Where did I go wrong?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by pkhan, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. pkhan

    pkhan Rookie

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    I just did my first 6th grade subbing today. The whole day the kids were testing me, I could see that. In this class there was also a challenge group, but the teacher had not named them. The first half of the day was okay, they did there job. after lunch when the principal came for the first time, it was quite reading time and the kids were really quite, which made me really happy. but the moment she left and for the next class, grammar I gave them two sheets (the teacher had many sheets) they wanted to do in groups, so i let them, but it was kind of noisy. So for the next 2 sheets i told them that they had to do alone, they would not listen, on top of it some kids wanted to go out and do it, I send one kid outside as he was since morning telling me that he could not stand noise and was also twitching, so the others argued, anyways, utimately i told them that i shall call the principal, when the noise did not lessen I called the principal,She came and stayed with us for almost 45 minutes. after 15 mins the school got over. When I was cleaning the desk, I just flipped a note, in it a student had written that, I was not able to calm the class and that they had tried to do it and that i did not send them outside. I also found another note by a student saying that he did not finish the work as it was too noisy. When I went to get my time card in the office, I saw the principal coming out of her room, she too was leaving, so I thanked her for helping me, she said it was okay but she did not look at me in the eyes and also asked would i be coming tomorrow, i saud yes. (its a two day sub). WHat DID I DO WRONG? I feel as if i have made some kind of mistake, or something. Sorry guys I just had to vent and hence such a long post. But can you give me tips or should i concentrate on just k-4 grades for the moment? The girls also said they did not understand my language, I am an Indian but very fluent in english.
     
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  3. smilesjd

    smilesjd Rookie

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    Oct 13, 2005

    It seems, from what you wrote, that the trouble started when you let them work in groups and then took the privilege away. All I can think of is that maybe they should not have been working in groups. If the lesson plans didn't say so, then make them do it by themselves. The normal teacher probably knows that they can handle themselves in groups and that is why the lesson plans do not say group work. When you go in tomorrow stick your ground and do what you want to do, not what they want to do. Hope you have a better day! Don't worry they won't all be like that! :)
     
  4. pkhan

    pkhan Rookie

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    Thanks smilesjd for your encouraging words, I know i should not have let them do it in groups too, but the assignments that they did before was on their owns, so I let them do the first two sheets together, the thing that bugged me was one of the kid started to imitate me and when i caught him he said in a way that i was a liar, I did make him say sorry. So for the nest 2 papers I just told them that they had to do it on their won, which ultimately some of them did not. Now can you advise be that if something like this happens tomorrow , will it be the best to send the problematic kids to the principals office? or would that be too much, because I don't want to call her back!
     
  5. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    I hope tomorrow goes better. Just be firm with the kids. They like to test their subs and 6th grade is an age when they can be difficult.
     
  6. pkhan

    pkhan Rookie

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    should i also leave a detailed note for the teacher, the imitation and all, because i think the teacher would like to know why the principal was in the class?
     
  7. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Oct 13, 2005

    I subbed in sixth grade, it is a very testing grade for subs. I am so glad I teach kindergarten!!!!! I would leave a detailed note for the teacher. I am one who likes to know what issues may have come up so next time I can better prepare for those. Hopefully this teacher is the same......and will have a talk with these kids as well.
    One thing that worked really well with this level when I subbed was to put a problem or mind bender question on the board they had to solve. They came in eager to see what the bender question would be......and it led into great discussion, and put us all at ease. That was a two week assignment, so maybe it wouldn't work as well for a couple of days......but you may want to keep that in mind for whenever you sub at this level again.
     
  8. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Hopefully the teacher will leave detailed plans. I subbed right out of high school so I am obsessive with leaving enough information for subs. I detail EVERYTHING. Just be firm with them. They are going to try you and they are going to be upset, but be firm, fair, and consistent with them. Leave a note for the teacher explaining what happened and ask for information on how procedures in class run (group work, etc). Good luck!!!
     
  9. smilesjd

    smilesjd Rookie

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    You should leave a note. Most teachers would want to know what happened while they were gone. I am sure the teacher will have a talk with the students.
     
  10. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Oct 13, 2005

    I am assuming by Indian you mean a native of India, and not a native American...

