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Fractured Fractured is offline
 
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Fractured
 
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Just really at a loss at how to approach classes
Old 02-07-2020, 06:26 PM
 
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Okay, Iíll spare all the details but this was the week from hell. I am at a loss as to how to deal with students anymore. I try to go in with a good attitude and honor the teacherís plans, even if they are crappy. I still research books or films Iím presenting or teaching. I am realistic as to how the kids will react( itís high school) to actual work, but they are so disconnected from everything. I canít get them to do anything the teacher wants- worksheets, writing, journaling, research.
Today I played them a movie and we had to do some actual work before that. They just kept complaining about wanting to see the film and when we finally got to it they all just got on their phones or talked.
A Sped teacher was also in one class today and just kept rolling her eyes at them, but did nothing to redirect them. She barely acknowledged me when I introduced myself. I could tell she was pissed I wasnít reprimanding them more for phone use or whatever though. I love how people expect us to magically come in and instantly command the respect of people we have known for about fifteen f*cking minutes.

Part of me wants to check out, but they pick up on that so fast and then just totally give up the facade of trying to behave or pretending to work.

I usually try to use humor to start. I usually make a joke about how they will be able to get back to Tik tok soon and last week a girl was furious at me for knowing she was on tiktok. She demanded to know how I knew what app she was on. I told her it was a joke and there was no way I could see her phone. She then put her headphones back on and didnít do any work. I mean, itís getting this ridiculous. What do you guys do? Just mail it in? I am basically working with new kids every day. Sometimes I see the same faces, but itís not like I have any relationship with them. This is just really getting frustrating.


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Old 02-08-2020, 06:23 AM
 
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One of the reasons why I no longer sub at high schools and most middle schools is the students are checked out, they think that they know it all. Iím just some old man that knows how to do math without a calculator. They see no value in education when their goal in life is to be a YouTuber and make millions of dollars a year making videos of themselves playing games.

I hear students as young as third grade talking about their tik toks and can they get their phones out for recess. Third graders with smartphones; most of the time itís the parents old phone and the parents say that their children have them so mom and dad can track where their children are.

Tik Tok seems to be the latest student obsession where I sub. It is this years fidget spinner, fortnite or, Minecraft.
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:57 AM
 
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I ONLY work in one high school. I love high school, but there are high schools in some districts that I wouldn't work in for all the money in the world.

I just do the best I can, and if things turn to chaos, I try to think of what I could have done differently, try to mitigate the damages as much as I can, and move on.

This sounds weird, but I think you're trying too hard. Doing research about the subject, in high school, is far above and beyond what is expected, or asked, of you. Then when the class is chaos it angers you even more because you put so much extra work into it that you didn't need to.

I go above and beyond, all the time, but researching topics is crazy, IMHO.

The best bit of advice I got, from this group, is stating expectations at the beginning of class. Don't wait for the behavior to occur and then try to reel them back in. Yesterday I told them, before any of these things had happened, that I wanted them to remain in the seat they are in right now (no matter what their teacher "always" let's them do. I could tell by their behavior, walking in the door, that if they could sit with their friends it would be chaos). I told them that just because there is a sub doesn't mean that they can wonder around and talk to other teachers, so don't even ask. And if I take their phone, and it is nicer than mine, I will keep theirs and give them mine lol. I don't fight phones as much as I used to. If they insist on wasting their time, and their education opportunity, that is on them, at least in high school. I'm not a miracle worker.

If all else fails, switch to a better district, especially if you're dealing with block schedules. Nothing is worth your sanity. I love the school I'm at, but I was in three districts before this one, that I absolutely hated. And the weird thing is that I get paid much more, here, and I rarely have to work a prep or take over other teachers study halls because they want to go home early. I made $122/day, before, and now I get $160/day. Without the hassles.

That's my experience, anyway. For what it's worth.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:10 AM
 
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I just heard 5th graders talking about Tiktok yesterday. I'd never heard of it.

Fractured: One reason I won't work high school is the phone situation. And if I do, I'll only work at one high school in my district where the students are generally respectful, most will do the work, but to me it's boring because there is nothing for me to do. Elementary and junior high are not allowed to have phones out during school hours; I love it. Like others have posted, it's not worth my time to work where the students are like you described. If there are schools in your district where the high school students are more respectful, stick to those. I would have no idea how to deal with that situation, so I pick schools carefully. If I work at a school where I'm almost crying, I won't go back! And I have, unfortunately.

