Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Mrs_Goatess, Aug 12, 2006.
Oct 17, 2006
October 17, 2006
Today, I substitute taught at a high school.
Up until today, I had only taught at one high school. That particular high school had its up and down moments, but the students were generally well-behaved; we all completed work. I got along fairly well with the few staff members I knew there.
The high school I taught at today was a new school for me. This will make the second high school I've ever taught at. It was an assignment for "mathematics." I put that word in quotation marks because the voice that repeated the subject area to me sounded angry. I heard the job number, the school name, and then -- angrily... MATHEMATICS!! It sounded like the person doing the recording was woken up from sleeping by being slapped in the face.
Or, maybe it was an English teacher doing the recording. We all know that math is English's mortal enemy.
In any case, this particular school has a block schedule. It has four periods, and each period is one and a half hours long. A good class would be a particularly wonderful experience... while a bad class would be heck for over an hour.
I came in, got the folder and forms I needed, and went to class. Unfortunately, I was greeted with a locked door. I went back to the substitute contact and asked if I forgot a key, and he told me that they were already supposed to be unlocked and that he'd send someone to unlock it. I went back to the door a couple of minutes later to find that it was still locked. Fortunately, I ran into another teacher (a full-time teacher) who had a key that worked.
First period was the worst period of the day. Most of the students couldn't follow the simple task of completing a worksheet and NOT talking, and I heard or saw several instances of vulgarity, use of music devices and card-playing. This one annoying group of people kept rapping and asking me "do you like that?" over and over again. Despite my repeated attempts to get them to sit down, they would not stop! This was such a large class.
My lack of familiarity with them and the lack of an available system of discipline made it hard to work with the class. I had only two options -- "verbal warning" or "referral to the office." The students told me that they were a bad school, that the teacher usually let them do what they were doing, and that the referrals to the office were a joke -- they'd just get warned and sent back after five minutes, and that it happened all the time.
This first period class made me seriously reconsider having this school on my list. At the end of the day, I was about ready to delete them from my list. Oddly enough, the teacher and a few others seemed to not expect any problems from the students. The teachers said to take names down "just in case." "Just in case" my eye! Change that to "every case." There were no seating charts or assigned seats, so how was I supposed to even get an idea of who was who? Asking names when in the process of writing a referral or detention doesn't work. The strategy of having students write their name on something right away worked somewhat, but many of the students didn't write a name until the period was over or their assignments were done. Then, they turned them in. (I probably should have had them keep the papers on their desks.)
Second period wasn't as bad. Most of the discussions were related to class work. There was this polite and quiet girl that sat next to me. She was hard-working and kept to herself, but she asked me personal questions. She asked, "Can I ask you a personal question?" and went on to ask if I was gay. She said, "Sorry, but my gaydar was really going off. I just had to know."
Pfft. Yeah, whatever. Some of the other students asked me if I was married or had a girlfriend. I asked them why THEY wanted to know, and the response I got was mostly "DUUUHHH -- I DUNNO!"
That's right -- you don't, and that's how it's going to stay! Arrgghh..
I had lunch. It took about ten minutes to find the teacher's lounge. The school had a cafeteria just for teachers! I grabbed a bite to eat and sat down with one another substitute I knew and worked with at previous assignments. I didn't have much time to eat, though, and had to run off.
On my way, I saw some interesting things. I saw girls and guys joined by hands or hugging and kissing, but came across one guy that was making VERY obscene gestures and body movements to a girl from behind her back. Obviously, they were friends, but as I walked by, I just zoomed in on the guy and remarked, "Interesting." I thought maybe they'd take the hint that what they were doing was inappropriate.
Five years later, as I came around the corner, he shot back with... "Your face is interesting!"
Whoops. If I looked older, that probably would have meant something. Instead, I probably came off as a nosey peer that had a snide remark.
I probably should have walked back, showed him my badge, and told him that a visit to the office would have been simply fascinating. But, I was running out of time as it is, so I scurried on.
It was my planning period. I got a note from the office asking me to cover for another teacher. I went into the classroom, which had a teacher's assistant and a full-time teacher in the room with me. The class size was unusually small.
The teacher's assistant and the students were very emotional. One student NEVER focused on his work. (The teacher's assistant said she didn't even know why he bothered coming to school!) Another student kept asking me personal questions. The other students were mostly busy doing their own thing. The teacher had "groups" setup for the students, where'd they'd alternate every 20 minutes to a different activity. This had a startling resemblance to kindergarten and first grade centers.
I found out that this is a special education class. That's not a problem for me, of course, since I've worked with that area before. The teacher's assistant and full-time teacher said that I was doing a great job. The teacher's assistant remarked that most substitutes that come in are scared and don't say anything, but she liked how I immediately took charge and dove right in.
I think that this "take-charge" attitude is actually what makes some of my high school students mad at me, but oh well! Order and discipline don't stop just because you're in high school, and substitutes don't equate to a free day of breaking rules and doing whatever you please.
