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subasaurus subasaurus is offline
 
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subasaurus
 
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No plans.
Old 10-01-2017, 09:56 PM
 
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This rant post is not only about lesson plans, but the subbing experience in general. There are so many improvements schools need to work on with regards to how they work with subs I find. No wonder some schools are dysfunctional. They don't pay attention to details or care to. But I'll cover that in a bit.

I've been teaching and subbing for 15 years. I have a lot of tips for schools who can't find or keep subs coming in.

Ok, first off. I were know we're supposed to be flexible as subs and do everything we're told. I also know teachers call off due to emergencies and have no way to send out plans first thing in the morning. Babies are born. People get sick. Funerals are held. Stuff happens. Life happens. Our job is to provide coverage. I get all that. I know we're there to provide a service. I don't go in with a chip on my shoulder ever. Although sometimes I get angered by the rudeness or lack of help provided.

I hate to say this: I feel like quitting teaching when there are no lesson plans provided by anyone. (Even the office.) I grow tired of having to track down plans or beg other nearby teachers for help. Very tired. And the excuses get old. Somebody just give me something. Anything. I'm not allowed to "make up my own lessons." I can get in trouble for that. There's a very clear hierarchy in the education world. And one thing I learned instantly made very clear to me when entering this field was "Always follow the teacher's plan. Never use your own."

It's like "Hi, welcome to our school. We have nothing for you to work with today, and you literally have to rely on the students, or guess what they're doing in class. Good luck reading minds today. Don't mess up or improvise, or else. No pressure. By the way, two positions didn't get filled today by other subs, we'll need you to fill those too."

Here's some tips for schools wondering why they can't seem to find enough subs:

Get organized. Use better communication. Give us more DETAILS. Don't just assume your subs know what's happening. Give us something to work with. Most of us know teachers calling off aren't having fun and might not have a way to give us plans. But can someone email you something??? Don't make us go on a scavenger hunt for lesson plans. Please. It makes our already confusing day that much harder. We don't know anyone! Also, if your subs don't have some kind of written out plan or rosters, you're basically giving them the day from hell. Don't do that. And yes, a schedule with room numbers and period times on it is like a sub's Bible. Give us that too, please. Rosters, room numbers, and class times are super important for subs! Don't forget to provide those.

Actors have no clue what their lines are unless they have a script.

Chefs don't know what to cook without an order written down.

Retail sales associates can't help customers without knowing the details of the store first.

Why would subs already know what's happening in class? Are we psychic?

This is exactly what kills me about subbing: The generally awful communication and unorganized staff. If we don't follow plans we weren't given, it's our fault students didn't do the correct assignment, and we get disciplined. What a joke! Whatever happened to accountability? That's like blaming a police officer for not pulling over a speeder when you didn't give them a working car.

At times we're definitely punished for other's error, lack of insight, or admin's inability to assist. We're perfect scapegoats because we're strangers without a clue. Quite easy to blame a temporary staff member, isn't it?

I consider it an unfair double standard. And unacceptable. Give your subs a reason to want to return. Don't throw us under the bus and expect us to crawl back out. Treat your subs kindly. Remember: We don't know what YOU know.

No plans or attendance rosters even after we notify you we don't have them? Low on details but high on demands? Don't expect subs to know what to do. May as well just have students teach for the day! Good luck with the sub shortage if you think "passing the buck" is an acceptable way to work with your sub staff.

In conclusion:

Schools... Try my tips out... You'll have subs begging to work for you. Seriously. Give your subs stuff to work with and they'll want to work for you. It's that simple. We're here to help, and you should be too.



Last edited by subasaurus; 10-02-2017 at 12:04 AM..
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source of frustration
Old 10-02-2017, 03:49 AM
 
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I've been on both sides of that proverbial fence so I know what you talk about. I don't want to add to anymore to what you say because I'm in agreement 100% Maybe it's time to do a little throwback:

"Documenting missing instructional plans"
http://www.proteacher.net/discussion...d.php?t=560871

Lack/missing of instructional plans is symptomatic of a bigger issue in a school system. I don't need to elaborate.
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Old 10-02-2017, 08:33 AM
 
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My district requires teachers to keep a folder with emergency lesson plans. I've only been kept completely in the dark one time -- a two-day assignment at the end of the school year in a 5th grade classroom. I winged it as best I could, but one brash young man refused to do anything on the grounds that clearly the work I was assigning hadn't come from the teacher. That was headache inducing.

