it's a cold coming on. That's me right now. I will be there though Monday...lol.
     
  38. RadiantBerg

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    But you had multipurpose emergency plans that you made up in September that were used so it was not a biggie.
     
  39. RadiantBerg

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    At least you know for next year to make the essay due at an earlier date!
     
  40. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I don't think doctor's notes are necessary---teachers are grown ups. Plus I can't afford an urgent care co-pay that the teacher's plan has $87 dollars a pop. So if I'm sick, I'm gonna bear it out at home. And almost always, it's a wasted 87.00 because they always tell me to get Sudafed and saline spray because I have a virus, or I'm throwing up because I have a stomach bug and I need to drink plenty of water. If I already know what I have and what they're gonna say, I'm not wasting my money for a doctor's note. If that's the case I'll go into work and have them send me home, which has happened before :(

    But I have only been out sick one time this year, and it was a scheduled sick day--so plans were laid out in advance. I had a doctor's appointment and my infant had his shots/well-check, with the drive (I live 50 miles from the school and the doctor's offices are an additional 35 miles in the opposite direction--and no there are none in between I live in rural America) I would've got to the school around 2:15. Worth my time and gas when the kids are at pullouts and I won't see them at all? I don't think so.
     
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