Big words. Unfortunately, at the high school level, I manage to reach a 40 - 60% effectiveness rate.
I'm heavily dependent on the full-time teacher to provide a foundation of discipline and order. It helps when the full-time teacher actually provides identifying information like seating charts or pictures for the students and has some kind of discipline system in place. When teachers leave substitutes with the ability to write detentions, it's all even better because I have an intermediate method of discipline that I can rapidly hand out instead of sending five people to the office at the same time.
That five people at the office situation was my main concern, also. When the misconduct happens as a class, what are you supposed to do? Surely, you can call on other teachers, campus advisors, and send people to the office, but I'm almost certain that there's limits. After a while, people will start to turn their eyes towards you and view you as the person that has a problem managing the classroom.
When I asked the students to do simple things like sit in their seat, face forward, please don't talk, and the like, they replied by saying that I was obviously new to the school and had a lot to learn.
I'm just going to give the administration and staff the benefit of the doubt, though, and ignore the students' comments that they have free reign and that the administration gave up on them long ago. The next time I come to this school, I'll seek the administration and staff's advice on how to handle the students and how to work with these scenarios. Maybe they can elaborate on how to deal with groups of students that are causing problems.
After all this, I went to go to Denny's with another substitute I had seen and co-taught at different assignments. We talked over some vanilla Sprites and exchanged horror stories. She had a student stand up and call her co-teacher the "B" word. Despite my problems with the students, I didn't have a direct confrontation like that.
I will say that moving students around the classroom is a good intermediate discipline method and helps chop problems down very quickly if done right. If you move a student next to someone he or she hates, there will probably be no talking. Most of my middle and high school students start the gripe machine and start begging for "one more chance" before being moved. If it isn't that, they start telling me how they weren't doing anything wrong and how they shouldn't be moved. My logic is that if they get that emotional or upset about moving, they need to move! Students that are working diligently on their work and are not distracted by something more entertaining won't get bent out of shape about being asked to move.
I really need to take some more workshops on classroom management and discipline. Maybe I'm missing something here.
I will be teaching fourth grade at a new elementary school tomorrow.
Oct 18, 2006
I was called at 4:30 yesterday to cancel what I had planned on doing today. After several calls, it looks like I'll be staying home today.
Mrs G- I hate the cancels. What do you mean by "after several calls?" Do you mean that others called you and you said no because you thought you had the job today? If that's it, that stinks!!
I was off Monday. Yesterday I did only half day, and am off again today. Very strange because I have been very busy lately. I do have 2nd grade tomorrow but as of right now I am off on Friday due to a cancellation. Next week I have something every day though.
It's actually okay I guess because I have a practice test tonight for my content exam so I can do a little studying and tackle Mount Laundry.
Oct 19, 2006
My first day ever subbing was Monday. It was the first day back to school after a two week fall break. (First day of school was July 31.) My assignment was an all day Special Ed class at the middle school--with no lesson plans! Fortunately, there was an aid who helped me set up a schedule.
Today (Wednesday) was my 2nd day subbing. It was at the brand new elementary school that just opened Monday. The district must have lots of money. There are at least four brand new computers with flat screen monitors, new furniture, and smart boards in each classroom. I taught a 4th/5th grade combo class.
Tomorrow (Thursday) I'll sub a 8th grade science class. I stopped by today to see what I'll be covering. It calculations involving force, mass, acceleration, velocity, and momentum.
Monday and Tuesday I'll sub for 2nd grade. Hope I get an assignment Friday. This is working out great so far.
souptunuts: When I find myself with a day off, I'm friendly enough with the sub coordinators to give the school and call and see if they needed anyone at the last minute. Actually, just after I posted, a school called me back to say they did need me after all! (The coordinator had forgotten to check her email and found that the teacher wasn't coming in!) I was able to make it in just in time to have everything ready for the students!
So after Monday and Tuesday off because of teacher work days, Wednesday was 8th grade History and today and tomorrow (and next week) are 10th and 11th grade math. The teacher I'm filling in for doesn't have any planning period (*yikes* WonderTeacher!) so I'll see how I do.
Oct 22, 2006
October 20, 2006
On this day, I taught at a high school art class.
Now, art isn't one of my registered subject areas. I decided to explore a new area and try teaching the subject. As I may have expressed previously, most of the teachers in this county prepare their substitute lesson plans like the person running the classroom knows nothing about the subject area he or she is covering. In my case, that was a great decision! The only thing I remember about art is what I had in "special area" from elementary school, "art" from my 6th grade elective program, and a brief "drawing" course in my high school.
The teacher had clear and concise lesson plans. They were almost crystal clear, but I guess they weren't clear enough for me because I made an error.
The first two periods had to complete an art test. The teacher left three different versions of the tests to pass out to the students so that they couldn't look over to their neighbor's paper and copy answers. The different versions were actually stacked on top of each other on the desk, but when I went to execute the lesson plan, I only passed out the top pile! I thought that the different versions were already organized in the pile, and that everything beneath it was other work. I didn't want to risk violating the sanctity of the teacher's belongings (which brings fire and brimestone), so I left it alone. I didn't realize, however, that everything there was for me.
