Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by stepka, Jul 30, 2008.
Aug 13, 2008
Is pregnancy in school that common over there??
Pathetically so. Mostly the 9th graders, too.
Please note that I'm talking about one school district out of the six I subbed in last year. It was a little less problematic in the others. However, the clothing style in that school tends towards baggy, so a sub who didn't know these kids well might miss a baby bump and make the poor student suffer.
Aug 14, 2008
reply to czacza from pjlmom
It wasn't that long ago when teachers where required to have a lesson plan book with their lesson plans done at least a week in advance. That's why you have an emergency plan. Getting an e-mail at the last minute is unprofessional and creates a lot of unnecessary stress on a substitute. It doesn't matter how sick you are!! Preparing gives you that freedom and peace of mind. Then the sub can start the day off not frazzled, and greet your students with a smile.
Knowing who in the class has behavior issues and what behavior modification program is being implemented is basic. It unfair to expect a sub to teach without the tools to provide the best possible environment for your students. You are setting your subs up for failure.
When I mentioned some money for lunch. What I meant is its nice to be appreciated. It doesn't take much to show that you care. The sub probably was called very early that morning. Most are not paid a whole lot and we are walking blind into your classroom. Even the best classes test the guest teacher. Instead of seeing us as rivals and enemies see us as sisters/ brothers.Yes, there are some rotten apples in the basket, but for the most part we are sweet and polished.
Aug 15, 2008
I don't think that anyone looks at subs as rivals or as enemies and I think that this goes both ways--subs shouldn't look at the regular classroom teachers as enemies or rivals either. We honestly don't go out of our way to make life difficult for a sub. In an ideal world, yes, there should be detailed plans on the teacher's desk when the sub walks in, and I would probably be safe in saying that, over 90% of the time, there is. However, sometimes, life happens and the plans do arrive at the last minute. (Although, sometimes, so do the subs--at least once a week we have a sub walk in either with the kids or after they are already in class). I do have my week planned out in advance, but the plans that I write for me aren't anywhere detailed enough to be followed by a sub. It takes me about 2 hours to prepare for a sub when I know I'm going to be absent--writing step-by-step plans, copying, organizing materials, etc.
We all have a very difficult job and our goal is to do the best for the students we are working with (whether for one day or for the whole year); it is important that we work together to provide the best that we can.
Now isn't this whole thing funny that I started? I personally do not care whether you leave me detailed plans, sketchy plans, or the merest hint. If you leave me detailed plans you will no doubt be very happy with what we covered in class and class continuity won't suffer. If you leave me not so good plans, I totally understand that you couldn't, and those are the times when I just want to know if it's important that we cover this or if I can use some of my own material. I can certainly understand why a teacher might be reluctant to use up 2 hours writing a lesson plan when she doesn't even know if a sub will use it anyway. I would be livid if I did that and then the sub spent classtime letting the kids visit while she read the paper.
It works for me if a MS English teacher says, "Go over the material on pp 160-162 with the kids and have them do problems 1-10 with you and 11-20 independently. Then have them write in their journals for 20 minutes and let some of them share their writing with the class if they want to. If they are good for you they can have 10 min. free time at the end of the period. Note: if you have something you'd like to share with the class, feel free to use 15 min. to do so, and if something has to be dropped to do that, problems 11-20 aren't absolutely necessary and may be assigned as homework if they won't behave for you." For my purposes, that is enough, and a good substitute should have plenty of activities stocked in her "bag o' tricks." I collect coloring sheets and sponge activities and learning games just for that purpose.
Aug 16, 2008
As a new sub, I just hope the teachers know that I am going to do my best to follow the lesson plans and to keep the classroom under control. The more I sub, the better I hope to be. I don't expect money or gifts from the teacher because I was hired to do a job and that is what I will do. If the class finishes early, then we will find something else constructive to do with our time.
I have books, and puzzles and games in my bag, depending on what grade I am subbing for.
