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Why I will never do HS ever again..LONG (in defense of MS, which is my love)

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Why I will never do HS ever again..LONG (in defense of MS, which is my love)
Old 01-12-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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While in graduate school, I was adamantly set against teaching middle school. I didn't want to deal with the combination of hormones and immaturity that I assumed middle school promised its teachers. Student teaching was miserable. Then I started subbing, and although I have my days where I moan and groan about MS, I also have amazing days like yesterday (well, all except the last class of the day). However, I ALWAYS have a miserable day when I'm subbing in a high school, and here's what I came up with: the students have become so jaded and apathetic with school by this point that they will welcome any change, which includes subs. When a sub enters the class, they'll adapt one of the following ways:

1) ignore any directions/instructions/announcements or anything that the sub says, including "hello, my name is ___________" but remain quiet for the most part.

2) talk non-stop, which also follows with 1)

And if there's work to be done, they'll peacefully decline doing it.


There are always one or two who will listen and follow directions, but it's mostly the opposite.

Non-verbal cues are meaningless. They will not stop talking for one minute, but when you ask them why they're not doing the work, they'll passionately explain that it bores them and bears no meaning to either the class or their life.

Today I was at my wit's end, so I asked some students what the subject would have to be for them to do the work. I was given several responses, to which I wrote on the board and offered as an "alternative assignment"; explaining that I understood how important it was to assign topics of interest. A few students were receptive to this idea and quietly got to work, but overall it was a failure.

Has anyone else noticed this with HS? Some teachers at the school thought I was crazy when I said that I got along well with middle schoolers, but to each his own.


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well..
Old 01-12-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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I'm a sub who is certified k-6th...and I like to sub for the high school. I am very picky about the HS assignments I take though. I usually only do language classes in HS.

First I introduce myself and tell them what the assignment is. I also write it on the board. If there are things to pass out...I pass them out.

If they don't do the work...its not my job to force them. I'm just there for a day. In HS as long as the students are in their seats and doing SOMETHING...that makes me happy. I will usually let them work in groups too if its like a packet. I tell them that after they complete the assignment to do homework from another class, read a book...or do something quiet at their desk. They MUST remain in their seats.

I will not ask students why they are not doing their work. I'll just leave a note telling the teacher that some students chose not to complete assignments.

If students get out of their seats and start being disruptive, I tell them that I will write them up. Simple as that.

Don't give them alternatives to the work the teacher left. Thats not your job either.
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haha...
Old 01-12-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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As you can tell...I don't feel the same about HS that you do
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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I tend to treat HS like pp. They are old enough to know to get the work done without having some adult nagging them constantly. If they chose not to do the work, then they are responsible for the consequences, not me. If teachers want work to be done in class, then the best thing they could do is to have the work be turned in at the end of the period. That is about the only time I get almost 100% of the students working instead of slacking.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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That school called me up to sub for that teacher for the rest of the week, and I turned it down. She has jury duty.

Yes, it's all good and fine to say as long as they're in their seats, but substitutes are also responsible for continuing the learning process. And I will damn well do my best to make sure as many of them are doing that as possible. I think to NOT make sure they're doing work shows poorly on substitutes as a whole. They think we're a joke.

I think part of the reason why I push them to do the work is due to the fact that I'm a licensed teacher and sometimes think of myself as their teacher and not a sub for the day. It's probably a sense of denial I have over the fact that I'm still subbing and not teaching. I like getting my hands dirty so I feel like I'm doing more as a teacher rather than a sub. Does that make any sense? I'm not sure.


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yes...
Old 01-12-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I agree...the majority of students think subs are "jokes". It doesn't matter how many times I explain to them that I have the same training and education as their teacher...the only difference is that I don't have my own classroom. To them though, it doesn't matter. They don't want to do work for the sub...not my problem haha

Some HS teachers tell me to have the kids hand things in...others don't. If the HS teacher doesn't tell me to hand things in...I ask the kids..."When you have a sub...does Mr/Mrs. So and So want you to hand things in. If they hem and haw and don't give a definitive answer I tell them OK, hand it in. Many times they'll tell me yes or no.

It makes sense you want to get your hands dirty. But there is a point where you really can't force students to do what you want them to do. This is at any level of education.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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I'm also used to subbing in MS where students are given more structure and accountability for what they do/don't do in class. It's a rare day when a middle schooler refuses to do work; my brief departure from that sense of accountability deceived me, I guess.

Maybe I should have inquired more about taking over for that teacher's class yesterday. I really need the continuity and the opportunity to teach!
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haha...
Old 01-12-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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for me...I have a really hard time getting middle schoolers to do their work. I have to threaten them, tell them to sit and not talk at all. If they work together, nothing gets done.

