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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Sarahsea1 08-23-2017 09:17 AM

Hi all,

I subbed my first two classes this week. Monday I was an anxiety ridden mess. I got to the school early, signed in, walked to my class( I was working 11:30-3:30), no kids. I looked at their schedule, and they were at lunch. I had no note saying if someone was still working to get them from lunch, eeeeekkkkk. I am about to go look for them, when the class came back from lunch with their regular teacher. I only had 5 kids (our district let kids off for the eclipse). 5 first graders for three hours, and they still hadn't gone to activity or both of their recesses. Monday was a good day(although I did miss the eclipse).

Tuesday: I subbed a full day with second grade. Over all it went really well. over 3/4 of the class stayed on task, while a few were constantly testing me. We completely forgot to turn on the morning announcements(when I was a kid, they just played through the intercom), My attendance and lunch count, never got picked up(I dropped it off at lunch). I was one of 20 teachers working the car loop. I felt very unhelpful with the car loop. The car loop took 45 mins to get the 200+ kids to a managable number, so that i could go pack up my room. I have 20 mins to get a lot of things in order for the teacher. I lock the door and walk back inside the school to the office at exactly 3:30. Office door is locked, and all the lights are off. 90% of the office staff had already left, including the secretary that takes our keys. I walk around the school to the front office entrance, through the dark offices and just turn in my keys on the desk. phew I didn't get locked in.

Petra0688 08-15-2017 04:05 PM

I also have a B.A. degree and no teaching certification. I subbed for regular subjected teachers with no masters or certifications and they taught regular subjects with only a bachelor's degree. I rarely get called after the holiday, summer breaks. I"am an on call K-12 Substitute Teacher during the school year, rarely called for like 1 or 2 schools out of total 30 schools, no elementary school jobs at all.

Sarahsea1 08-11-2017 07:12 AM

Thank you everyone for your feedback.

Kailey123 08-10-2017 09:36 AM

I agree with the above comments and most importantly, do NOT start with Kindergarten!
awwww I love kindergarten. And as someone said in this thread usually there are two teachers in kindergarten rooms so you'll have help.

The best tip I can think of off-hand is to get to the school earlier than your assignment says to. The school where I do all of my subbing has the sub hours set as 8:00-3:10. ha! lol. The kids are allowed to come into the classrooms at 8:10. omg, ten minutes is hardly long enough to put your things away and locate the plans. I have a friend who starts at 7:30-ish (she works in the school library) and we usually walk down to school together. It takes us about five minutes to get there so that means I'm there a half hour before the kids. Honestly I don't mind, even though I know the school. I can find and read the plans, make sure the emergency folder is where it should be by the door in case we have to leave the school, make a little seating chart, find books to read aloud after lunch (I always squeeze this in even if it isn't in the plans), fill my water bottle, etc. Can't imagine doing all that in 10 minutes.
Cetti 08-09-2017 05:54 AM

I agree with the above comments and most importantly, do NOT start with Kindergarten!

mooba1 08-08-2017 03:41 PM

Definitely you can look back at the archives for this board and find many, many helpful ideas. I must agree with the others that 2nd-4th is the way to go in the beginning. You'll have to try different grade levels to find what is the best for you, and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

As you go along, you'll find what works for you and what doesn't. I find it helpful to review the day once I get home and relax. It's a good time to think about what went well and what wasn't successful. Yes, even those of us with loads of experience have a less than wonderful day now and again, but the good thing about subbing is you get a lot of fresh starts.

Go over your rules and expectations at the beginning of the day. I keep it short, asking the kids about the classroom rules, what attention-getters the teacher uses, etc. If they say, "But Mr./Ms. ABC lets us/doesn't do it that way/ etc.", I ask them if I look like Mr./Ms. ABC. Of course they say no, then I say today will be a little different b/c I'm not their regular teacher, but we are going to have a great day. That really helps stop the bargaining, and puts the kids at ease.

I'm respectful, yet firm. Do what you say you're going to do, and follow through with consequences if they don't comply. You may not believe this, but often the kids I've had to ride the most are the ones that come up and give me spontaneous hugs after a few hours. Just be sincere and firm, don't yell or get visibly upset.

The other thing I always do is get to school early, and make a quick sketch of the desk arrangement. Then I write down the kids' names (they either have name tags on the desks, or I pull out their spirals, etc. and find their names). The kids are so surprised and pleased when I check roll and call them by name right from the start. It sure helps with discipline to be able to address them by name instead of saying, "You in the pink shirt.."

Okay, way too much info! You'll do fine. Just be patient with yourself while you find your footing. Come back here often to vent, celebrate, ask questions, or whatever. Welcome!

Irish 08-08-2017 09:55 AM

In my county all Pre-K and K classes have assistants. So if the teacher is out or the assistant you are rarely alone and have help with these needy students. Also don't discount special ed classes. The teachers and assistants are usually very nice and helpful.