I take teachers' lesson plans VERY literally. I have always followed them right down to what I perceive to be the letter. Unfortunately, most of the teachers I substituted for don't write in a crystal clear fashion, so it becomes a little open-ended.
Take, for example, an fourth grade elementary class I substituted for before this day. The teacher said to have the students do their daily oral language and mathematics, and said that the information was on the board. She left an answer key on the desk.
Boom. That was it.
Okay. Do I pass out papers? Do they already have papers? Do they already have folders? If they do, where are they, or do they possess them in their backpacks? Do I grade the papers, or do we go over it as a group?
A lot of the times, I can figure it out. In the case of this art class, I figured out that I did something wrong by second period. I was actively monitoring the class (i.e., walking around slowly and wandering a path) to ensure that students were not cheating. The likelihood of a problem is very low.
Third period had to work on some drawings.
I decided to surprise the class by taking off my jacket, my tie, and my "substitute teacher" tag and placing it in my pocket. I sat down at a random chair and watched as the students came in. They seemed to be looking around for a teacher, and some of them thought they saw the regular teacher walking by outside. The truth was, though, that she was halfway across the state!) I guess imagining your regular teacher happens when you think you don't have any teacher at all. Maybe I just should've clocked out and left them to their imaginary teacher. I mean, if they can imagine their regular teacher there, certainly they can imagine her maintaining order and making sure the tests are done as well, right?
At the beginning of the period, I stood up, walked to the front of the class, and introduced myself as I slipped my tag out of my pocket and put it on.
Since the period had to work on some drawings, it was a chatty period. That was just fine, though. I managed to talk to a group of students about various things. I do wish they would watch their language, though!
One of the girls brought up an assistant principal that I had in middle school. She claimed that he was a pervert. She said that he had a tendency to call in girls that were written up for dress code violations and ask them to bend over so he could "see."
That doesn't make any sense. If someone's violating the dress code, wouldn't you see from the outside without having to take a closer look?
I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt that this was just a rumor. Although my parents and I didn't agree with some of the ways he handled certain situations, I had no evidence to believe that he was that kind of school board employee.
A few of the students got carried away with throwing things. I quickly quashed this activity. One of them even decided to playfully throw a crumpled ball of paper at me. I gave her a sarcastic look, told her not to throw things, and set it on the desk in front of her, telling her that it was hers. Her friends said she had too much chocolate.
That class was excellent. They were (relatively) well-behaved and had a great personality. They also got work done.
The next period was a trip to the alternate dimension I've been seeing a lot of lately. I had a hard time with a few students in particular. The problems made the entire period sour.
I was following the seating chart to take attendance when I found that one young man wasn't sitting in his seat. I asked him what his last name was to verify his place on the seating chart, and he replied (in a manner I didn't like) that he was the only person with that first name in the room. I asked him to move to his proper seat. He replied by saying that the teacher had him sit there.
I received no notice from the teacher that a seat was moved. I only had the information she left for me to go on.
I asked him to move again, and he said when he was ready. He said that he would move after he was done with what he was doing.
I replied by telling him that if he wasn't sitting in his seat, I would mark him absent. Other students tried to soften the situation by trying to convince me to simply mark him present and let him sit there, but he brushed off what they said and continued sitting where he was. He told them that I could take it up with the full-time teacher -- of course, he was talking to his friends and not to me, but he took care to refer to me when I was sitting right there.
I didn't have any referrals, so I decided to get up and go to the nearby classroom to get some. The pottery teacher had some referrals for me and asked what was going on. She called the student to the entrance for a one-on-one conference.
He tried to claim that I started off by being rude by threatening to mark him absent. He said that if I had asked him to move politely, he would have done so. I told him that I did and said that I would mark him absent only after he refused. He just repeated what he had said initially. We went around in circles a few times before the other teacher told the student that this wasn't a debate, and asked me if it was alright for him to sit in his seat. I said that he really needed to sit in his seat. He said alright, and agreed to move.
After we came back in, I directed him to his seat. As the door to the other teacher's room shut, I told him -- in a neutral way, without any sarcasm or specific tone of voice -- "thank you."
As I went to go sit back down, he said, "I'm not doing it for you. I'm doing it for her because she's cool."
This guy was slowly pulling at my nerves. At the time, I didn't feel that a referral was warranted. I added onto my report to the full-time teacher what was going on so that she could deal with the situation and take the course of action she thought was appropriate.
Another student got up to talk to the student. The class was mostly quiet. Given this and everything that happened, I didn't want another student talking to him. I asked the standing student to sit down.
The student that I was having problems with just looked at me, gave me a look, looked forward, and muttered that the classroom was a dictatorship. One of his friends from behind him agreed. He was just adding momentum onto what the problematic student was doing.
