When to, and when not to contact the office

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by microbe, May 30, 2013.

  1. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    May 30, 2013

    When to, and when not to, contact the office

    I learned a lot about classroom management this year, and I want to get even better. One of my concerns is that I referred too many students to the office this year for behavior issues. I genuinely feel that in all instances I was justified to contact the administration, but I may be very wrong and need to learn how to deal with these situations on my own. Here are a few examples of when I contacted the office:

    Elementary School
    • Student shoved another student while she was at the water fountain because "she was taking too long." Student threw carrots at other students. Student told me he "hates subs." Student made a fake paper gun. (Sent to office)

    Middle School
    • Student hit another student in the face. (Sent to office)
    • Student was sobbing in the back of class. I discover that he is being bullied by two other students who were yelling at him and messing with his things. (Sent to office)
    • Student was ditching her class and interrupting my class.
    • Student interrupted my class (not part of said class), wouldn't leave when asked, and poked my face with a piece of paper several times.
    • Student destroyed one of the teacher's personal books intentionally and attempted to hide it from me.

    Thank you for your input. :)
     
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  3. bison

    bison Habitué

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    May 30, 2013

    I work in elementary and not as a sub, but I wouldn't have sent a student to the office for any of the elementary scenarios you mentioned. The only exception is if they shoved the student hard rather than lightly out of the way impatiently, then the office might be a good idea in that situation. Otherwise, I think you could have dealt with the rest according to the classroom or your own behavior plan, and then included them in the note for the teacher.

    I'd send students to the office for all of the middle school scenarios.
     
  4. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    May 30, 2013

    I've been a sub for a good 10 yrs, NOT that I'm an expert. I ONLY subbed elem grades for general ed & even then for most of my subing yrs, I worked with kids (gra K-8) in a small, pull-out group settings, so behavioral issues were rare in that capacity.

    For all the middle school issues you stated, I'd send them to the office too.

    With being a sub, I think you mainly have to remember 2 things:

    - If you have to tell the kid not to do something more than 3 times, you may want to send them to the office, depending on what it is & if it continuously disrupts your teaching.

    - Otherwise, 9/10 times, when you leave the note to the teacher at the end of the day saying how the day went, definitely list what negative behaviors happened & let the teacher deal with it the next day since it is that person's class.

    Overall, the office really doesn't want to be bothered, so even if you have to leave the kid sitting in the corner for 1/2 the day, then do it. I've NEVER done that myself by the way.
     
  5. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    May 30, 2013

    When you go into the elementary school, introduce yourself to the teachers next door.

    Ask if they are ok with you sending a student over for 5 minutes.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 30, 2013

    I haven't subbed a lot in elementary schools, but I probably would not have sent the students to the office for the reasons you mentioned. Definitely not for throwing carrots or saying they hate subs.

    The middle school issues all seem justified to me.
     
  7. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    May 30, 2013

    I've never sent a student to the office in four years of subbing. I have come close, and probably should have with one or two middle school students in the past. I no longer sub in middle school because I refuse to deal with the behavior issues. I am fortunate enough to have earned my way on to preferred lists at elementary schools, so I don't really have to sub middle schools.

    For your elementary reasons, I wouldn't deem any of those enough to send a student to the office. I would simply give whatever consequences the regular classroom management policy allows for, or just taken away recess if necessary. For the comment about hating subs, I'd just tell the student he was entitled to his opinion, but I am still in charge for the day. The gun thing...even the youngest kids figure out how to play guns in school. Preschoolers will make them with blocks, older kids will draw them and give you a story about how they shoot applesauce or something like that...all you can do is remind them there are no guns in school ever. Make a note of it for their regular teacher if you feel like it was a big issue and they didn't respond to correction.

    Sometimes sending kids to the office can backfire. I was in a 5th grade room one day that was very difficult. Their teacher was on campus for the day and she told me they'd had a sub the day before who couldn't handle them and sent some of her boys to the office. These happened to be the same boys who were trying my patience and acting out. This teacher's justification was "it's just the age." Since she clearly wasn't going to back anything I did up, I just kept on top of them all day. I took away recess and the class had their heads down several times.

