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Lumberman's Message:

I was in for a teacher in a subject in which I have no passion. Actually, I'm finding myself also losing passion in some areas where I used to have passion for. I don't know if this has happened to you and this could be another topic thread.

So I was with 12th graders in the afternoon yesterday and I was feeling totally useless. Although I was going about making sure that they're doing work, I can barely hear academic talk. So I said finally to everyone that I didn't want to feel useless and if anyone has any question, let's discuss. One student shared with me a question and of course I tried to help and then I realize that there's at least a couple of students who were wondering the same.

One student shared with me, and he did not mean to sound rude because he is not normally so, that he finds substitutes useless and he adds how he's used to it. His table members wanted to stop him from saying it. This broke my heart but I showed my sense of humour instead just to let him know that I get it. Truly I do because I would pick up jobs that may not match my passion or personality. In the same way, I would also pick up jobs I have passion/enthusiasm but I'm met with apathy as well. Everyone's got needs. This student is mature enough but seems to lack some tact because he's also a language learner.

I gotta admit, I'm no Jack of all trades but I sincerely want to make it worth their while. Just thought of putting this out there.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
mooba1 11-07-2018 03:21 PM

Y’all (native Texan here) are right, humor and showing that you’re fallible/human breaks the tension and makes you relateable to the students.

Like mrsd5, I am NOT a math teacher, but I do my best. If I’m clueless about something in math, I can always find a student who gets it, and they love to explain the concept to the class and to me.


I’ve often told the kids that subbing feels like a trap door opened in the ceiling, and I fell into the room, so please be patient if I don’t know all the routines and exactly what page you were on yesterday, etc. They always seem to have an “Oohhh...” moment after I say that, and become most helpful.

Sublime 11-07-2018 03:08 PM

ooh..DietCoke...I'm going to use your statement about the sub students. I like it.

I feel useless subbing high school which is why I rarely do it, in addition to the whole cell phone existence. I had a girl in jr hi tell me subs were useless when she wasn't getting her way and I ignored it. It didn't bother me. But sometimes we are just warm bodies since someone has to be in the classroom with the students.

dietcoke99 11-07-2018 12:32 PM

I don't know what your background is, but I, nowadays, usually tell the students that I was a teacher for 10 years, and I tell them that I ONLY sub for HIGH SCHOOL (which is true). I tell them a funny story about when I got my job here (too long for here), I talk about why I don't like other grades (they think it's funny). I seem to get more respect for the rest of the period, it seems, when I do this. They realize that I really am a teacher, and I didn't just fall of the turnip truck.

You don't have to have been a teacher at all to do this, I don't think - if it were my husband, who has NEVER taught a day in his life, he could tell them how he makes parts for satellites, and other stories/things from his work that is interesting - you can connect anything to anything if you think about it so it relates to the topic/class.

My favorite thing is, when a student is expecting me to do one thing (like get mad), is to do the exact opposite, like something humerus. I can't think of anything off hand, but maybe in your examples...

AUTO PARTS - "Honestly, I know almost nothing about cars, except maybe how to get in one, so you would probably be better off asking your friend, instead of me." I would then walk around and let students show me different things about a car. Where is the piston ? By the way, What IS a piston? What does THAT THING do? Student - why do they give us a sub that doesn't know anything about cars? So that you can show me - you can learn a lot by showing stuff to others, and besides, I am all that was left, honestly <chuckle>

With non-working s's one idea that comes to my mind is to say the questions and ask who has an answer - that is only towards the end of the period, though, of course. Just tell the t that you went over the answers in class, and obviously don't tell the s's that you are going to do it.

If several students want to discuss something, ask ANOTHER student to explain it (voluntarily) - you don't have to admit that you don't know the answer . Who can tell us how a piston works? If nobody answers, "am I going to have to bribe somebody to tell us what a piston is with my scorpion sucker?, because you all know that *I* certainly don't know what it is, except that maybe it is a gun? (pistol). Whatever you think of at the time.


[Rudeness about having a sub]

"YOU don't have a substitute teacher - I have substitute students" <oooooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaa, got you on that one, smile.>

I don't let the rude comment get to me (or at least APPEAR not to get to me), as I smile, like I won.

I try to, each period, to do something different, or memorable.

"Raise your hand if you're not here" while taking roll.

What comes to mind is in showing a video on organ transplantation, I talked about baby fae, if you are old enough to remember that. I show them my sucker with a scorpion in it (and I give it to the first person that asks me for it in the last class), things like that - it is fun and makes the class run better even if "the dreaded sub."

Lastly, I always tell students the truth, as much as I can and feel comfortable with. They are in high school, they can smell it when someone is lying, they appreciate it, and it makes me seem "human."

By the way, when mrsd5 talks about letting his/her students work in pairs, that exactly what I was talking about in letting the sub *think* and do things like this, though not in the lesson plan. It works best in the moment, in the situation we are in, and that's what I do, and mrsd5 does, also.

mrsd5 11-07-2018 10:29 AM

Humor does help. I'm lucky that teachers who know me DO let me teach. The day goes so much faster. I am NOT a math person. I let the students know that when I'm in for math. But, I tell them that I will always try to help them. I do let them work in pairs when I totally am lost. I'm always amazed about what I learn, especially when in for math and science. The students appreciate it when I tell them the truth about what I do and don't know. Heck, they've taught me stuff too!

Lumberman 11-07-2018 05:13 AM

I was in for a teacher in a subject in which I have no passion. Actually, I'm finding myself also losing passion in some areas where I used to have passion for. I don't know if this has happened to you and this could be another topic thread.

So I was with 12th graders in the afternoon yesterday and I was feeling totally useless. Although I was going about making sure that they're doing work, I can barely hear academic talk. So I said finally to everyone that I didn't want to feel useless and if anyone has any question, let's discuss. One student shared with me a question and of course I tried to help and then I realize that there's at least a couple of students who were wondering the same.

One student shared with me, and he did not mean to sound rude because he is not normally so, that he finds substitutes useless and he adds how he's used to it. His table members wanted to stop him from saying it. This broke my heart but I showed my sense of humour instead just to let him know that I get it. Truly I do because I would pick up jobs that may not match my passion or personality. In the same way, I would also pick up jobs I have passion/enthusiasm but I'm met with apathy as well. Everyone's got needs. This student is mature enough but seems to lack some tact because he's also a language learner.

I gotta admit, I'm no Jack of all trades but I sincerely want to make it worth their while. Just thought of putting this out there.




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