The problematic student got up to get something from a cabinent -- probably art supplies. His friend from earlier remarked to him -- clearly mocking me -- that he had "better sit down." The problematic student replied with a word beginning with "F" and a word following it. After reiterating the moment in my mind several times, I came to a conclusion as to what he said. I thought that the need to for disciplinary action was now overwhelming, so I wrote him up.
I wrote so much on the referral that it crossed over into the administrator's section of the form. I wrote him up on insubordination and vulgarity. I was considering adding a count of disruption to the list of offenses, but decided to leave the first two by themselves.
After all of this, he kept asking me my age. I kept refusing to answer either of his questions, which spawned a mini-argument with another student in another part of the room. She made quick work of my serious intent to refuse answering by asking why I didn't just answer and then telling everyone her age sarcastically. I asked her why she was making a big deal out of it if it wasn't a serious issue. She said that she wasn't, and I asked why were having that discussion. I asked her to return to her work.
The problematic student then started asking me if I was married, over and over. I refused to answer and eventually asked him why HE wanted to know. He said he was just curious.
A student near me muttered to me, "Maybe he likes you." I told her that was mean... although, it probably would have had more of an effect if I wasn't chuckling as I said it. The problematic student and everyone else didn't seem to notice what was said, though, so I just moved on.
I dropped the referral off at the office during lunch. The lady thanked me and said, "We'll be sure to call him in as soon as possible... on Monday."
Well, I'm not going to be there then! I'm sure the situation will be handled fine.
After fourth period, I went to go get lunch. I had my planning period and my lunch period right next to each other, so I would have an extra long break. I ate a small school lunch with what little cash I had.
I was walking throughout the school cafeteria when everyone suddenly started raising their fists and cheering. They were all gathered around in clusters, apparently staring at one area. I walked up to see an unusually-dressed female being held by the arm by a campus advisor towards the Dean's office.
I was actually on the way to the office myself because I wanted to get permission to leave campus for my long break. There were clusters of students gathered in front of the Dean's office. Two campus advisors urged the students to clear the area with no avail. One of them went behind the door of a nearby room and used her radio -- probably to call for backup.
I asked a few students what happened. Apparently, a transexual male got into a fight with a girl. From the looks of the situation, I'm guessing that she was standing up for him/herself over some issue of his/her lifestyle choice. Wouldn't that be the reason why everyone was cheering? I hope they weren't cheering just because they wanted to see a fight. That would be barbaric, but I guess I remember seeing that behavior in my own peers when I was going to middle and high school.
After that, the rest of the day was a piece of cake. I got permission to leave campus and got some extra food and a large drink a local fast food restaurant (no, not McDonald's!) and then went back. The last two periods were advanced placement classes that basically ran on auto-pilot.
Fifth period consisted of only four or five people. The full-time teacher wrote in her lesson plans, "Now, you can relax! These students know just what to do and may use the computers and printers."
They tried to entertain me with political satire that slammed George Bush, but I had them turn off the political satire. I couldn't allow politics to enter the classroom like that; it could be interpreted as my endorsement of a particular President or party, which I wasn't really supposed to do -- despite the fact that many other teachers (especially social studies ones) slam him in front of their students regularly.
We did discuss it briefly, but I refrained from sharing my own views. The truth is that I don't really have one, anyway, even though I should. I can vote now, but I don't have to worry about exercising that right for two years -- at least, when it comes to the Presidential election.
The rest of the day went well. Afterwards, I went back to the neighboring teacher I spoke with earlier and told her everything that happened. She said that the full-time teacher wouldn't be surprised; the problematic student "drives her up the wall," so she wouldn't be surprised to see my detailed note on him. She said that he once behaved that way in her class as well, but suddenly decided to behave well for some reason.
We discussed a few of my experiences and had a pleasant conversation. With that, the day concluded. I look forward to coming back to this place soon.
I continue to compare this high school to the one I had last Tuesday. I figured out by talking to various people in school and at McDonald's that the school I was at today -- for which I have substituted at many times -- is known as possibly the best school in the state with advanced students that take their education seriously. The other school I had Tuesday is known as the worst school to substitute at in this region of the county. The students from the other high school and others from my McDonald's workplace said that the "good" high school, on the other hand, was a place full of "rich snobs."
So, I've only substituted at two high schools -- one closest to Heaven, and the other closest to the other place. It seems that the "other place" keeps losing substitutes. I have decided that I will not take that school off my list, unless I'm mistreated by the staff, of course... but I expect their support, since finding substitutes for that place is probably a problem. I'm a little scared to face the full-time teacher I substituted for there, though. She had high expectations of her students, and I nervously wrote that note with a lot of negative -- but true and professionally-made -- observations about her class. I hope that she doesn't go "elementary" on my behind and start criticizing my performance.