It sounds as though you are on your way to becoming an amazing sub who will be very much in demand!
I think too that a little something would be a nice show of appreciation, but some/most teachers do not have time to go out and get a card and little something for their sub although they could leave a box of thankyou notes and a bag of mini candies in there closet.
I've been both a substitute and a classroom teacher.
I leave highly detailed lesson plans, often with too much work for the students to accomplish in the time available. I don't really care if everything gets done, I just want to keep my students busy so that the sub doesn't have any problems. I have a great behaviour management system in place, and as such, have very few behaviour problems in my classroom.
That said, I leave detailed CONCEQUENCES for poor behaviour with the sub, so that they can remind the students of what the consequences for poor behaviour are in my classroom. That gives the sub the piece of mind to know that they are following my classroom management plan.
That said, it DRIVES ME INSANE when I come back from being away and my students inform me that the substitute BELITTLED something I had them do - such as reading aloud to my class. Yes, they are in Grade 8, but all children enjoy being read to from time to time. As a sub it is NOT your place to QUESTION what the classroom teacher is doing in front of the students. If you want to do this - bring it up with ME.
Even worse is not doing the oral reading because you don't feel like it. I had a sub leave a note saying they didn't want to read aloud. That is not acceptable.
The only time I didn't leave sub plans was when I was rushed to the hospital. I was taken in on Saturday night, wasn't fully conscious until late Sunday. Had my Mom call my Principal and tell her I would not be in on Monday and that I hadn't yet started my sub plans. My Principal freaked and then my sub just photocopied grammar from a workbook - small detail? It wasn't MY GRAMMAR workbook which was SITTING ON MY DESK RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE. The stuff he had the kids doing was FAR too easy for them. In fact, I HAD emergency sub plans with my Year Plans (which were never returned to me at the end of the year) and all my principal had to do was get those.
When I subbed, I always had my own bag of tricks. I told stories, sang songs, played improv games, and, if necessary, made up my own lesson plans at the last minute.
I try my best to be organized for my subs, but if I'm ill, I'm ill and my focus is on my health, NOT on making your life easier.
Yes, that is exactly what I would like to see more of--that is the sort of thing that can be printed and left with the secretary in the office to hand out, because of course life has emergencies. (and I hope you recovered from yours!) Principals can help too when they call in a sub, by warning the sub that the teacher had an emergency and there will be no lesson plan, and that way she can put something together ahead of time rather than entertaining the kids with coloring sheets or games. I can do that of course, but it would be better if I knew ahead of time where the class is so they can have a real lesson. If that's not possible--no problem. Every sub should have plenty of material and resources.
One thing that's handy to have is one of those little flashdrive thingies to plug into the computer if you can get on it, and have some power points and worksheets loaded onto it. I've seen way more stuff for classrooms on the internet than I'll ever have a chance to use.
I'm pretty sure that the day-to-day subs in my district aren't given computer access. They wouldn't have any way to access any computer-based technology unless they brought their own laptops.
So when I don't leave computer stuff for my subs to do, it's not because I didn't think of it or because I don't trust them with the technology--it's because it's a violation of our AUP.
I think subs and teachers should have a good working relationship, but gifts of aprpeciation seem a little overboard to me. When a person's is a sub, it is understood that they are called, often at the last minute to fill in for a teacher and do the best they can. It's their job and they do it for the pay, not for the teacher. Their pay is their reward and a call back shows that they are valued and appreciated.
You're right Cassie--I'm not happy if a teacher leaves computer work for us and then I can't get on it. It seems like I can access the computer about half the time--they don't actually have a rule against us using it--they just don't provide us a password, and the teachers seem to be unaware of that fact. The flashdrive is just a backup.
One district I subbed in had guest teacher access. Another one was good enough to give me my own account when I surpassed 50 days there. I would like to think that the truly dedicated subs (at least the ones who want to impress future employers) would use Internet access wisely and sparingly.