    I don't think it is your fluency that is at issue. I do not know how closely you fit the stereotype, but my experience is that many Indians place the stress on different syllables than Americans and tend to run words together in ways that Americans do not. It has never been a problem for me. I just listen carefully and the meaning is clear. However, I do know that many folks I worked with along side Indians did not, or could not, do this, and complained about not being able to understand. Young folks are going to be a lot less tolerant and capable of adapting, particularly if English is not their first language. I know this may sound strange, but maybe it is time to adopt a "California" accent.

    You might also want to consider your vocabulary. Some Indians sometimes use British terms that might as well be Greek to Americans.
     
  11. pkhan

    pkhan Rookie

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    Malcolm, I am trying to change my accent, and I am going to take your advice seriously. I have started looking into accent reduction classes.
     
  12. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Maybe the students having a difficult time understanding your accent could be a slight issue, but the fact is they were disrespectful to you. Don't blame your accent for that. Maybe young people are less tolerant, but they need to learn tolerance! They are going to come across people throughout their lives that speak differently than they do and it will be their responsibility to take the time to understand the person. If you feel that your accent is a big issue and that it warrants taking "accent reduction" courses, then of course, that's your decision, but the students need to understand that just because you speak differently than they do they cannot just be disrespectful and say, "I didn't understand her." These were 6th graders...11 and 12 year olds most likely, they're not babies and they need to learn tolerance.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'll second what Beth2004 has to say. You might want to look for Suzette Haden Elgin's books on The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense; she offers an exercise for accent reduction that you could do at home, and she also explores the issue in ways that can help you see what you really need to do.
     
  14. pkhan

    pkhan Rookie

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    Thanks Beth2004 and TeacherGroupie for the advice, yesterday was kind of low. SO today when I went to the same class the first thing I did was lay a few rules like raise your hands when you need to speak and if your have three strikes against your names on the board, then off you go to the principal's office and I made a student go to the office latter on. So it was a totally different class than yesterday.
     
  15. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Bravo, pkhan!

    As to what some others have said, a teacher is certainly deserving of respect in the classroon. And any disrespect needs to be dealt with. But telling a teacher that you don't understand them is not disrespectful, unless it is said in a disrespectful manner. It is simply stating a fact the teacher needs to know. And if you have a student who doesn't understand you, you darn sure better find out why and correct the situation if you can. How is this different than a student not understanding because you use words that are not in their vocabulary, or you mumble, or any number of other reasons? Yes, students certainly need to get use to dealing with all sorts of folks sooner or later. But a classroom in which the purpose is to teach basic knowledge and skills is not the place. A teacher who speaks English with an accent students cannot understand is as useful as a teacher who speaks a foreign language in a class full of English speakers. Hopefully, it was only a few of the students in the class.

    This is not a new problem and not limited to K12 education. Twenty years or so ago, the Engineering students at UCI organized and complained that they could not understand their professors, most of whom were from Asian countries. The administration's response was that the students were racist. No, the students were not racist, certainly not most of them. They just could not understand. And the students for whom English was not a first language, which was a large percentage, were in even worse a position than those for whom English was a first language. Imagine what it would be like if you were an English language learner, or some who learned English voiced differently than "American" or "British" English and had to understand someone rattling off difficult concepts in yet another very different, at least audibly, form of English. As stated previously, I do not have much trouble with it. But I am obviously the exception. And I, too, have had trouble. I once took a graduate EE class in automata theory. The professor was Pakistani. The students were evenly split between Indians and Americans. None of us could understand what he was saying. Luckily, the language of automata theory is a mathemtical area called group theory and he wrote everything on the board. That is the only way any of us passed. That ain't gonna happen in K12.
     
  16. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Malcolm, I was writing when you posted, so I didn't read your post until I posted mine. I too had foreign teachers at the University, but I guess I was lucky because they spoke Portuguese good enough. Their accent wasn't perfect, but it was never a problem. And it was kind of fun when those bright teachers made some silly grammar mistakes! :D
    I agree that if you go teach in a foreign country, you should learn how to write and speak, the country's language, fluently. Some vocabulary you will only acquire with time and after you move though...
    And yes, in Portugal we learn English from Great Britain.
     
