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subasaurus's Message:


Block schedules are the worst change to the American school system since the implementation of common core and "distance learning."

My condolences to you. 80 minutes can feel like 800 when there's nothing left to do.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
dietcoke99 11-24-2018 09:06 PM

I actually looked on youtube (and we know THAT is scientific lol) to see what I could find about block schedules.

The vast majority of students (who had been on both schedules) said that they liked the block schedule better. Their reasons were:

(1) They liked the longer lunches (?)
(2) If they didn't like a teacher they only saw him/her every other day.
(3) They could do their homework during class
(4) Some said that school started later (?)

The vast majority of teachers said that they preferred block schedules. I can only wonder that if admin wanted traditional scheduling, how many teachers would then prefer traditional schedules, especially those w/o tenure? Just saying.

I actually think they should go by test scores. At least then you would be comparing apples to apples. It's the best (only?) thing we have that's tangible. I haven't even heard anybody else mention this, but me. It's better than subjective opinions.

I know I'm moving schools b/c the other school doesn't have a block schedule. I don't think t's like it any more than subs, if they were honest.

subasaurus 11-24-2018 05:58 PM


Block schedules are the worst change to the American school system since the implementation of common core and "distance learning."

My condolences to you. 80 minutes can feel like 800 when there's nothing left to do.

Fractured 11-23-2018 05:08 PM

I'd go back and just address the bad class again at the start of the period. Go over your expectations and be firm. Don't say anything about how they frustrated you. I always say I don't like to call the office and get people written up, but I will if I have to. Sometimes classes are just bad no matter who is there, so I wouldn't say it has to do with you necessarily. In theory, the kids should respond to you better if they know you, but I'm over trying to predict what kids are thinking.

dietcoke99 11-23-2018 01:29 PM

I really should have stopped and have done the activities mentioned by broomrider - and I'm the one always saying that I want to be able to THINK!! I didn't think about it at the time, and by the time I realized there was a problem, it was way too far gone, I think, to bring it back.

The class before, although they hated the assignment, did it.

I think (lol) that since I had JUST talked to the teacher for awhile before the class started, and she didn't say anything about it, that I ASSUMED (you know what happens when we do that) that what she had told me was fine - this is a woman that is as old as dirt and has been doing this forever and has VERY extensive experience in teaching.

I read the plan, understood it, and didn't think beyond that. Since I understood it, I thought that was "good enough."

I'll think more about the lesson plan as I'm reading it from now on, as to how good of a lesson plan it is and thinking about if I might have to adjust it - what problems could arise.

I never thought that I might NEED to change a lesson plan so dramatically.

I'll explain what I did and why, and if the t doesn't like it, they can stop offering their classes to me (I think they can do this).

Sometimes going away from the lesson plan given is the best for everybody (even though some on here will say it should be word for word, like a robot, I know, so no need to go through that again).

Since she knew I was a teacher before, I wonder if she ASSUMED that I would do the things that broomrider mentioned? I feel bad if she did. I had just seen her! A warning would have been nice, especially since I had JUST seen her. She may have assumed that I would go away from the lesson plan, as needed, but I was TOTALLY taken off-guard, and she didn't mention it.

P.S. I LOVE your name!!! I told my husband about it.

broomrider 11-21-2018 11:39 PM

is that if you tell the class that their behavior will decide if you continue to teach them(if you don't behave, I'm gone) is that you will give them power over your future and they will use it to drive you out. Maybe just a few, maybe several, but there are students who will gladly misbehave and then brag about getting rid of a sub.

You need to be the one to determine if you will let one period of students prevent you from subbing in a situation you seem to like otherwise.

Have you consulted with the teacher about how difficult it is for the students to sit and take notes for 90 minutes? Have you shared with the teacher the kinds of lessons you've lead that have been successful with those students? She needs to be an active partner in planning lessons that will be most likely to have a good conclusion. Certainly, sometimes the lessons won't be a winner--no one's are and planning what happens in a teacher's absence is hard.

You can also do some adjusting and write a note to the teacher to let her know that you made some changes for your and the students' sakes. Perhaps explain ahead of time that this is a note heavy lesson, so periodically you'll all take a breather and do a different activity--preferably something that gives them a stretch break and maybe a brain break activity. Do NOT say every N minutes we'll do something else or they will watch the clock the entire time and call you out for going one minute over. You can judge the mood and put in a break, a discussion, a chance to write down the most interesting fact and least interesting fact so fact, draw a picture to help remember how something works/ maybe a cause-effect illustration or diagram share with someone how an element in the lesson connects with their own life, etc. whatever is involved in the lesson.

90 minutes is a very long time to be trapped in a chair just taking notes, change up the activity. If the teacher hates you doing that for an occasional lesson and decides not to have you back (which I expect won't happen) than your problem is solved again. But you will have done your best for the students, the subject and yourself.

P.S. ask for a seating chart or quickly draw one and fill it in as you take an oral roll call. If they give a false name, you'll likely be able to figure it out fairly quickly when they don't respond to their name.

dietcoke99 11-21-2018 09:07 PM

I don't really know. I haven't really noticed anything, but now thinking about it, I really haven't seen them do anything else.

I know she always tells me how she doesn't leave her subs "busy work," but I think I (and the s's) would have preferred the busy work.

I'm tempted to start subbing at the middle school, even though I prefer high school, just because they don't do the block scheduling. It can REALLY be a nightmare.

c6g 11-21-2018 07:42 PM

Your are to be commended for your great efforts!

