Your sub has a question:

Discussion in 'General Education' started by newsub_oldlady, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Aug 29, 2010

    I tend to leave detailed plan and then I will leave a checklist just going over the highlights of the plan. I always found it annoying when I was subing to have to skim paragraphs for the information that was releven right now. A checklist provides a good way to make sure the sub is getting everything needed and if they need more details they can go back and look.

    I once had a sub leave a note telling me that my plans were some of the easiest plans to follow.
     
  2. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    Aug 29, 2010

    I just want the day to go smoothly. I try to leave more material than I want covered, because I know that the worst thing ever for a sub is when you finish the lesson twenty minutes early and the antsy middleschoolers you are teaching realize it.

    I do not leave repeat material, because I once subbed for a class (of antsy middleschoolers) who did the same assignment every single time their teacher was out. I could barely keep them in the room.

    I'd rather the kids do a bit of work and both the sub and the kids feel relaxed and comfortable with how the day went. Teachers are generally very rarely out and so it's easier to make up missed work than deal with detentions for bad behavior or a sub that will never come back to my classroom.
     
  3. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    Aug 29, 2010

    When I sub, I really try to focus on the plans that are left for me while making the day fun as well. If I have a good time, the kids have a good time, and are more willing to work for me.

    When there are plans left for me, I follow them as closely as possible. As I complete each thing, I check them off and note any changes I made. One example of this is if I changed the read aloud because I couldn't find the book, or found one that related to a school assembly or something.

    I also spend a lot of time writing my note at the end of the day. Every chance I get, I update my note with behavior issues, the great work I see, modifications I made to the day, etc.
     
  4. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    Aug 30, 2010

    If I know I'm going to be out, I try to work it so that the students have a test/quiz/or writing assessment. I also have test prep booklets.

    I keep seeing "busy work" in a negative way. "I never give busy work!" I guess I have a different definition. I see "busy work" as work the student can do independently to practice concepts/content/skills. Students using resources that keep them busy and do not require a teacher standing and talking.

    Is that bad? Or is busy work like coloring?
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 30, 2010

    I think of "busy work" as things that don't relate to what is going on in the classroom--wordsearches, crossword puzzles, colouring sheets, endless drill, etc. Often, these are things that the classroom teacher doesn't even look at on their return. Students quickly recognize when the work they are being given "doesn't matter", and they react accordingly. I think that it's really important that a sub be able to continue on with what the students are used to doing in the classroom. My generic plans are stand-alone, but follow the same format that the students are used to--workshop model.
     
  6. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Aug 30, 2010

    That's because busy work has a negative meaning. From Merriam-Webster:
    When people talk about busy work in the traditional sense as described above, it's not really helpful to the kids, other than keeping them out of the sub's hair. Ms. C gave some great examples. If you give a test or quiz that you would normally give in your classroom on material that you are covering, and you use the results to assess students or plan instruction, then that is not busy work. If you give the kids a quiz or test just to keep them busy and throw them away because they served their purpose of keeping the kids in line, that's busy work. (Don't laugh, I've seen this done, not with a quiz but with worksheets.)
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 30, 2010

    I've seen it done often with worksheets, and a few times with quizzes. :(
     
  8. newsub_oldlady

    newsub_oldlady Rookie

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    Aug 30, 2010

    Thank you all for your replies. I should clarify my statement on behavior problems. I was referring to middle school and older students. In certain schools, there is no respect for the sub, and therefore the teaching doesn't get heard, literally! I always leave a note, but usually don't report bad kids. I have had to call the office for behavior assistance a few times in the upper grades. In this case, the teacher will hear about it. I guess those highly disruptive kids will be that much worse for a sub. But then I always feel like it was somehow my fault, and it may very well be? Any hints on how to get ill-behaved students to co-operate? Especially ages 13 and up?
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 30, 2010

    Subs should have some skills in managing behaviors. Yes, kids will try to act differently for subs, but if the subs let them know that they 'know the rules' and manage the class in effective ways (without stressing out the kids), they should be able to get the work done. I take A LOT of time writing very explicit sub plans- there is no reason to not get most of it done. Subs who ignore my plans do not come back.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 30, 2010

    My very first sub assignment was for a middle school math teacher who had to leave town for a family emergency. A family member had become very ill and (sadly) ending up passing away. The teacher had to literally leave on the spur of the moment when she got the call.

    I came into the classroom around mid-morning. She had already written the assignments for all three grades (6-8) on the board for the entire week. Students were required to copy these assignments into their planners. So, even though she had to leave right away, her plans for the entire week were already done.

    When her stay extended beyond that week, I called her to ask if she wanted me to take the kids into the next unit. She was shocked (in a good way) that a sub would not only teach the lessons she left, but also offer to continue the lessons after her current plans ran out. I administered a unit test to the students after that first week, then began the next unit. Since the teacher had left detailed plans the week before, it was very easy for me to determine how much homework she would assign if she were there.

    When she was finally able to return from her family tragedy, her class was still on track rather than 3 days behind.