  17. AChancetoTeach

    AChancetoTeach Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2005

    Me too! (long)

    PKHAN, if it makes you feel any better, I had the SAME trouble this week with disrespectful 6th graders. I think a lot is the age they are at. Still, they need to know that being respectful is EXPECTED! I had a horrible class that tested me in every way. My degree is EC-4 so I've not spent a lot of time in the 6th grade classroom, although I have a 6th grade son. That may have also contributed to my problem. My son was in one of my classes and I think that the others think because I'm his mom, that I will be all fun and no work! I've really had a time with that.

    Anyway, this week, the class (one my son was NOT in) was totally out of control. They even had the audacity to tell me that they treat the regular classroom teacher that way. I had them doing exactly what the teacher left behind to do, but they just want to talk and be loud. I had tried every trick I knew beside standing on my head and standing on tables and dancing! I found that just getting VERY quiet and eyeing those making the disturbance quieted them down a BIT. Finally, the teacher next door came in and jumped all over them because they were being so loud! I was horrified! I mean, I was thankful that he got ahold of them, but horrified that it will get around that I couldn't get control of them! He apologized to me for coming in, but said that this group had been very hard on them as regular teachers this year and he is also a first year teacher and knows my pain. I think the fact that coming in as a sub and not being left with any discipline management for the classroom (like the fact that I COULD have given detention) hurts when the sub doesn't know what punishment is available to use. I left the day so frustrated, I didn't even leave the teacher a note about what happened, but I didn't have to. The teacher that walked in on me made them each write a letter of apology to me, and an essay about being respectful.

    Well, I just wanted to share my experience with you, so you won't feel alone out there. I have to be in this same class again this week and I'm NOT looking forward to it, but I am determined to GET CONTROL! :D
     
  18. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    I think it must be a 6-8 grade problem to be disrespectful. I am also EC-4 but it seems that most of my sub work has been at the middle school. Last years 8th graders as a whole were a group of obnoxious teenagers. (both boys and girls) This years 8th graders it just seems to be the boys. I have had my two worst days as a sub with both of these groups of kids. To top it all off my two oldest kids are part of these groups. When I spend anytime with these kids I realize that yes I have picked the right group of kids to works with--- the little ones. At least at that age they still want to please the teacher and for the most part are respectful of the positon of the teacher in the classroom. The older they get the more they think we are just there to make their lives miserable.
     
  19. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Hey, Malcolm...did you attend UCI?? Were you an ANTEATER??!! :-D
     
  20. Hnana

    Hnana Rookie

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    Hey! srh and Malcom, pay attention and stick to the subject!!! You are about to be sent to detention!!!
    I went to the local Middle School on a fun sounding assignment--subbing for the Choris teacher! I had three classes (a half day job). The first was bad and disrespectful, the second was worse and rude, the third was totally out of control! During this third class, the Vice Principal came in and announced that absolutely no one from this class was allowed out on a restroom break. NO ONE! Five minutes later they started in, I need to go!!! One kid would not shut up so I told him he could go alright--to the office. I got up to get a referral slip and he just marched out. I called the office and reported that a hoodlum was on the loose. Soon, the VP was back with him by the arm basically saying "I tild you NO one..." I gave her the full story and he was expelled.
    This is a miserable age group. I plan to avoid all contact with them. Don't feel bad that you were helped by another teacher. You should not hesitate to call in the troops if you need help. I called the Vice Principal in another class. All the boys stood up and tucked in their shirts. They respecter her but not me. School administrators want and need us. It is their job to help out when things get out of control because these kids are not disciplined. It really is THEIR problem.
    Ginger
     
  21. srh

    srh Devotee

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    (Head down, sad demeanor) In all fairness to Malcolm, he DID stick to the subject...I just want to know about UCI 'cause my daughter is there! (I teach Kindergarten, not middle school, so I'm just a nice easy-going person who likes to meet "people who know people...!" HAHA!!)
     
  22. pkhan

    pkhan Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2005

    Glad to know I am not alone

    AChancetoTeach, txmomteacher2, Hnana, and srh thanks for the morale boost. I also noticed that when the principal came in, the students were so respectful, listening to her even when her voice was low (cause she has to power to expel?) and here I was trying to control, any ways the next day I had my rules ready and I sticked to them and send the kids to her. But I am not going to handle 5th and 6th any time sooner, not unless I have some concrete experience. Can anyone tell me what excatly is EC-4 ? :angel:
     
  23. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I believe that "EC-4" stands for Early Childhood-4th grade. That is the ages that some people get licensed for. Each state has its own way of breaking the ages down, though. For example, I'm licensed in Elementary 1-6. In my state Early Childhood is Prek-grade 2.
     
