teachertaytay asked: I'm 20 years old and two years away from student teaching/graduating with my Master's degree. I recently accepted a job as a substitute teacher for the local school district starting in January (yay for not having classes tuesdays/thursdays next semester!) Do you have any advice? I have teaching experience but I have never been the only teacher in the classroom. Thank you, ma'am!
That’s what I did too. take it for what it is: experience. You’re not going to do much if any of your own plans, so follow what teachers leave you to the letter. Follow their classroom procedures and implement your own. It doesn’t matter if “teacher lets us use the bathroom”. you can set your own rules. Leave detailed notes for the teacher.
want brownie points? Grade things if you can, like simple quizzes. Keep some simple workbooks or puzzle books on hand for quick photo copies if kids need to be kept busy. Thank the admin for calling you in.
I would second what GWALP said. The subs on my preferred list are the ones that follow my plans and make good judgements with student questions. For example, if they have a test or a quiz and a student says they were absent, I prefer the sub to have them take it and let me handle it from there. I also love detailed notes about how the day went.
Oh, and please please please leave the desk as you found it! And if you want me to recommend you to all my coworkers, clean the dry erase board!
Note to Substitutes
If the school provides computers in the teacher workroom, please save them for full time teachers unless your assignment requires you to use them for prep. I don’t want to see you browsing news sites or updating your resume when I need to revise a test for next period.
I always feel a little panicky at the start of a day off. Did I request a sub? Did they show up? Are my plans ok? Did I forget anything?
Our Board of Supervisors just approved a bonus for teachers. I’m happy for the support, but our pay scale still needs improvement. A once and done bonus won’t fix it. Plus, it will be added to our checks, which means we’ll probably be lucky to see half of it. I hope we look at this as a step forward and we continue to move in the same direction.
After we learned about Continental Drift, Sea-Floor Spreading, and Plate Tectonics, I asked my students to write a paragraph explaining how and why Earth’s tectonic plates move. An advanced student wrote this:
"The plates move because when Earth rotates it makes the wind and water rotate, which then push the continents around."
Guess who’s coming in for extra help?
I’m so happy to be forced to stay after school for 2 hours, the day after I was here until 8 pm for conferences, in order to “learn” something I did in a 3 credit grad class.
Someone in #education once wrote a post about how they organize Socratic seminars in their class. I know I liked it, but I can’t find it.
I’ve been wondering if this is something I could adapt for my science classes, or if it’s something that needs to be closely tied to a text. We already do class discussions, but I’d like a way to make it even more student-centered and organized.
- Student 1: I didn't know hormones could make you act differently.
- Student 2: Miss, are you just being nice because you are pregnant?
- Former Student: No. She's exactly the same as last year. She's just a nice person.
You asked questions and participated in class. You followed along before working independently. You got it in class. Then you email me saying you don’t get it anymore. What happened?
So I give you advice, and you don’t respond. In class the next day, your work is unfinished. “I didn’t understand, so I gave up.” Why? I encourage you to try. I’ve never taken off points for errors on homework.
This drives me nuts. Sometimes you have to struggle in order to really learn.
My student loan administrator took 6 MONTHS to process my automatic payment.
- Parent: The instructions were not adequate for me to understand the homework assignment in order to help my son. This is not acceptable.
- Me: (in my head) First, I'd say the instructions were adequate, as over 100 freshmen were able to understand the assignment. Second, you were not in class, and therefore did not get the benefit of my explanation. Third, your son was drawing a comic strip during class, so he also missed my explanation. Let's correct problem number three before accusing me of poor instructions.
This is the fourth group of students I’ve had the privilege of teaching (I was a long-term sub for a full semester before getting this job). I can honestly say this year is the best behaved group I’ve had so far. They listen and follow instructions, they are polite and considerate. But great behavior doesn’t always translate into high achievement. It doesn’t matter if they do the work when they don’t turn it in. It doesn’t matter if they listened in class if they don’t spend time at home reviewing. They had a simple quiz today that required them to review on their own, and the average was around 65. Passing, yes. Acceptable, no. We spent time in class going over the material using several methods that have been successful before, but the quiz needed them to memorize material. They have a major test in a week that will require them to go beyond memorization with similar material. I hope I can get them to that point.
Midway through last year, I had a student transfer to my class. He was a problem child - frequently absent, came to class with no supplies or assignments, talked over me, slept, you name it. Needless to say, he failed the class.
I have him again this year, and it has been much of the same. He currently has a 12%. Today, he came in late, talked through my instruction, napped for 10 minutes, then came to me for help. I told him I already went over the directions, read the paper, do your best, and we will go over it as a class in a few minutes. He responded with attitude, saying I was the reason he failed and the reason students drop out. I asked him to take a break in the hall and he refused, so I called an administrator to come get him. Meanwhile, he continues spouting negativity. I truly could not handle having him in class any longer.
Is it horrible to request that he attempt this year with a different teacher? I’ve attempted to get through to him for 8 months and I’ve done nothing to improve his learning. Both of us are stressed out and I don’t know what to do.