Sorry I can't help; just posting my opinion.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:28 AM
 
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Yeah, Iím having a horrendous time as well, except I only take elementary and middle school jobs. But the kids are WAY out of control, WAY disrespectful. I start the day with simple, straight forward plans from the teacher and feel confident about the day, and then the kids show up and challenge what youíd always considered your worst subbing day to be. Iíve learned schools no longer try to teach kids how to behave in a classroom; itís an open do-as-you-please-whenever-you-please environment. But for some reason the teacherís plans always include ďThey will be working independently and quietly.Ē ??? So Iím trying to learn how to accept the fact that schools donít teach kids how to be in a learning environment anymore, and trying to learn some tactics on getting kids to accidentally do work while theyíre having their mandatory purely social activity called ďschool.Ē

Even so, Iíve had days where teachers and administrators tell me Iím doing a great job and the class is under control, which theyíre ďa really difficult class.Ē I then let out a blood-curdling scream internally and nearly pass out because how has that day been acceptable, but Iím glad they feel the day is going well. So my advice: even if you feel the day is going badly, donít give up. Reevaluate based on what youíve now seen from the class. If theyíre just talking, I might let them know they can talk QUIETLY as long as I see work getting done as well. And then Iíll wander the class giving reminders to work and writing down names of students not working. Sometimes a student will ask ďIf I do work, will you erase my name?Ē And I tell them itís not too late for them to make better choices the rest of the day, and then I could write a note about their good choices instead. No, this doesnít always work out, but youíre not giving up. Just keep reevaluating the classroom environment, as we donít know what weíre getting ourselves into until the class arrives. And I understand being upset, mortified, frustrated, burnt out, exhausted, emotional, etc. after just a few days into the work week. Have a relaxing (for you) activity to do during planning or lunch hours, so youíre not just stewing over how bad the day is going and stressing over what you should try when they get back. Itís important to breath and remind yourself you are a person who matters.


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Old 02-08-2020, 10:18 AM
 
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I have a LITTLE luck, sometimes, saying that if anybody can hear them besides the person they're talking to, they're too loud.

At least in high school you can start over every period. To me, elementary makes me think of a extraordinarily long block period. I'm glad that others like it. High school can be pretty boring - that's correct, though.

Another thing, if I was going to play a movie later on in the period, I wouldn't tell them that at the beginning of the period. I only write on the board what we're doing RIGHT NOW because then they'll probably rush through it - especially if it's a nightmare block class.

Last edited by bodhimom; 02-08-2020 at 11:23 AM..
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:30 AM
 
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@Subman. Thank you for reminding me to never take a high school sub job again. I wouldn't want to teach full time in high school either. I used to sub in high school 23 years ago before I was an elementary teacher. I realized it was not a good place for me. The students acted like they knew it all and were checked out then. There were no cell phones, so it's probably hell now. When I subbed in high school, students would protest, bargain, and negotiate everything during class. They loved to argue. I am now experiencing students trying to argue with me in fourth grade. I ignore it. Anyway, people now are so narcissistic, I can only imagine what it will be like in the future. Many kids want to be the next Youtube sensation. I get it, people want to make cash, but to be famous or well known in this society, forget it. Privacy is becoming very precious. I'm not sure how much longer we'll be able to retain it with regards to big brother and the ever growing nanny state. I didn't like high school much. Heck, I can barely put up with elementary school politics.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:59 AM
 
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I'm a rare high school sub... but when I do, my situation is perhaps a bit unique. I'm in a small district and have known (and subbed with) most of the kids since kindergarten. So while it's still a challenge, they usually fall into line although it might be a somewhat crooked one. I am not easily intimidated.

But I also always remember (and grade level actually doesn't matter) that I can't totally change the norm in one day or one period. BUT (and it is a big but) I also remember that the kids may be trying to set a new norm because I'm subbing. "Our regular teacher lets us..." doesn't automatically get accepted. A couple of lines I use with the kids:
  • Sorry, I'm not having this argument with you.
  • Are you sure you want to have a power struggle with me?
  • The next decision you make is going to be very important.
  • It has no impact on me if you don't do the work. But it might have an impact on you.