I've done a two week stint in a high school spanish class. After a few days, the kids worked for me. One class was BAD, the others were wonderful.

Don't give up on HS, just be picky about the classes you take I suggest math or foreign language classes. Math can be difficult, but you have a TON of extra activities you can pull from the book. Sometimes you'll have a co-teacher if you teach a lower level math class. They can run the class and keep the kids in check. Language classes I find the teachers leave movies or packets of work that will keep the kids busy. Kids elect to take foreign languages seem to enjoy class more than in a required class. Just my opinion
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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My experience in high school is that, for the most part, we are not continuing the learning process. Teachers are not expecting the subs to do much as teaching wise, so they just assign worksheets or whatever that is due the next day. Since it is not due at the end of the period, most kids chose not to do it in class. The always tell me that they will do it in study hall. I am not going to beat them over the head and make them do it. I do include in my note to the teacher that there were students who did not use their time wisely.
If teachers give me a specific lesson to teach and an assignment that follows, I do that. But usually these types of teaching situations stop once I get into high school.

In high school, I tend to encourage the freshman and maybe sophmores a bit more, but I feel once they are a junior or senior, they are old enough to be responsible to get the work done without me nagging or getting mad at them.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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I'm with RadSub and the other PP's. High schoolers are probably going to think you're a joke no matter what you do. I generally give them the assignment, tell them the regular teacher will be checking it tomorrow, let them know that I'm happy (and able!) to help with it if needed, and let them decide whether to do it in class, for homework, or not at all.

I should add that a good chunk of my own high school teachers, especially in math and science classes, (I mostly sub HS math, because I can and teachers really appreciate that!) treated us the same way, and I still managed to get a good education.


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Old 01-13-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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It doesn't sit well with me to just hand out work. I didn't go to graduate school for 3 years to hand out worksheets and be a glorified babysitter; I am a teacher. How else am I going to get experience during this hiring freeze if not by improvising and seeing what works and what doesn't work in terms of student engagement and interest? When I finally have my own classroom, I would like to look back on substitute teaching as something that was at least somewhat beneficial and not a complete waste of time for a paycheck, you know?

I noticed that a few of the students were perplexed by the assignment (this was for 10th grade English) and I wanted to get a list of topics generated so that students had more of an idea of what to write about. This worked for one class...we had a mini-discussion and I wrote some topics on the white board. Two girls who would have ordinarily stared at the paper the whole period did the assignment
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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I base my selection of jobs on the teacher and their classrm mgmt moreso than the grade level. Lately I have been working mostly ms and hs and it is certainly beginning to suit me. There are unique advantages and disadvantages to any grade and so it is such a personal prefrence. Also, the teacher and the admin play a big role as well. i think it is almost easier when you KNOW what you like and if you can afford to stick mostly to those assignments that is good for everyone all around.
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high school
Old 01-14-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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I would like you subs to know that there are well-behaved middle and high school students in existence! I work in a district with 3 high schools, one of which I refuse to go to, and one where I know I will have no trouble. The 3rd one I'll go to, but I have had some apathetic students there. Sure, at the "good" school, some of the students don't do the work, but they are respectful, or I should say they are not disrespectful. The same with my local middle school, which I do enjoy going to.

I have had some bad middle school experiences and some high school, but overall I am very lucky that the schools I work in are pleasant. I have read about some bad experiences on this board and have had some myself, but I have never dreaded going to any of the schools I work at. (Incidentally, I don't work full-time, so I know this factors into it.) I wish it was the same for all subs!
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9th grade!
Old 01-18-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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I have found that the behavior problems are worst in 9th grade! I have a background in Math, yet rarely do teachers ever expect me to actually teach the subject, and are just looking for a babysitter. If they leave boring, time consuming, supposedly "fun" activities, then I'm dead! If they actually leave an assignment to do, I always announce that these will be due by the end of the period, whether the teacher has said so or not. In 9th grade Math, many are taking the class because it's required and really have no Math knowledge past maybe 3rd grade. They have completely given up on themselves, which saddens me enormously...
The main problem with high school students is that so many have no hopes, no expectations, and the worst that can happen is that they will get suspended or even expelled (which hardly ever happens anyway) When a student is only counting time until he/she can drop out, or does not see how a high school diploma will make a bit of difference in their lives (and sadly, in most cases it won't) how can any such threat have any weight?

If you are unlucky enough to land a class with more than 3 such students (3 seems to be the critical number) I don't think there is much you can do. I use "pink slips' - the magic forms that send a student to the counselling center or whatever the school has in place- quite liberally, and hope the remaining students care more...
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