Make sure if possible to get to the school early so you can find your way around, look at the schedule and plans and locate the teacher's restroom.
Ask questions of neighboring teachers if you need help before school.

I always begin my day with reviewing MY procedures for using the rest room and sharpening pencils etc. I go over a signal when I want them to stop, look and listen like clapping or flicking off the lights. If any questions come up during the day I always ask a student. They are super helpful. I try to call on random students not always the teacher's pet.

I loved subbing before I was a full time teacher and after I retired. It's a great job for a mom with school aged kids. Good luck to you!

Mikhail 08-08-2017 09:44 AM

What others have said make perfect sense. I'm just going to deviate a little but you will discover later that if you keep on doing things within your comfort zone, you might miss opportunities that open to something that eventually leads to something you like.

I say, be bold and try everything you can get your hands on. You just never know that the opportunity that you been waiting for is just around the corner. I know it's happened to me and it can happen to anyone.

You're going to do great. Be brave and fake it till you make it .

kahluablast 08-08-2017 05:21 AM

Welcome! I think it is a great opportunity for people with young children!

Agree with looking back at some of the old posts on PT. Also there are some websites put together specifically with substitute teachers in mind. Here is one:

One of the subs my kids like the most writes a word on the board (respect, awesome, her name) letter by letter (or she erases one letter) for each time period they work hard/well. At the end of the day if they get the whole word they earn a piece of gum. Boy do they love getting the gum! I hate this, but it works for her and things get done.

As a teacher, I want my plans followed, and a quick note back - written right on the notes is fine- telling me what they got to/didn't get to, and if there were any major issues. I always leave more than I know they can do (usually marked for "if you need it"). Sometimes a sub gets it all done and I know they did a majority of the work. Start with a couple of tricks up your sleeve (how will you get their attention? A good time filler/game if you need one) Carry a read aloud picture book with some good ideas on how to use it to get through the day if you don't have any plans. (Read, discuss, some writing/sharing of writing, science/social studies tie-in) . Good luck and come back and tell us how it went.

mkesub 08-08-2017 05:05 AM

I agree with Broomrider. I would suggest grades 2-4. I'd say hold off on kindergarteners until they, and you, have had a couple weeks of school experience. They can be so energetic, and have very short attention spans. Even with clear and practiced routines I find K classes energy-draining. Without them it can get chaotic! There will be crying. There will most likely be some student who hurts another; it's what they do. So then you'd have to deal with that. There can also be kids who don't get to the bathroom on time. And ones who run around. And scream. And at least 15 who will all want to share their entire life story with you. At the same time.

I'd also recommend high school. I've subbed HS classes for years now, and have found them to be super easy. I've never had to teach anything I couldn't figure out. It's almost always plans like: have them continue working on projects, pass out study guides for them to work on, give them a test, study hall, or work on things assigned for them on chromebooks. Generally if there are behavior issues it is something along the lines of the students not doing their work or being too loud. I've never yet had HS bathroom issues or crying. I've rarely had major issues like fighting, and when I have I call the office and somebody comes to take care of it.

Good luck!! And be sure to come on here and vent if you need to!!

broomrider 08-07-2017 08:06 PM

can be a bit daunting, especially at the beginning of the year when the regular teacher doesn't have routines in place. Initially, they are the definition of herding kittens.

You might like to start with grades two through four, they understand school expectations and routines and many are cooperative. I don't have recent high school subbing experience, but understand from posters on here that many high school teachers don't expect much teaching, but rather keeping students in class and doing some assigned work. I can't guarantee that this goes on in all classrooms.

You might like to read through various previous posts on this substitute board going back through at least last school year. Many of the questions you may be mulling come up for others as well: how to manage behaviors, what to take in a bag of tricks, supplies to have handy, how to become known, etc.

Welcome to subbing. It is a good place to start to get an overview on various schools and what is going on in education. Do be aware that having your own class with students you come to know over time and develop a relationship with is different from dropping into a strange situation with unknown children from day to day.

It will be an adventure.

P.S. Even very experienced teachers who sub in retirement have days that don't go well along with days that are wonderful. I expect your days will be the same.

Sarahsea1 08-07-2017 05:43 PM

At the beginning of the year, my employer of 10 years left my area and I found myself looking for a new path. I have two girls in elementary school and thought subbing might be a good way to work close to their schedules and maybe direct me into a new career path. Fast forward 8 months, I am all set up to sub in my district, and school starts in a week. Am I ready for this? Can I really teach these kids, do I know what I need to know? Although I have B.S degree I don't have any formal teaching experience and I don't feel that I am strong in any particular subject.

What would the best grade or specialty class to test the waters in. I always think Kindergarten would be my best bet, because surly I know what Kindergarteners need to learn.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am going to need all the help I can get.

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