One reason I'm not subbing high school regularly is that it takes about six times the effort to get through the day. The kids are testing the limits of their freedom and, too often, not being confronted when the fail the test by making a bad decision. I think we have to remember that sometimes the only way to win is not to play the game. (I'm not having this argument with you.)

It's easier to say than to do... but don't give up. Show no fear... be fair, firm, and friendly. If there's any magic in this it's finding some common ground so we don't get focused on the battle.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:21 AM
 
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The comments I'm reading echo my experiences. I used to do a lot of high school and middle school subbing, but now it's mostly K-5.

At one time, I thought of myself as an excellent high school sub. I'd give directions, provide a little guidance as needed, and step out of the way. Students knew I expected them to work, but I never hovered over anyone. Gentle humor helped a lot. Sometimes I'd do a little extra research into the subject if I thought it would help, and it often did. Administration liked me, and teachers requested me.

I've noticed a slow change for the worse that began about ten years ago. There's no doubt that phones haven't helped. Blatant disrespect has increased, and it has made high school (and often middle school) subbing much more difficult. There's something else nobody mentioned: learning a student's name. Most younger kids aren't aware of the "hide my name from the sub" game, but older kids have mastered it. It's exhausting, unnecessary, and a major waste of a guest teacher's time.

Last edited by c6g; 02-09-2020 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Most younger kids aren't aware of the "hide my name from the sub" game, but older kids have mastered it.
Lol...I've seen the younger kids try this, but their classmates quickly tell on them. Teens will gang together whereas little kids will tattle on each other.



Last edited by luv2teach2017; 02-09-2020 at 09:57 AM..
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:18 AM
 
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Re Coffee's post: about writing down names. In 5th-8th I will give a student a warning if they are disruptive. The second time I tell them I will write a note to the teacher. I tell them this before class starts. If students get the 2 warnings they are so shocked I'm going to write their names down. I get the "please don't, do you have to, etc". I also get kids who ask at the end of the class if their name is going to get written down even if I never gave them a warning. They're so worried and yet they still disrupt. This generally works because the students I work with are mostly well-behaved and respectful. However, in the last hour of class ( 5th and 6th) they are sometimes so hyped up to go home that I could give warning after warning and nothing will help. That's when I just accept the situation and try to keep my composure until the bell rings.
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Old 02-09-2020, 01:53 PM
 
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I try to get creative in getting their names. Looking at their worksheet/ Chromebook for their name sometimes work. If I can do it confidentially, I'll ask a good student. Sometimes I just have to accept that I won't know their name. It is strange to me, though, that everyone wants the name of whatever student I'm talking about, like it's written on their forehead. I never ask them for their name because it will probably be fake or they won't say, then I feel/look like an idiot. I try every possible way to figure out a name, though, because I hate it when they get away with something when they are outright defiant to my face.
Sometimes an aide or other adult will come in and knows.
I figure it out enough of the time that most students don't mess with me once they see me deal with someone else.
And I DO leave notes about really bad students when I have them.
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Fractured Fractured is offline
 
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:46 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses and suggestions. I do know there is no magic answer or our jobs would all be much easier. I will try to address all the people who had questions or comments for me-

I’m not really getting into power struggles or instances of misbehavior with these kids( although certainly get days like that), it’s that this year they seem so apathetic and lazy. I don’t really try to get kids to do the work if they don’t want to. If they pull out their phone and are quiet, I live with that. It’s just this is becoming the norm and I feel like I am talking to air. I usually have three kids who will do the work or participate in class discussions or read aloud. Everyone else is goofing off, asleep or on the phones. I do set expectations but the school or teacher doesn’t usually enforce them, so I’m not going to die on that hill.



As far as research, I usually do an quick google search on something so I can come in with my own talking points. I am language arts, so if it’s a book I don’t know I try to find out what it’s about and hopefully help the kids with context of the book and author. If it’s a book I know, I just try to refresh my memory about it. This actually helped me this week as the kids were reading a book and having difficulty with it and I knew the last book they did and could compare/contrast key concepts for them. But in general, I don’t use my own time to do this. I do hate going into math and science classes because the kids often ask for help and I can’t often really help them beyond an answer key.