I don't have much to say, but when I read your remarks about 1 1/2 hours of taking notes, I cringed. That's not how block scheduling is supposed to work, and you're in a no-win position.

About 20 years ago, our neighborhood high school (where my kids went) switched to block scheduling, and David Hottenstein was brought in to explain it to parents. Hottenstein was (and perhaps still is) the ultimate block scheduling expert, and he traveled everywhere pushing the concept. According to him, and according to our high school administrators, teachers would not be and should not be spending the entire time lecturing. Teachers would be trained, we were informed, with the best ways to use this extended period of time.

Our high school had mixed results with it. Some teachers knew how to make it work, while others spent the 90 minutes lecturing. After several years, the decision was made to return to a traditional six-period schedule. Money was tight, and block scheduling requires more teachers.

Does the regular teacher always lecture for the entire block?

dietcoke99 11-21-2018 02:25 PM

I'm in kindof a weird predicament, that I didn't see coming.

I have a degree in science and taught science for many years. At the beginning of the year I emailed all of the science t's and told them who I was, my background, etc.

I spoke a lot to this one teacher, who said that she was going to be out a lot this year (health and meetings), and wanted me to sub for her.

We talked about how, especially since she would be out a lot this year, it would be better for the students b/c they would have continuity in that they would have the same sub every time. It was good for me because I love to "talk science," and can do it 24 hours a day.

I could (and have) added interesting information (at least *I* thought it was interesting lol). I have even brought stuff from home when I knew what the topic would be.

I talk to her often and feel like I know her well. Many times I sub for her just the last 1/2 and I talk to her all lunch in her room.

It seemed like a good idea and a win/win situation, at the time. [ut. oh].

I truly like to do something special/noteworthy/etc. for each period. Personal stories that relate to the topic, if nothing else, but whatever I can do to make it more memorable for them, and more interesting for me.

All had been going well when I had a TERRIBLE time with this one period. There were only, maybe 5-7 students who were respectful and doing the assignment, most were goofing off with their friends and disrespectful to myself and the other students who were doing what they were supposed to do.

Two were exceedingly disrespectful (one started videotaping me - I smiled and waved - she said she was going to 'get me in trouble,' and the other was talking, very loudly, to his mother on his cell phone - I could also hear her talking back "Love You!" What is wrong with parents?).

This is truly the worst class I have EVER had. I would normally just not go back. By the way, I moved 4 students at the beginning who would not stop talking, and it continued so much that I gave up. I certainly didn't go above and beyond in this class - I can't when the s's take the wind out of my sails.

I had no seating chart.

It was weird to me because I had subbed for them before and they were fine.

I started wondering if maybe our idea about giving them continuity (and therefore going out of our way to do this), was actually backfiring.

I wondered if it was because they were getting to know me and therefore the unknown about a sub wouldn't work, anymore. There is a quote about when people get to know each other better they don't treat each other as well. I think of my sister who said that her boyfriend's "farts didn't stink," lol, but now they've been through a bitter divorce and hate each other.

(1). So it is possible that it is just backfiring and they are getting to know me too well.

(2). Another explanation is the horrible lesson plan that we were given. We are on these horrible "block" schedules, so we had 1 1/2 hours of NOTES! I'm not excusing their behavior, but even the good students were clearly tired of taking 1 1/2 hours of notes. They had the papers and the s's filled in the information - the lines on the notes didn't always match up with the words on the PowerPoint, though, either (often). This caused more "drama."

I had to stay up front by the projector to move the slides on, so I couldn't walk around the room or anything, and I didn't want to waste the time of the s's who were doing what they were supposed to do, while they watched me walk around the class to babysit the others.

So I don't know what to do. Normally I would just not sub for that t, anymore, BUT I KNOW HER. We have talked about this (continuity, etc.).

I have even explained all of this to all of the science classes (what we are doing and how we're doing this b/c we think it is what is best for them).

This is the ONLY class I have had a hard time with, though the other class wasn't excited about the notes, either, at least they did it.

What I am thinking is to monitor this class the next time and if they start getting rowdy (and I'm smelling problems, again), I'll tell them...

-I wouldn't normally be here b/c of the disrespectful behavior in this class, last time. There are many, many other places I could be subbing where I'm not disrespected (one of the perks of subbing)

-There are 2 reasons why I am here (1) I've subbed for you before and everything was fine. (2) I know your teacher very well.

So my idea is, tell them the foregoing, see if the behavior gets better, if it does, fine, if not, I'm going to tell the t (to give her a chance to correct it), and if the behavior is poor after that, I'm going to have to tell her that I think this idea has backfired and we should go back to the different sub per time thing.

Maybe they would be better off with a different sub each time, probably with little, if any, science knowledge, but the students would have that "unknown" factor where they don't really know what the sub will do.

I know we tried, and the idea sounded good, but I think I'm ready to, as Kevin O'Leary would say, "take it behind the barn and shoot it."

Any other ideas?

I feel sad that this didn't work out b/c I think we're in a relatively unique position to even be able to do this. I don't know if any other department has ever tried (or had the opportunity) do this sort of thing. I also feel bad because it is just one period, but I don't care, I'm not going to volunteer to be disrespected, again, even if 1 period ruins it for all.

This is my first year subbing, by the way, and I've got to tell you that teaching is a totally different job than subbing. The only similar thing is that s's are involved and they're in the same building!


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