I would rather not have a sub have access to my computer. I teach elem. and there really is no reason why they should be using my comp. The sub that was in my room was using it to go on myspace while she was supposed to be "teaching". I know because the history stated the time she was supposed to be teaching. Also if you are representing yourself as a "teacher" set your myspace to private if you have an account. This sub representing herself as a "teacher" from my school was boasting about drinking and partying along with pics and disturbing images. Hey I drink and have fun but would never promote it on the internet publically. Our school's rep and image is on the line when you do things like that.
Aug 17, 2008
That's the difference between a dedicated, responsible sub and a bored, irresponsible one. I'll totally admit I checked my email and the news during lunch period. During class, that Internet access was to research and answer questions that the kids had, or to utilize SmartBoard to teach the lesson plan.
I can't imagine being so unprofessional as to leave access to anything regarding my personal life on someone else's computer. It would be like staying at a friend's house as a guest and then throwing a beer party while my host is asleep. Hopefully, now that I have my own classroom, my future substitutes will view things the same way.
And that's one problem for classroom teachers--we never know what kind of sub we're going to get (unless we make arrangements ahead of time, of course).
I've had subs (yes, plural) fall asleep in class. I've had subs (yes, plural) sit at the back of the room and play on their laptops for the entire period. I've had a sub refuse to show the video I left for my students in the last period because he had watched it twice already that day with other classes and he was "over it." Are you kidding me?!?!
I've had exactly one sub follow my lesson plans, leave notes for me, take friggin' attendance (!!!), not steal my fancy teacher pens, and leave my desk space tidy. He's the one I now call every single time I need a sub, and I'm devastated when he's already booked.
I certainly understand that you guys who are posting here are probably more like him than like the other ones. Please understand though that some classroom teachers don't always have the best experiences with subs and haven't been able to leave their full trust in them. It stinks that we have to "take it out" on you guys, but hopefully that will get better once you show us that you're a good teacher who cares about our kids.
Yikes Cassie, those are some true horror stories--I've never heard anything like it, though I'm still kind of new at this. I won't even check my email at lunch hour, though I'm sure it's fine--but I don't even want the shadow of misunderstanding. Besides, I heard a horror story once of a sub who got in a great deal of trouble with the law b/c ***** pop-ups kept coming up on the computer and no matter what she did, they kept coming up. She talked to the principal about it. There were a lot of details missing from the story so it was impossible to tell if she was at fault or not, though it sounded like not, but the story makes me kind of paranoid. So, the flash drive is strictly for kid activities.
Cassie753;"Ive had exactly one sub follow my lesson plans, leave notes for me, take friggin' attendance (!!!), not steal my fancy teacher pens, and leave my desk space tidy. He's the one I now call every single time I need a sub, and I'm devastated when he's already booked."
Only one sub? That is pretty bad. But that is why I think it is important to request a sub that you know or at least let the office manager know of your preferences. It was hard for me to complain of a particular sub who would "disappear" for her duties, not teach and be on myspace, not be a team player when that sub was a close friend to the principal!
Aug 18, 2008
I'm relatively new to the subbing business...subbed about 20-25x last year and unless things change in the next week,will be doing the same this upcoming school year
High School SUb btw
things that irk me
1. the extremely lenghty sub plan: dont get if confused, I actually like teaching material when subbing as opposed to sitting and being bored to death, but dont expect me to go through the 25 step lesson plan either. be realistic
2. projects: one thing is having me help students on the projects they have already started, but do not have me start a project for you. The result:20 different questions about a project I know nothing about aside from the memo/handout, students trying to switch groups, and overall confusion most of the times.
3. "Look out for _____": I might be alone on this, but I hate it when teachers leave a list of "bad"students for me. The one thing I learned last year is that students react differently to different teachers. Some of the same students that I have seen in the office or being kicked out were the same ones whom I connected with. I just feel that when you leave notes like that, you have already defined the type of approach you are going to have as a sub with those students.