  24. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Hate to break the news i just spent a GREAT day with 6th graders. Here is my reasoning now this is just purely a novice point of view but here goes. The other schools that i sub for 6 grade is middle school. This particular district the 6th graders are still elementary. They still have that elementary mentality, they still want to please their teachers. Now there were a few and I do mean a few that were the obnoxious little creeps that I have been used too. I actually came home today and was in a good mood and I wasn't all that tired either. Well thats my not so scientific opinon.
     
  25. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I completely agree that sixth graders in middle school and sixth graders in elementary school differ. I am licensed in elementary (1-6) and I wouldn't think twice about accepting a 6th grade teaching position in an elementary school, but when I was interviewing for a 6th grade middle school position back in August I was really hesitant about whether or not I wanted the job. I didn't get it, and I was almost sort-of glad.
     
  26. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    I posted a reply message to this post on the 14th! It disappeared...Anyway, I agreed with Beth2004 and TeacherGroupie points of view.
     
  27. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Hnana, it is amazing you can teach at all considering your are apparently illiterate and a jerk. Who the heck are you to tell anyone to stick to the subject?
     
  28. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Wow....was that necessary? I think the "stick to the subject" comment was a joke.
     
  29. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Not necessary, but deserved... Didn't sound like a joke to me.
     
  30. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Well, considering the person said, "You're about to be sent to detention" I'm guessing it was a joke.
     
  31. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Oh, Oh! We're getting off subject again...
     
  32. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Glad to see you edited your post some. "Heck" is definitely a better word than the one you originally used.
     
  33. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Nah, the original word (can you call something with one letter and asterisks a word?) was definitely better. The current one is just more politically correct.
     
  34. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I read the post to be a joke and never even considered otherwise until I saw Malcom's response. It's hard to read jokes in here, sometimes. (They don't always come across through typed words.) We always need to make sure, though, that we read everything carefully and check things out before we respond too harshly.
     
  35. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I agree that sarcasm and jokes can be tough to read on here, but I just felt that Malcolm responding by throwing out insults was a little unnecessary.
     
  36. Hnana

    Hnana Rookie

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    Of couorse I was joking. Get a life or go directly to the Principal's office. Geeze!
     
  37. Hnana

    Hnana Rookie

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    I forgot to add (Ha-Ha) that would have made it more clear. I can't believe we are even having this discussion. Some day I will learn not to joke around with folks I don't know. Sorry if I hit a nerve. But, I really don't think I deserve to be called lliterate and a jerk!
    Enough said, Let's let this subject die and go on, OK?
     
  38. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I know I'm a few days late, but I just wanted to add that I completely agree with the 6th grade elementary vs. 6th grade middle school comment. Last year, I did a week in a school that is ONLY 6th grade (a weird set-up). It was kind of like the kids were stuck in limbo, and they didn't really know if they were supposed to be rebelling or not. Anyways, good work Pkhan. It takes a lot of courage to go back to a class that was so disrespectful the first day. I hope the rest of your subbing is much better!
     
  39. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oct 29, 2005

    I'm sure you did your best. Kids just act differently when there's a new face in the room, believe me, I've seen it before! Over the yrs of being a sub, I've learned that you have to be pretty mean, but be able to smile the next second.

    This sounds like something a 6th grade class in my district would do. That's why I don't even sub general classrooms. I've stopped doing it a long time ago. I only do elementary level RSP (working w/ small groups of special ed kids anywhere from 3-6 kids for 30 minutes to at times 2 hours, then it's a different group of kids after that) & speech (several groups throughout the day for 30 minutes each). Those are the best, so why put up with the aggravation, you'll get paid the same $ for doing these types of classes. You may also want to do P.E., you get to wear more comfortable clothes & do jumping jacks & watch them running laps, then playing games!

    I know this is no solution, but why not make it easy for yourself.
     
  40. Carol Keeney

    Carol Keeney Rookie

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    Jan 10, 2006

    Hi

    Give yourself a break. Substutute teacher can be horrible especially when you are not experience. Don't let this experience make you feel incapable. Children can sense insecurity and then make the most of it. I had the same experience many years ago and wound up doing a great job as a teacher. You will need to learn some assertive techniques. It is all in the attitude. Good luck to you.
     

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