    If detailed plans are left, I follow them as closely as I can, but I still manage to make the class "fun" in the process. I always took a list of riddles and lateral-thinking problems with me to use as "fillers" if we had time left over at the end of class. The students really enjoyed these and I had some during my first year greet me by saying "Hey, you're the sub that asks those crazy questions." Yes, I am, but ONLY after we've done the work left by your teacher for the day. ;)
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 30, 2010

    I have the same problem. When I say "busy work", I'm thinking of work that will keep the students "busy" during the class, but still is relevant to what we are covering at the time. Yes, it will most likely be a worksheet or extra-practice. Like foreign language, math is a subject many subs don't feel comfortable actually "teaching", so I will leave work the student can do with a minimum of guidance from the sub and I WILL be looking over the work when I return.

    As for classroom management, it just takes practice. I've had a few kids (very few) that were simply NOT going to be controlled no matter what. These almost always occurred at the middle school level for some reason. In those cases, I ended up sending the students to see the principal.

    The most effective technique I found is knowing the students' name. That's why I consider seating charts to be invaluable to a sub. If I have a student acting out, it's SO much better if I can say "Tim, you need to stop talking with Brian and give your attention to me" rather than say "Uh, you two boys in the back need to look up here and stop talking." So teachers, PLEASE leave a seating chart of your classes if possible.

    I try to focus and comment on positive behaviors I see "Thank you, Scott, for raising your hand instead of shouting out the answer." I also try to avoid making a big issue out of disruptive behavior if possible. Some students are just TRYING to get attention and disrupt the class. If a student gets up and starts walking around, I just say "Sit down please". If (s)he continues walking around, I might ignore it for a couple of minutes (giving the student time to follow my directions on their own) or ask "Did you need something to continue your work?".

    I love having fun in my classroom, but you also have to let the kids know you DO mean business and they WILL follow your directions.

    I once had a relatively good class that, for some reason, became increasingly talkative as class went on. There were several boys on a sports team together and they began talking among themselves and others kept joining in. I asked them to quiet down and get back on task a couple of times with no success. Finally, I turned and began writing their names on the board, one at a time. It took a few seconds for them to notice, but as they became aware of it, the talking began to stop. By the time I was finished, the room was completely silent. One boy who had been talking raised his hand and said "What does that mean if your name is on the board?" I said "You will find out when your teacher returns on Monday." (this was on a Friday). The boys didn't say another word the entire class time.
     
  12. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Aug 30, 2010

    One thing I really dislike as a teacher is a sub who thinks she knows the class better than I do. I know that sounds harsh, but I spend a lot of time getting to know my students and their needs, plus planning out units of study. Not just that day's lesson, but units. I had a sub once who ignored my 2-day lesson on Greek and Roman mythology and instead taught them everything she knew about Julius Caesar. Well, I had a webquest planned for the following week-on the Ides of March-about Julius Caesar. By then, the newness had worn off, and the webquest did not hold their attention at all. It was really annoying that a sub thought her plan was better than mine-she might well have been a Caesar expert, but by not following the plan it really ruined mine.

    Sometimes that work that seems like busy work-really serves a good purpose.
     
  13. Miz_Aich

    Miz_Aich Rookie

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    Aug 30, 2010

    I have my regular lesson plans that I leave for the sub, but I also leave a great deal of busy work. In my instructions for the sub I make it clear - if you feel you can follow the material enough to guide them through the lesson, feel free (when I subbed, I HATED just passing out busy work and having nothing really meaningful to do) but if you either don't want to teach it or you don't understand the material enough to be able to answer student questions, start in on the busy work. The only time I stress very much over getting "real" work done is when I know I will be gone for more than one day - and if that's the case I do request subs that I know will be able to handle the "real" work.

    I also leave a simple sheet for the sub to fill out - absences, interruptions, disruptive students, helpful/well behaved students, etc. I make sure my students know that when a sub is in the room, they are ambassadors on my behalf and that I do not like for people to think I don't know how to manage my classroom. My high school kiddos have decided hell hath no fury like a teacher with a bad sub report!
     
  14. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Aug 30, 2010

    Wow! This is quite the string! Clearly, there are strong feelings on both sides.

    As a sub, I work my ass off in your classroom. I leave a very detailed note about what was finished and what wasn't finished, as well as who seemed to have difficulty academically and/or behaviorally. I would really like it if you would leave similarly detailed instructions for me.

    I really don't understand any sub not following the teacher's plan. Once you diverge from the kids' daily routine, that's just asking for classroom management problems, and you're already challenged in that area just be being someone they're not used to. I'm there to teach school, not run playtime.

    My favorite plans are the ones that are over-stuffed with a note saying that the regular teacher doesn't expect everything to be finished. I hate having an hour to kill at the end of the day because the work was either finishing up previous assignments or stuff the students breezed through without any effort because it was busy work. And I also have developed a pet peeve about recieving lesson plans packed with things the class has already done. The students know which worksheets they've already seen and which stories they've already read.
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Aug 30, 2010

    If you sub a lot in the same school you'll begin to get a reputation with the students as well. I was the regular sub to call at my dd's school for years. When I went back to school to get my teacher's certificate I was unable to sub for the fall semester. That school year we had a huge turnover in students in the upper grades. It is a magnet school and about 25% of the 4th and 5th grade students left. So their spots were filled with kids who had never seen me before December.

    I walked into my first assignment of that year and heard tons of Yay! A SUB! and boys plotting my demise. The majority of the students I had taught since kindergarten. They quickly tried to set the others straight - but the new ones wouldn't listen, lol. They learned REAL quick that I wasn't a sub they could play like that.

    Sticking with one school as much as possible helps tremendously.
     

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