I won't give up on those students. I will do whatever I can as a teacher to make the environment over there suitable for learning. As a substitute, exactly how much can I alter the course of the students' achievement and behavior in the classroom, though? You'd think that as someone who just shows up once in a while, the impact would be relatively small. I will try to do what I can.
This Monday and Tuesday, I will teach mathematics as a nearby middle school.
Mrs_Goatess, I'm sorry to hear about your cancellations. It is frustrating!
But, I'm registered all over the county, so if one school cancels an assignment for me, there will often be another one to step right up and give me a new one. I'm only registered in this region; if I registered county-wide, it would probably be a guarantee of substitute teaching every day. I haven't done that, though, because I haven't completely assessed the increased distance to schools outside of my region.
souptunuts, I agree. If I get up in the morning and get dressed for work only to find that my job's no longer there, I'll continue with a different job -- maintaining my room and bathroom! (I'll try, anyway. My body seems to want to shut down whenever I'm not going places for work.)
jazzminjoy, I understand why you enjoyed substituting at your brand new elementary school. I've noticed that a new school with fresh buildings and classrooms seems to bring fresh attitudes from the students and teachers.
Of course, I'm basing this on my experience with one relatively new middle school, so I could be wrong.
Substitute teaching for an ESE class can be difficult. I had a situation similar to yours earlier in the school year. The teacher had an absence without notifying the teacher's assistant and didn't leave clear lesson plans.
Actually, the lesson plans weren't even directed toward me -- they were directed toward the assistant! She was running the floor for the beginning of the day. She helped coordinate my management of the classroom so that I could run the activities independently.
I'm glad that your substitute teaching is working well for you. How did your assignment go on Thursday? I haven't had many problems with 8th grade, but some of my referrals have come from that grade level.
I would be delighted to hear more of the details from your endeavors.
Agree- I can wing things great but I do like it if the teacher could give a little housekeeping direction even if they are vague on the lesson plan. Such as "have them do the daily oral lang in their orange journals which they bring to class- do not collect this" or "have them do the math assignment on the board, showing all work and turn in to the math tray on back counter-don't bother grading"
If they can't do this then I hope they at least give the name of responsible student who might be able to answer the "what do you usually do when...?" type questions.
I just read this thread... so what happened?
Oct 31, 2006
Would you believe I'm subbing JROTC tomorrow! I have *zero* idea what goes on in such a class. I do love seeing classes I've never seen before!
I did this once. Let the student officers run the class and you back them up as the commanding officer. If the privates get out of line write referrals or ask the student officers how discipline is given. They have their own routine of marching and training. You will enjoy it. Tell us about your day.
Nov 1, 2006
Sorry I havent been around here in awhile. Things have been very busy lately.
The long term sub position they called about was for a Resource room teacher in the junior high. I ended up politely declining the interview, mainly because I would much rather stay in elementary or middle school. It was very nice to be called for the interview though. They said they had heard good things about me at the district office....so that is always nice to hear!!
Holy cow, I have been called pretty much every day for the past 2 weeks. I have even been requested a few times which is nice. I have been in grades k,1,2,5,6 and 7. I was in a 5th today for the PM. The same 5th I was in for a full day on Monday. I tell ya, I really like that grade! They are a bit chatty however. I have got to figure out a good way to keep them quiet while we are doing work as a group...any advice?????
Tomorrow I am headed to a half day of kindergarten. It will be nice to have the afternoon off so I can go get some errands done before my kids get home!
I got my first check with 6 days worth of subbing on it. Holy cow....its been awhile since I have had a check that big with my name on it!! My next one should be even bigger.
Hope everyone is doing well!
Nov 20, 2006
Today I taught High School English. We read "Antigone" as a class (I got to be Creon) and had a class discussion on "The Plague" by Camus. It was great!
Nov 21, 2006
I taught 2 days in the same 1st grade class this week. They were a very good group with detailed lesson plans typed up by the teacher for both days.All work was easily found in the sub folder on her desk.
Dec 4, 2006
I've been blocked from teaching at a middle school and a high school.
Ironically, they're both schools that I attended as a student.
A letter was written and sent to me on November 10, 2006 stating that the county recently received requests that I not receive job offers for those two schools. No further information was provided. A number was given to call if I wanted further information about why this happened.
I called the number. I was told by the person I called that if I was not satisfied with the results of the discussion, I could contact an upper supervisor to arrange a meeting. The person assured me that I could take further action, but I decided to just discuss the issue first. I was forwarded to the director of personnel services.
I asked why I was blocked from teaching at those two schools. The person did not immediately come up with an answer; he said that the schools simply didn't want me there anymore. I thought this was strange, since I had several successful substitute teaching assignments at the middle school, and hadn't even taught at the high school.
The director told me to hold on. I was put on hold for about four minutes. He came back saying that the high school said that I was a student in 9th grade that left for Daytona Beach Community College for the rest of my high school. The middle school's only answer was that it was simply their "prerogative" to block a substitute, but no other information was provided.
The director told me that these would not be used as failures against me. I expressed displeasure with the situation -- blocked by a school I was doing so well with, and blocked by another I never even taught at before.
