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YIKES! Teaching all day, every day? Are you on specials rotation?

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YIKES! Teaching all day, every day? Are you on specials rotation?
Old 07-20-2016, 12:43 PM
 
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Bonjour Library-Media Specialists! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer...as it is quickly disappearing. I just want to get some feedback as to how other libraries are structured for student use. I'm a substitute but have been extremely fortunate to have found my niche in Elementary library media. I taught long-term for 4 months in '14-'15, for 6 months this past school year and now anticipate opening the '16-'17 school year for 8-10 weeks for a LMS going on maternity leave. I enjoy it so much that I plan to pursue my masters in Educational/Instructional Technology.

What I'm concerned about is the fact that the school (to whom the district LMS recommended me) includes Library-Media in their specials rotation (as did the school I just closed out the year for). That might not be so bad except that it's an urban school with behavior problems. And even if they were quite well-behaved as were the students from this past year, I can't imagine having to teach all day, every day. In my recent teaching post, LM classes took place as a specials class every other week. The "no-classes" weeks gave me a chance to do other tasks that LMS do! For those of you who are on a specials rotation, how on the good green earth do you get anything else done? And for Pete's sake, how do you remain effective as a LMS who is resourceful and supportive to the classroom teachers?

From what I understand, the LMS's para helps with teaching the younger classes (storytime, etc.), but I was forewarned that if the para is out sick or for whatever reason and I don't get a sub, then I'd be responsible for teaching ALL the classes. That's Pre-K thru 5th, every day/week. While I need the long-term gig, I'm kind of hesitant and feeling like I should wait to see what else might materialize. Except I already know the truth...these positions are hard to come by! Sigh...the "good" kids spoiled me, and I just can't imagine having to teach unruly ones all day. Besides, I hate saying this, but it defeats the purpose of being a LMS. If this is what schools are coming to, I'm not so sure I want in. To me, it's like demanding that LMS be both a classroom teacher AND a resourceful, insightful, go-to for the whole school. That's just too much...especially on a sub salary ($120/day for LT in my district.) I talk to waaaay too many teachers who are on hypertension meds and/or antidepressants. I don't want to be a sub having to run get a prescription or two of my own.


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Would I be wrong...
Old 07-20-2016, 01:02 PM
 
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...to let the LMS know up front that I will work through her entire leave PROVIDED that the behavior problems don't get to be too much and/or the front office administrators are supportive??? The school has both a new principal and AP, so I like that part. Admin newbies sometimes tend to be more flexible, forgiving and supportive as they, too, are trying to get to know the kids, parents, teachers, the schedules, etc. Still though, I have heard horror stories from some reputable sources. Several teachers walked out last year. One reportedly left EVERYTHING! Told them they could even have her personal pictures on her desk. Several substitutes refuse to take assignments at the school. The administrators were not supportive. (The change in leadership is the only reason I agreed to take the job on.) BUT! I don't do well with extremely defiant kids. I'm fairly patient, and I tend to have really good classroom management skills and a great track record for reeling in kids who are typically "off the chain," but I have a breaking point. And schools like this one are ones that I, too, typically won't bother with...because I'm protecting ME! I don't need the added liability or to jeopardize my role as a sub over a bunch of kids with no home training!

So would a contingency be bad to throw in the mix with the LMS and her new administrators?
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At my school
Old 07-20-2016, 02:40 PM
 
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What you've described is pretty much the way it's run at my school, except for the para. The librarian is on her own and does not get a para. As an elementary librarian (and even from my past experience at a middle school) you are a teacher, so I don't find it at all surprising that they expect you to teach all day, every day.

I think if you throw a contingency into your acceptance, you may well find yourself with a "Thanks but no thanks" response. As someone who works in the school you are expected to deal with the students you have, not the students you want.

I'd think long and hard about taking the long term sub position. You sound as if you're already telling yourself the reasons you'll hate it and it won't go well. If kids don't have "home training," guess what your job is as a teacher? Having said that, I moved from a school where the admin was a disaster and the kids were running the show. I wouldn't suggest my worst enemy take a job at my old school. If that's the situation you're looking at - it's not worth it.

I am a specialist as well. Prior people in my position often sent behavior problems back to class and/or told them they weren't welcome in the classroom. If you're going to be part of a school, you have to be a part of the whole school.
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Thanks...
Old 07-20-2016, 08:04 PM
 
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Thanks for your feedback, Eliza. I guess I'm not surprised to hear that other schools function this way too. Thing is, I totally love teaching and really got into it this past school year. Lesson plans, trying to keep engaging lessons for students, making it fun, etc., etc. But the flip side is that I love the job for the "booksy" part of it and learning the technology and supporting the teachers. Sadly, I see these parts of the job taking a back seat to the teaching/lecturing part. Even more sad is all this push for technology, technology, technology does NOT bode well for many students...who still need much support in just good old-fashioned literacy skills.