    The longer you do it, the more creative you get about handling the problems and even identifying the kids who will cause you problems. They will let you know who they are in the first moments. It will be the one who screams out "HERE" when you take roll or the one who makes a snide comment when you pick up the class. Don't ignore this. Stop right there and let them know that they are welcome to spend the day in the office. Stay on top of those students for the first few minutes and let them know you are watching them. Most of the time they'll back down.

    If you really feel like you need the office's help, by all means send the kids. The middle school situations you describe that involve violence or destroying property should definitely be reported. Often, though, you really can handle things yourself and you'll grow from doing just that.
     
  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 30, 2013

    Elementary School
    • Student shoved another student while she was at the water fountain because "she was taking too long." Student threw carrots at other students. Student told me he "hates subs." Student made a fake paper gun.Nope. Consequence according to the teacher's behavior system and a note to the teacher.

    Middle School
    • Student hit another student in the face. Yes
    • Student was sobbing in the back of class. I discover that he is being bullied by two other students who were yelling at him and messing with his things. Yes
    • Student was ditching her class and interrupting my class. Yes
    • Student interrupted my class (not part of said class), wouldn't leave when asked, and poked my face with a piece of paper several times.Yes
    • Student destroyed one of the teacher's personal books intentionally and attempted to hide it from me.Yes
     
  9. dreamcat

    dreamcat Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2013

    I subbed for 3 years. I never sent a kid to the office; it ruins the flow of the office and makes the school think you can't handle it. Think of subbing as an everyday job interview with the schools you are at because they are watching. I have seen lots of subs get hired after subbing where they are. I had many teachers requesting me and calling me. Over the summer I suggest researching many different behavior management strategies and practice them at home or whatever. From my experiences kids think sub=free day. Even using the teachers tried and true management strategies do not work with a stranger/sub. This is not the teachers fault its just how it goes. So come up with what you will actually use when you actually have your own class because you are an expert on it already, not having to learn a new method quickly. The kids can see through that. My first two years were rough. I researched and did a new method my final year and rarely had rough days- even working in Title 1 schools.
     
  10. JadedSub

    JadedSub Rookie

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    It depends on the school climate (admin, teachers, and students). Usually I can get away with keeping a list for the middle school students of good/bad students.

    That usually stops lots of the bad behavior and I get more "helper" volunteers. If the kids know that their behavior has consequences, they will usually behave at least a little better. Some are too far gone and those are the ones which will require proximity.

    The only things I report to the office are kids who run out of the room or kids fighting.

    Keep the kid who is ditching class in your room as the kid might leave school grounds otherwise. Just get the child's name and teacher. Explain its a safety issue. Generally most schools do not care where the kids are as long as they are safe. The child is safer in your classroom than in the hallway. Contact the child's teacher if you know his/her name. Explain what is going on. If you don't know the teacher, contact the office over the phone and explain the situation. They will usually send someone down to escort the student back to his classroom. Sometimes no one comes and you're on your own. In that case, give your class busy work to keep them occupied. Then talk to the disruptive student while the others are busy. MAKE SURE TO ANNOUNCE THAT ALL WORK WILL BE COLLECTED AT THE END OF THE PERIOD. This makes them slightly more accountable for their work. Continue to use the good/bad list as you see students working/fooling around.
     
  11. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Sorry! I should have clarified that each bullet point is a single student - meaning that the elementary examples were all from the same student (I've only sent one student from elementary school ever to the office and this was the student). I gave him several warnings throughout the day and he kept escalating his behavior and was upsetting the other students and distracting them from their work.

    In response to folks that say they never sent kids to the office, would you say that my reasons for sending kids were poor? I feel that if there is ever any fighting or dangerous behavior involved I should immediately inform the office. For example, one time a student turned on the bleachers while other students were sitting on them (OMG!) and instead of sending said student to the office I just left a note for the teacher. Looking back, I feel that I definitely should have immediately informed the office of such reckless behavior.