I found out that the principal of the elementary school that blocked me happens to live in the same city as these two schools. I have no proof or evidence that she is involved, but I can say that the circumstances are slightly suspicious. The middle school and the high school blocked me at once on the same letter. The principal of the middle school was formerly an assistant principal of the high school when I was attending.
Unhappy, I drafted this letter and had three witnesses sign it. I made copies of the letter and sent them by certified mail to both schools and the personnel services division.
I have received signed return receipts, but have not received a response from anyone yet.
Tomorrow, I will be substituting for a fourth grade class at an elementary school. This is a new elementary school for me.
At least you are seeking a response. Things do sound fishy. I'll be curious to find out what response you recieve. In the meantime, good luck at the new school.
Jan 31, 2007
January 31, 2007
I haven't written in a while, primarily because I've been so busy. I'm back on my favorite seven-day work week program. (5 school, 2 McDonald's) Last week, I was at a high school Monday and Tuesday. I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at a middle school. Monday, I was at a new elementary school. Tuesday and Today, I was at an elementary school I'm very familiar with.
Today, I taught first grade. The teachers were out at a workshop again -- like they are most of the time when I substitute at the school -- so the teachers were actually on campus to assist us (the substitutes) with whatever we needed.
I had a lot of students that knew me from last year when I had them in classes I substituted for first grade.
The lesson plans were fairly direct. We were to begin our morning work, which included daily oral language and math problems. Most of the students went through that without any problems. At least the day didn't start out in an awkward manner like yesterday, where one of the male students blurted out that I was "looking handsome today." (That was a second grade class.) On the other hand, I don't have to worry about dealing with sexually guttered middle school students and violent high school students, either.
The teacher used post-it notes in her lesson book and on different items.
Elementary school teachers: DON'T USE POST-IT NOTES. For the love of everything that is sacred, please don't make a lesson plan consist of "some here, some there!" Centralize everything in one place and don't rely on me to go through your things in order to try to figure the lesson plan out. Granted, this wasn't a serious case of that hypothetical scenario, but it was similar to it!
There was one student who had problems with the other students. His attendance card was full of absences or tardies. I got constant complaints from other students that he was misbehaving or off-task throughout the day. The full-time teacher explained that he had a troubled family life, along with a bunch of other personal details. I guess I could have figured that out on my own, though. Shotty attendance and poor in-class behavior might mean something.
A good point during the day, though, was when I got to meet the other substitutes on campus. Working with other substitutes is always a pleasure because we can talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly schools and students. My favorite school -- the one that blocked me for "yelling and shouting" -- came up. One of the substitutes had mentioned that she was at several elementary schools. She mentioned that school as one of them. I asked what she thought of it... and she said that she didn't like it. She said that the teachers were snobby and there seemed to be serious morale problems there. She said that she didn't want to take anymore calls from there, but she kept getting them.
I, of course, recommended that she take the school off her list. I wasn't doing it to knock that particular school, though. (Tee hee!) I was just saying that as a general piece of advice. If you don't want calls from a school, the logical solution is to take it off your list, right?
The class was so far ahead of schedule.. or so it seemed. The teacher wanted me to follow pages in a teacher edition reading book. She had post-it notes all around the pages to guide me. The only problem was that there were multiple pages I was supposed to follow, and I saw only the first page with notes and no indication or hint to go on. I went over that page with the class and readied everyone for the next activity. It wasn't until I got myself situated and organized that I figured out that I had missed several more pages. Meanwhile, I told the teacher how far ahead we were! She decided to come in and help me out by making more classwork for us. In the end, it turned out to be fine -- she said that she figured we wouldn't have gotten all that work done. She was very understanding and said that she appreciated me being there!
It's good to have a teacher appreciate the fact that you're there. At one other elementary school I was at, I expressed concerns that I may not have finished the lesson plans for a kindergarten class. The teachers in the lounge laughed and said, "Show them movies all day! We don't care! Just be there! Make sure they don't kill each other! We're just happy you're here!"
Now, it's only reasonable for teachers to expect substitutes to get some work done, but..
Oops. I've already touched on that subject already. I guess I'm still hurting from the traumatic incident that happened last year. It's a good thing I've had tens and tens of successful jobs (and four new schools) that I've visited since then to get me back to regular morale.
The substitutes and I met at recess again. One of the paraprofessionals was assisting the other substitutes with their work. I asked how that went along. One of the substitutes said, "The lady's a nazi." I and the other substitutes burst out laughing. The other substitute said, "She's hovering over me as I run the classroom!"
It isn't enough to have your own students tell you "that's not how we do things" -- it looks like some teacher's assistants and visitors do the same thing to the substitutes! Do I look like Ms. McTeacher? If I get one more student speak to me with a sentence beginning with "You're supposed to," I'm going to finish it off for them by saying "do whatever I feel needs to be done."