My approach to subbing is that as long as no one got killed, I did an alright job Seriously though, I am very up front with students. I tell them that it is up to them whether or not they want to do the work assigned for the day in class. I refuse to spend the entire class fighting with students because it is a fight that I will not win. I will offer my help and push students to work, but I also understand that I am there for one day. I think the biggest thing for you full time teachers to understand is that when I step into your classroom, I'm stepping into your mess most of the time. That might sound harsh, but please dont expect me to get work from every student when you cant even control your own class.
With regards to the internet, I wont lie. I have checked my email numerous times and just browsed on line, but have never sacrificed an entire lesson plan just because I felt like it. Most of the times teachers have me play films for the class, and getting on a laptop is about the only thing that entertains me after watching the film 4x.
I leave long lesson plans so that there is always enough to do. When I was gone for two days in a row my lesson plans for those two days were 9 pages long. I didn't want the sub to get through everything - I wanted the kids to have enough to do so that they wouldn't cause trouble.
Projects are something GREAT to leave for subs personally, because it means that I don't have to come up with a 20 step lesson plan to keep the kids out of trouble.
As for watch out for.... notes, I had kids last year who rarely came to class, who would come to class late, and who would try to sneak out early - WHEN THE PRINCIPAL covered that class for me! Sorry, but there is no way I wouldn't tell a sub about to watch out for those types of behaviour. As it is one time, the class refused to do any work at all, even when the sub got the Vice Principal to my classroom. I'd rather leave a note then have a sub blindsided by that kind of behaviour.
The fact is, my classroom isn't a mess when I am there, and if I had a sub refer to my classroom as such, I would ask that they not come back.
At the High School level especially - we didn't create these problems. Many of these students have had issues for years. One of the kids in the class I mentioned above was 19 years old and he couldn't read. YET he wasn't even on Alternate programming. He dropped out before the end of the year. How does someone get to Grade 10 without being able to read? He just transfered to our school last year - he wasn't MY mess - I was just trying to deal with what I was handed.
I didn't expect miracles from the subs who dealt with that class. I just wanted to kids to STAY in the room for the whole hour. I didn't think that was too much to ask.
I had a kid sneak out of class last year. Boy was I embarrassed when the counselor brought her back. It turned out there was an extra door in the classroom that I didn't even know about. (3 doors total). How in the world can one sub keep all 3 doors covered? Now I count the kids periodically during class to make sure I have the same number I started out with. Yep, I definitely earn my $88/day.
Several things have popped up that are rubbing me the wrong way that I feel like I need to respond to as I read through. Other things that I'd just like the point out that I expect of sub's since sub's are pointing out what they expect of us. And yes, I WAS a sub. in 2 different counties for 2 years when I was home on college breaks.
1) My principal doesn't buy me lunch for coming to work and doing my job every day so why should I buy lunch for my sub because they showed up to their job that day? I say thank you several times in my note/plans that I leave and that should be enough to show my appreciation.
2) I think it would be gross for a PE teacher to leave an extra whistle....Why would you want to put your mouth on it not knowing who elses has been on it? If it's that big of a deal, buy your own and take it with you when you know you're subbing for PE (at my school you know what you are subbing for when you get the phone call unless they change it at the last minute)
3) I don't think it's necessary to take pictures of my students to leave with the seating chart. In elem. school I put the name tags on the front of their desk, not the top...you can read their names from the front of the room and I was thanked by MANY subs for that. If you have a question about who a student is, ask another teacher or a classmate who's name i have left you as a helpful student.
I would like to ask that the subs in my room:
- not fall asleep
- not tell the kids "I need to do something before I fall asleep" and proceed to send text messages and play games on their cell phone
- not ask another student "is he retarded or slow or something?"