I have subbed for 10 years, and my biggest complaint is the total lack of respect the district has for its subs. We went 7 years without a raise, are encouraged to pay Jobulator for assignments (what other profession allows this?), and have our paycheck delayed up to a full two months after an assignment -- work 9/1, get paid 10/31. Two years ago a law was signed in California mandating paid sick time for all employees --even part timers- who work at least 30 days in a calendar year. The district deliberately withheld this information from subs. I stumbled upon it here a few months ago. Most subs in the district still have no idea they qualify for this one small benefit. It's no wonder districts like this have a difficult time attracting and keeping subs. It's pure and simply demoralizing.

Last edited by Cayo; 10-02-2017 at 09:45 AM..
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thanks for replies
Old 10-02-2017, 05:23 PM
 
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mikhail, glad to see I'm not the only one who finds this a huge problem! Will check out that thread.

cayo, Yeah, didn't see any emergency plans there. Needless to say it was a bad day.
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Old 10-02-2017, 06:24 PM
 
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And when you complain to the office - Like I did - that you were left no plans, you get in trouble, not the teacher.
The teacher I covered for actually made the kids write complaints about me - nice use of instructional time btw. The principal read some of them to me. Then she told me I could no longer work "her school."
Funny enough the school reappeared on my aesop list last year. That's how messed up or desperate - this place is. No thanks!


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Been there
Old 10-02-2017, 08:49 PM
 
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I have showed up to no lesson plans or class rosters. That was years ago and the problem has been dealt with well over the years. Teachers are required to have emergency lesson plans filed in the office. Each sub receives a sub folder from the office as well as a class roster. Teachers are supposed to attach a class roster to their lesson plans. Subbing is challenging enough without the hassle of not having plans.
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@subtastic
Old 10-03-2017, 01:10 AM
 
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That's awful. Can't believe the teacher made the kids write complaints. How vindictive and mean-spirited is that? Never sub there again.

Why are plans such a problem? It's not rocket science. All teachers have to do is shoot out a quick email. And if it's high school the students are independent and teachers could literally write a one sentence email. "Have then read blah blah and questions blah blah."

What makes me angry is subs get in trouble if they don't follow plans, yet we're not given them. Where's the logic there? A totally unfair catch 22.

Some schools have no clue.

Last edited by subasaurus; 10-03-2017 at 01:42 AM..
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:14 PM
 
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My feeling is if the teacher doesnt leave a plan and another grade level teacher is unwilling to help then I say to the school " you get what you get and don't get upset." Teachers need to get in the habit of writing an agenda on the board before they leave for the day, just on the outside chance something happens overnight. Most principals require lesson plans done for a few weeks out, so at least leave a plan book out where I can see it. None of this is really that difficult.

Last edited by Tapdancesub; 10-03-2017 at 06:30 PM..
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Preach it, subasaurus
Old 10-03-2017, 01:17 PM
 
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Your rant is spot on. The district I work for is appreciative of its subs, but there are a few individual schools that cannot beg, borrow, or steal enough subs. I put them in my rear view mirror a long time ago.
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@ subtastic
Old 10-03-2017, 01:23 PM
 
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Huh. I thought I'd heard it all until I read your post. I'd bet a dollar and a donut the kids have no respect for that teacher. Can you imagine being a student in that class for an entire year? Depressing.


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Old 10-05-2017, 07:26 PM
 
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Quote:
And when you complain to the office - Like I did - that you were left no plans, you get in trouble, not the teacher.
The teacher I covered for actually made the kids write complaints about me - nice use of instructional time btw. The principal read some of them to me. Then she told me I could no longer work "her school."
Funny enough the school reappeared on my aesop list last year. That's how messed up or desperate - this place is. No thanks!
In my case I emailed the superintendent about this. I knew if I "complained" in the office about the consistent lack of lesson plans at a particular middle school that I would have a target on my back.

What pushed me to do this was the teacher who pulled plans out of her bag and went to the office to show them when I used her emergency plans. I was blamed for not having followed the plans that she claimed were on the back counter. I couldn't find them nor could another teacher on her team. Interestingly, unless she got married, she is no longer at that school.

Last edited by SubMan; 10-05-2017 at 07:26 PM.. Reason: add details
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no sub plans
Old 10-07-2017, 06:05 PM
 
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Can I add to this list? It is nice when a teacher leaves a roster with pictures and names of students or a seating chart. Students are better behaved when they are called out by name instead of "blond girl with pigtails!"

I don't know what grade you teach, but for high school maybe bring along some review games you can do in an hour. The kids will help you know what they did the day before or that week. You can also have them create 10 questions they might find on their next test along with the answers, turn it in to you and make a review game out of that.
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