I discussed myself, my history, my age, and my goals with other teachers in the teacher's lounge. I said that I had issues with meeting deadlines and procrastination. The special area teacher said that I was actually having issues managing my time. She said she had tapes she would show me in her car later. She wanted me to stop by her room.
Speaking of time management, I've got to go to bed soon. I've been trying to go to bed at 8 PM every night and wake up at 4 AM. How am I supposed to work nonstop if I don't get my necessary sleep? Good night.
Why does it always take me over a half hour to write these things? I'm too detailed.
I subbed for my teacher this past Monday and I did a dang good job! I didn't have any lesson plans (long story) and was able to not only not rely on movies, but present good educational lessons all day long. I am good at B.S. on my feet. I even made up a few NEW educational math games. I did well with classroom management (which is an issue with our kiddos). Most of the kids went home with certificates of doing good. My only mistake is that I sweat in my classroom (hot natured) so when I walked outside in the winter I don't think much of it. I walked the students from our building to another without a coat! EEK. They didn't say anything but I felt bad. I walked back (while the Librarian was reading) to get their coats so they would have them on the way back. I also emailed the Principal for a head's up. She laughed, but said thanks.
Today it was reinforced to me that I do not want to teach middle or high school reading. Nope. Never.
I've subbed 3 different times now.
I live in a military town (my husband is in the Army) so I sub at schools both on the base, and off.
The first day was a 1/2 day at a middle school on-post, as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher. It went *really* well.
The second day was a full day at an elementary school on-post, as a Pre-K teacher. I only had an aide part of the time, and had 18 students, including at least 4 with special needs. It was THE single most challenging thing, and the longest day, I've ever had.
The 3rd day was at an off-post middle school as an aide for a Behavior Modification class. I was one of 2 aides, besides the teacher, so the workload was fairly light. It did give me the chance to observe the class though, so that was interesting.
I subbed in 5th grade today. The day morning went very well and the pm flew by.. they went from lunch to computer lab, came back for 1/2 hour, then on to art and finally dismissal.
In between we managed to do math ( meausuring to the nearest 1/8 of an inch, types of graphs, and mean median and mode. They are practicing for the NYS math exams.
A nice easy day
Feb 1, 2007
I subbed for a Pre-K Instuctors aide today. I enjoy it but sometimes the noise and tantrums are just too much. The teacher told me that she likes to request me since I'm the only sub who'll play and interact with the kids. I suppose it's really complementary but I feel bad when she says that since I enjoy the higher elem. grades more. After dealing with 18 four year olds all day I'm wiped out. I'm looking forward to observing a 6th grade class tomorrow.
I'm so glad to see someone say this. I felt like an awful failure when I subbed for the Pre-K class; all of the other teachers and aides on the Pre-K wing seemed so much better suited for the job. I loved the students - each and every one of them had something special to offer. But over a dozen 4-year olds, each demanding constant attention, for 8 hours, just got to me.
Sub in Middle School
If you like upper elementary why not sub all the time in middle and high school? High school is easier than middle school but you will have fun. Anyway enjoy subbing! Are you planning to get a teaching credential or do you have one already? Terry G.
I'm only 21, so in this district, I am not eligible to sub at the high schools. Since my Pre-K experience, I have been accepting only middle school offers, though I would be willing to try the older-elementary, such as 4th and 5th graders.
I'm still an undergraduate student, getting my B.S. in journalism, but I have decided to get my teaching certificate in a post-graduate program. I'm only a recent addition to the "future teachers' club."
Wow, I guess I have good karma. Today I taught a reading class I *enjoyed*!
Thats interesting that they don't allow you to sub in high schools. I'm a 21 year old undergrad as well, and they don't seem to mind where you sub as long as you have at least 60 (maybe 90?) credit hours.
I haven't even been called to sub for a high school yet, just middle schools. No one seems to want to sub for this age here!
Feb 2, 2007
Feb 5, 2007
Friday I subbed for 7th grade math and was asked to sub for the same class for the entire next week. I said yes before 1st period thinking it would be great to be in the same place for 6 consecutive days...and then,,,,I had the worst day of subbing in my 3 years of working. I hate to admit it, but I was actually in tears by 6th pd. That was the first time that has happened, even though I've had some bad days. I ducked into a dark teacher work room and was not noticed by anyone and composed myself before returning to class. I am so embarrassed because that is so NOT like me. I think my husband has only seen me cry 3 times in all of our 10 years together.
On the good side, we have a 2 hour delay Monday. I don't know if it's because the Colts won the super bowl or because of the weather, but I'll take it either way!!!
Oh yes, here's the kicker...my daughter is in 2nd period of this class that I'm subbing for. Poor child, she'll be chastised for having such a mean mom be their sub! Wish me luck.
What a difference a day makes. Classes so far are going very well. I came in armed for battle with a speech for each period that told them I was not putting up the horrible behavior from last week.
I worked! Let's hope this keeps up all week.
Take care all.
Glad you had a better day, sub&mom!
