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kaliu2fan 07-12-2013 08:08 PM

Question about constant intimination
Last year I started subbing after I completed my Middle School Social Studies/ Language Arts class but my mother passed away and I needed time so I have not completed my Praxis 2 but I am in that process. Here is my question:
I have been in two classes last year where the students have been very, in my opinion, abusive to me. Mostly boys, they beret me and try as I may to ignore them when they get the entire class going I do not know how to get it back in control. Nothing from my classroom management classes ever prepared me for that situation.
For instance, I have had pictures drawn of me in various death scenes. I have been yelled at and cussed at and intimidated by students upset because I was a sub that was making them work- how dare I. Also, many times teachers think that they are leaving enough work for them- I try to have fillers but keeping enough for all grade levels is difficult not to mention the cost I absorb to copy them for those classes. Any suggestion that would keep the cost at the school would be appreciated.
Thank you for your help

Ruby tunes 07-12-2013 09:41 PM

Is there any way you can observe a few highly effective middle school teachers in your area? In particular, teachers who have some difficult groups and who nevertheless are successful. The pre-teen and early teen age can be a very challenging one to teach. There is nothing quite like observing and studying a few experts in action! (I am assuming you haven't done any student teaching yet, or had very little chance to do so before starting to sub.)

Developing a good list of open ended questions targeted to Social Studies or Language Arts would be a solution to avoid running multiple copies of extra work on your own dime. An example might be: Choose a character from today's reading and explain why you would or would not identify with him/her or his/her actions. Be specific and provide details. Good luck!

Mercury 07-13-2013 03:01 AM

Do the schools where you sub at not have a free copy machine in the office? Or do they require you to provide your own paper?

In that case, put the work on the board and have kids copy it off the board onto their own paper.

Intimidation: Kids are like dogs, they can tell when you are afraid. They can tell if they can scare you, or in their words, 'punk you out'. First off get your confidence in order! You need to convey with your body language that you are not to be trifled with. First kid that tries to snap on you, shut it down! Tell them, Do you think you're going to play me? GET OUT. And then put them out; write a referral and send them to the office. Call the office if the child has the temerity to refuse to leave. Usually once you make an example out of one kid, the rest will calm down. It's nothing personal, they just thought it was fun to razz the sub. If you let yourself be razzed, they will keep doing it.

A death threat on paper should have been an instant suspension. What did you do when this happened?

Singfree 07-13-2013 09:20 AM

I'm sorry you're experiencing that with the kids! It can be frustrating dealing with behaviors as a sub, since many kids like to challenge their limits with us. I agree with the advice here. One suggestion I have, even though it's not in your license area (if the schools you sub at allow this), is to try elementary for awhile until you get more practice at classroom management. 2nd and 3rd grades would be a great place to start. After you get a little more comfortable in the role of sub, take on the older kids.

When I first started, the kids ran over me, but with practice and observing other teachers, I learned how to communicate and handle various behaviors, so that the class didn't get out of control. It's good to use direct language. For instance, I may say something like this in a class that doesn't know me...My name is Mrs. C, Mr. X is not here today, so I will be your teacher (notice I said teacher not sub). I expect everyone to have a good day, and to remember the same rules and consequences apply as when Mr. X is here. Then, if there's a rule sign in the class, I'd point it out, maybe quickly go over them, or list your own and state the consequences or system you'll be following. I would then be prepared to get into the 1st order of business (taking attendance, lunch count). If possible write things on the board BEFORE the kids get there. If any kids show signs of acting out, take them out first thing, meaning give a firm warning, next move their tag, put their name on the board depending on the grade. If a student keep pushing it, stay calm, tell him/her the way their day turns out depends on them, and at their rate, THEY WILL go to the office if it continues. Make sure you have a consistent fair system of consequences, and ACT on them. Always keep calm, let them know they are in control of how their day goes; it doesn't bother you, you're sticking to your system. If they start saying cruel things, stop it right now by saying in a firm force "I WILL NOT tolerate that language in my class." Then go through giving consequences if it continues, send the ring leader to the office if need be. There are some things that are totally off limits and I stop right away, like name calling, hitting, kicking, etc...

I was scared when I first started; it did take time to get comfortable and work out my behavioral management, so don't give up. I do think practicing in the elementary grades might be beneficial to start. Wishing you the best!

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