    Edit: Also, I should further clarify that I contacted the administration later in the day for some of these cases, and didn't immediately send the student down to the office. I'll label which ones I immediately sent a student to the office.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 2, 2013

    :( there are good and bad choices for students AND teachers. Labeling kids as 'bad' or 'too far gone' is probably not a good choice.:huh:
     
  13. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I'm guessing the choice of words in the post was meant for the readers here on the forum. That is probably not the language the poster used while at work.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that the climate of the school will often dictate when and how often you contact the office for behavior problems.

    In my school, I would advise subs to call the office if
    • a student threatens the sub, including posturing
    • a student uses profanity and directs it at the sub (along the lines of "F you!", not necessarily "Oh, s!")
    • there is any type of physical assault, including fighting
    • a student commits gross insubordination (like if the student refused to move out of the way and let the sub into the room or something, not for something like putting a head down on a desk and not working)
    • a student walks out of class without permission

    Just about everything else can probably be handled in the classroom or by leaving a note for the teacher.
     
  15. JadedSub

    JadedSub Rookie

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    Jun 3, 2013

    Your political correctness makes me gag...

    That was quite helpful. Thank you for your post. However I disagree with your premise. There are good and bad people in this world. It is a fiction to maintain that it is merely their actions that are good or bad. Their actions demonstrate their characters and these can be good or bad depending on your perspective. From the perspective of the substitute teacher, a student is bad if they hit another student, bully other students, and disrespect adults. They are good if they do their work and participate in the lesson as active learners. Remember that good and bad are only opinions. You are welcome to your own opinion as well. That is the American Ideal. :thumb:
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 3, 2013

    I consider the American ideals to be things like:
    Freedom
    Hard work
    Liberty

    Appropriate and inappropriate choices about behaviors can hinder the realization of these ideals, but again, I wouldn't write off kids as bad or beyond help based on limited experience with them....and I'd like to think that those kids you define as 'bad' are looking most for attention and feelings of connectedness...which under the guidance and with the support of caring professionals can turn to better choices.

    But that's just my opinion.:2cents:
    Good luck to you.
     
  17. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    I agree with all the middle school and I'd say the elem one was a borderline case, but none of us were there and sometimes it's a tough call. Many (but not all) of the schools I've worked at, I have the freedom to send kids outside the room. When a kid just can't get it together I usually send them outside for some period of time and then one-on-one as soon as I get the opportunity. In elementary, I might pick a place in the room where the kid is not distracting others and have them sit or stand.

    I don't often send kids to the office (though I will sometimes) because in subbing, I don't get mad. I'm certainly no expert, but I find that when subbing middle/high school it's better to come off as the nice guy than the mean sub. Kids can be mean, but they usually respond well to a friendly smile and a calm voice as long as it's not patronizing. Also, commiseration: "When I was in high school we had to do this too! I can't believe teachers are still doing this," goes A LONG WAY! As soon as you lose your cool, it's over. Poking in the face? Not okay at all, but how was your response? I would have made a joke probably: "Were you raised in a barn? Who is friends with this guy? You let him embarrass you like this? Go sit in the back since you like this class so much, Pokey." (And then I'd call him Pokey repeatedly throughout the class) etc... I think those kids are just trying to get a reaction and I'd rather just defuse it than escalate it. I'm always more concerned that if I send them to the office, they won't actually end up there.....
     
  18. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Jun 5, 2013

    HeatherY, I agree that you should never get mad at the kids. I never do, and I certainly didn't in these cases. I just felt that I couldn't ignore the behavior issues. While I didn't get mad at the kid poking me in the face, I asked him several times to stop and I asked him several times to go to his own class (he wasn't part of the class, he was ditching his own class to disrupt mine). He ignored me and continued poking me in the face. I just feel that while I didn't get angry and yell at him, he still needed to talk to the discipline office about respect towards subs. And in that particular case I did not send him to the office, I talked to the assistant principal after school and she picked a time to talk to him about it. As I mentioned earlier, I've only immediately sent students to the office a few times when I felt it was appropriate (I always call the office and let them know that said student is on his or her way so the student doesn't wander off).

    I never send students out of the room because they act like it's a special treat. I see the students other teachers send out in the hallway and they typically start wandering the school if the teacher isn't watching them like a hawk.
     

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