I was a 6th grade Language Arts teacher today. The school was in a pretty rough neighborhood and was in pretty bad shape, so I was a little concerned to start. But it turned out that I had a really good day! I was rotated to an 8th grade math class for one period, but you can just about survive one period no matter how bad. ;0)
Today I subbed in Kindergarten for the first time. I was surprised by the amount of tattling, etc but otherwise they were fine. I was worried about the enormous amount of procedure (calendar, number line, jobs. etc) but the kids made sure I was doing everything right so it was fine and now I know for next time.
Feb 6, 2007
On Valentine's Day, I sub for a Business class for 150 students.
I had a 6th grade class today and will continue until the end of the week. They're still located in the elementary school so I have them all day. It's been going pretty smooth. I had the opportunity to observe their class and teacher for three days so that helped tremendously. The only bad thing is he has scheduled them for a lot of computer lab time. He has instructed that they can work on their personal web pages and as a last resort go to their Gaggle. Most of the students said they were done with their pages. With no guidelines or rubrics to assess I can't make sure they have met all the requirements. They are scheduled for two more hours in the lab this week and it seems like it is just a waste of time. I plan to talk to the computer lab monitor tomorrow about other options for them to do. I know he meant this as something easy for me but it's turning out to be more of a hassle than anything else. At least he decided against the Friday all-day read-a-thon. That would have been a nightmare.
Do you think it would be presumptous of me to suggest some things they could research? With all the recent news about Global Warming he ended up changing his science unit to the atmosphere and plans to broach global warming. He read an article about it in class and tried to get them fired up. I'm wondering if I should suggest they research the topic. Does anyone know any good websites that are geared towards students on this subject?
ANOTHER 2 HOUR DELAY!!!!! YAHOO! What a great week. The day is flying by. I'm pretty good at ratios and proportions! I think I might even get my prep period free today. I hope everyone else has a great day, too!
Some days I find K to be the hardest ever because of the constant tattling and "that's not how you're supposed to do it." If you have a chance to do several days in the same class however, I would suggest doing it. Once they accept the change, the class is so fun and you will get attatched to them. I love returning to K's after being there a few times. The day is full of hugs and "I missed you's!"
Oh, I would do kinder again in a heart beat but I would come armed with my Tattling notebook as some others have suggested. I just hope I get the chance. Those battle axes in Kinder are NEVER sick. I only got to sub because the teacher had to do a preschool recruitment.
Feb 7, 2007
No delay today, but we did get 6+ inches of snow last night!! The school districts both north and south of me were delayed and the one to the west cancelled school. I think our superintendent must have slept in this morning. We had to hold the students and not take attendance for 40 minutes to wait for all of the busses to arrive. They had a hard time on our country roads out here. I am teaching 7th grade Math again. Apparently I wasn't doing a sufficient job in the eyes of his classroom assistant because while I was in the middle of going over a few problems in 2nd period she came up to me and asked if she could show the class "how they've been solving equations all year." I was taken aback a bit and let her lead the last 20 min. of class. Honestly, I didn't see much of a difference in "her way" or mine. I would think solving equations step by step as per the teachers edition was good. Hmmmm. Has this ever happened to anyone? Should I be feeling what I am feeling(kind of stepped on) Or am I overreacting?
As an Aide, I'll give you my perspective. I've never been a traditional sub though. Sometimes when I see the kids day in and day out I start to know what will work and what won't and how to tell when they are struggling before anything becomes readily apparent. I also know that it is better for most kids to stay stable in how they are approaching things rather than get confused by a new teacher approach. Your way may not be bad and sometimes it can be better, but if I see kids starting to get confused, I would probably step in to help show how we normally do it also. It isn't to make you look like your approach was wrong, but rather to help you by keeping the kids on a consistent path. SOMETIMES a sub can light a fire in one of the kids eyes though so I always take a wait and see approach.
I've noticed lately though subs for me (maybe for all) are being hired to be the aide rather than the teacher when my teacher is gone. I think they recognize that aides do know the classroom well, but that we may need additional support. I love my subs. If I think they would like to take over anything, I let them, but the kids and their lightbulbs along with consistency are my first priority. None of it is done with the intention of undermining a sub. In fact having a sub help us is actually OPTIONAL. Most of us elect to have a sub because we WANT to have a sub, not because it is required.
Having said all that, your reaction is probably a normal one. It is easier to be a sub in a non aide classroom sometimes (except that you have no extra help so it is a toss up). You have a right to your feelings no matter what they are. I'm just trying to lend you another perspective.
One more point: In the course of my normal day I can help the teacher with many things including the lessons themselves. Teacher and Aides will often become a well oiled team. It is often hard on an aide to know when to offer help and when not to when a sub is there even as we feel blessed to have extra help.
FYI, my rule of thumb is I never ask for half day subs (harder to get), but for PLANNED all day absences I ask for subs mostly because I can and it's nice to have the help. For non planned days, I take them as they come.