I do agree with a number of things that have been said. Yes, up to date seating charts and rolls should always be left. Lesson plans that can be followed are a must (on here ya'll seem to be torn between detailed or not, mine are always detailed so there should not be a question as to what i want). It's very helpful to leave as much of the needed materials as possible right on the desk with the lesson plans and note. If it's possible to make the copies in advance, that's best. I also always leave a boy and girl name of helpful students in case there is a need, as well as 1 or 2 names of teachers who are in the area of the room who can be of help if needed.
Stepka 88$ a day??? Seriously?? In Saskatchewan its between 185 and 205$ a day depending on your division! In Alberta it was 175$ a day in my division. Wow. I so wouldn't sub for that kind of money.
Aug 19, 2008
Yeah CG, it's a fascinating hobby. Maybe I'll move up there--I've always loved Canada.
Lives4math, I agree with you on all counts. I do not expect anyone to buy my lunch and would be uncomfortable if they offered. Though I must say I'm living on $88/day.
You are going to make teachers think what I thought when I read that 1st line. You are going to make it seem like why bother with leaving a lesson plan since you don't/won't follow it. Makes it hard for us who want to be left with a really good lesson get nothing.
Do we want a good detailed lesson left? Yes, well for us good subs yes. For the bad ones if no lesson is left than its an excuse to do nothing. Will I always follow that lesson? No, but I try to follow it as close as possible and I leave my teachers a note saying for example: We did not get to language pgs,. 100-103 due to a fire drill or we did not get to language because they seem to have trouble and/or need more time on math or w/e the case. Teachers know that you may not be able to get to everything they just want to see you tried to cover everything. If they see no student work on their desk that was on the lesson than they think you did not make them work.
Wow !!! It was never my intention to get everyone bend out of shape when I suggested 2 dollars for the subs lunch. You took me all wrong. I just was suggesting it as an act of kindness. There are many ways to make someone feel special. I make it a point everyday to do something nice for others. Why is that so terrible? I make 60 dollars a day subbing and some of that go for treats or supplies so I don't need to touch the teachers supplies. I don't feel entitled to lunch and I certainly never expect it. I'm just suggesting we do something kind to brighten there day.
We just try to make sure that our subs can somewhat survive on just subbing. Plus in smaller communities, most of our subs are retired teachers or teachers with small children who are choosing to mainly be stay at home parents until their kids go to school... its important that the incentive to sub is there!
pjlmom - I leave notes telling my sub where the treats are so that they can use those for my students. I do not expect subs to provide treats for my kids.
Canadian Gal: That is very sweet of you to let your subs use your treat supply. I don't use teachers reward treats unless she/he says so in their notes to me. I make it a point to not touch their desk supplies or commuter either. I don't want them to feel violated by a stranger coming in and moving their stuff. I make sure the room is clean, or cleaner then it was, before I leave.
pjlmom - Wow! I've never had a sub not use my computer or desk supplies! I dislike it when they give the kids my desk supplies - my pens and pencils are for me, but they are free to use them as long as they put them back.
Aug 20, 2008
You make more than me! I make 60/day for a certified teacher and 48/day if I am subbing for a Teacher's aide.
Go north young woman.
I leave very detailed plans plus optional assignments if needed. In my school we tend to have the same 4 - 6 subs come in so they are very familiar with the way the teachers in my school teach. Also, the subs know they can rely on a grade level teacher for help if needed. I may show a video and pop in and ask the sub if she wants to see it with me. I know that the regular teacher won't mind. I would never expect a sub to buy treats for my class. I only ask that if something is not covered the sub leave notes. I do not leave computer assignments. My students also know that they do not use the computers when I am not there.
Aug 27, 2008
I just thought of another one: I wish the school would make sure there are enough parking spots for their employees. I subbed at a fancy elementary school in an elite neighborhood today and there were no parking spots at all--I had to park way out in a back field and was late. I was so stressed out by the time I got started, and I had left home with plenty of time to spare.
The closest I've come to that was the school where I had to find the correctly numbered parking spot for the teacher I was covering. Parking was that ridiculous, but at least most teachers remembered to put the information in Aesop.