Part of me says give it a chance, but I've worked in the classrooms in several schools in this particular part of town. The "reports" about this particular school are, no doubt, credible ones. But after reading your post, I'm seriously thinking the "thank you, but no thank you" might be the best thing. Coming from me, that is. Otherwise, it's only going to amount to me accepting the job with the contingency in my mind...just not telling them that up front. With extreme behavior issues, I might resort to "resigning" before the end of the assignment, and I'd rather turn it down up front than to accept it and not finish. I've built a good reputation as a hardworking LMS (too hard actually), and I wouldn't want to ruin that by leaving people hanging. One of the beauties of substituting (and one of the reasons I haven't been quick to dive all the way into teaching) is being able to pick and choose...to accept or refuse. And because I'm also a realtor on the side, I'm a bit more protective of my energy. Using too much of it to be a "referee" all day for behavior problem students leaves me in a bad space where the positive energy I need for clients gets sucked outta me.

P.S. I sure hope this is a smaller school district you mention where there are no paras. I work in a huge district with gargantuan schools that are virtually small towns of their own. I can not even imagine the LMS trying to function without a para.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-06-2016, 02:26 PM
 
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At my school, we have an 80% librarian, (and a five hours per day library aide to check-in, check-out, shelve books, and lunch/noon recess duty).

The librarian sees each class once per week for thirty minutes. (Our school has 23 classes.) She also does first grade intervention time four days per week for thirty minutes.

When you think about it, she is working 32 hours per week. Out of that time, she has classes for 11.5 hours per week and intervention for 2 hours per week for a total of 13.5 hours with students.

This gives her 18.5 hours per week to make her lesson plans and complete other library duties. She only has to plan for grade levels (4K, 5K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th)...six preps per week that she reteaches four times as we have four of each grade level (only three 4K classes).

She also meets once per month before school with a third or fourth grade book club.

Discipline is not her strong suit. However, she only has to deal with behavior problems for thirty minutes...then the child/ren move to their next half-hour special or return to their classroom.


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All day teaching...
Old 08-11-2016, 07:35 AM
 
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at my school. I am in the specials rotation and see 21 classes a week for 40 minutes each. That is pretty much the norm, especially in elementary schools. Does the school you will be at have a clear cut discipline plan? Is it consistent across the board with teachers and administrators. I would also communicate your concerns with administration.

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2016, 12:57 PM
 
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Ive subbed many times for library (elementary grades) and there is no para, and also you read a book, and teach some lesson, and of course get dumped on putting away and checking in/out a million books. Not the life for me.

As for the kids. Many think that specials means some form of playground break. It takes a strong hand at the beginning.

I have a wonderful friend getting her masters for elementary education who is a Music Teacher. She walked in after they had given music over to subs for a few years. Every single class was monstrous as far as behavior.

As each new class came in, she really made sure they were on mark, Yes-sir, no-sir, how high sir! It made for a more pleasurable learning experience for all. But the older kids still ran around howling like farm cats in a milk barn, and no matter how hard she tried, they were not putting up with the discipline. (This was LCD discipline, like stand in one spot and do not scream). Now, her 5th graders are going out the door, and she has no students that remember the good old days.

So, through attrition, you lose a lot of those behavior problems.
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Turned it down...
Old 08-15-2016, 03:03 PM
 
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Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the feedback. I ended up turning down that assignment...even after meeting the the LMS. I offered to cover until they found a replacement long-term'er, but apparently, they must have found someone else pretty quickly. Location turned out to be an issue...as in I moved a good bit further from that school. I'm glad I turned it down, because several LMS asst. jobs have opened up, and I've decided to pursue something permanent/more stable while I work on my Master's.

Thanks again. Hope everyone is having a great school year so far (those who've started already, that is.)
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:04 PM
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Yikes
Old 08-15-2016, 03:07 PM
 
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I hope your friend is surviving. I've subbed in many music classes because I enjoy music, so I can attest...have seen some ROUGH classes/behaviors!!

Quote:
I have a wonderful friend getting her masters for elementary education who is a Music Teacher. She walked in after they had given music over to subs for a few years. Every single class was monstrous as far as behavior.

As each new class came in, she really made sure they were on mark, Yes-sir, no-sir, how high sir! It made for a more pleasurable learning experience for all. But the older kids still ran around howling like farm cats in a milk barn, and no matter how hard she tried, they were not putting up with the discipline. (This was LCD discipline, like stand in one spot and do not scream). Now, her 5th graders are going out the door, and she has no students that remember the good old days.

So, through attrition, you lose a lot of those behavior problems.
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:13 PM
 
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behavior management can be rough and take forever in specials because we see them whole group for x minutes each week. So if you see 20-30 classes each week then you seem them as much all year as the classroom teacher sees them in the first 10 school days, give or take. It takes longer, consistency, etc. That is one thing that I found difficult about elementary is there are all these classes, and behaviors can vary so widely and such. many specials will also have recess/lunch duty if they need more adults.


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