Our district finally gave us names and pictures at roll this year, so I usually don’t have a problem identifying kids. I don’t write down names unless it’s a huge problem because I know that schools don’t follow up and enforce discipline even if the teacher complains to admin. I know this because I had a really bad incident this year with a kid being really racist to another kid and I have friends that work at the school and confirmed nothing happened to him. I will still kick kids out of class, but I know it’s usually a pointless exercise in futility.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:36 AM
 
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I forgot another tidbit that SOMETIMES helps in high school. If it is a freshman class, sometimes I will say, "ok, guys, we're in high school, now. If I wanted to work in middle school, I would be there.".

This has to be said in sort of a non-chalant manner, though, not out of anger. Enough to embarrass them, but not "in your face.".

I've only had one teacher leave seating charts with pictures. I know that they can do it. In a previous life I might have suggested this to the principal, but I've learned to keep my mouth shut.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:49 AM
 
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I stopped subbing in high schools several years ago. It was because of the phones. Most schools have a "policy" against kids using phones in class, but quite often the teacher's plans say the phones can be used for certain things. The plans usually say "just keep your eye on what they're using their phones for." 25-ish teenagers in a class, most or all with phones, and I'm supposed to monitor what's on each phone?
Even kindergarten is easier than that.
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TheMercenary...Try kinders on Fortnight :(
Old 02-12-2020, 11:03 AM
 
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Quote:
The plans usually say "just keep your eye on what they're using their phones for." 25-ish teenagers in a class, most or all with phones, and I'm supposed to monitor what's on each phone?
Even kindergarten is easier than that.
Sadly, the teens have younger siblings who are learning the same bad habits from their older bro or sis. Although the grade schoolers don't use phones in class, they do have access to classroom computers and internet.

Try supervising 25 six year olds during computer time (NOT my favorite part of the day). They're supposed to be on iReady, Lexia, or JiJi, etc., but some of them already know how to surf youtube, go on Fortnight, etc. on the sly when the teacher's back is turned! (I'm not kidding...wish I were. )

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 02-12-2020 at 02:45 PM..
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:58 AM
 
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In regards to names for middle school, I have give them post-it notes and markers to write their names.

This method seems to click with them and they love writing their name. I will use it in lower grades if needed. I do not bother in high school. In California in the district I am in 20 years ago it was determined to be automatic referral for any student giving a false name. I let the students know and this seems to work for them. I make sure I tell them it is a district mandate.
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:21 PM
 
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I only sub for high school, so these are things I do:

Always collect work at end of period. Even if teacher does not say to do it, the kids are on track.

If there is a phone pouch and the kid is abusing cells, use it. Or, tell them to put cell at your desk and they get it at end of period or when work is completed.

Tell students, they can be on their cells when they hand in work.

For movies, everything off their desks, cells in back packs on floor except for some paper and something to write with. Also, collected at end of period. If they choose to sleep through the movie, put it in teachers notes.

If there is no seating chart and their are behavior issues, make your own. Draw it up and put Per 1, NW: not working where kid is sitting or C: cell or EXT: excessive talking. That way if you do not have a name, teacher will know which student is disrupting class. Let them write referrals or discipline.

Someone above said students have changed in last ten years. I see it too. I pray for the workforce of tomorrow. It is going to be horrible.
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:18 PM
 
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AZ sub. Thanks for the tips. I like your ideas, but I am confused about something. You said if there are behavior issues, you put it by where the students are sitting. How do you know they are sitting where they are supposed to be?
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:02 PM
 
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I’m not really fighting the phones now. Teachers openly tell me they don’t enforce the policies, so I don’t bother. I used to try to get kids to put the phone on my desk and they would just bitch and moan the whole class to get it back and accuse me of picking on them, so it was more of a distraction than anything else. Also, if a kid doesn’t give you the phone you have to call security and it becomes a big deal.

If they don’t want to work and don’t bother others, I let it slide.

I always collect work, but some just refuse to do it. But again, they aren’t paying me to motivate these kids. They know it’s usually something the teacher will never grade or look at anyway.

Some kids do work. I meant more I was having a harder time just getting the kids motivated to do anything. We have an assignment to read aloud, they don’t want to volunteer and I end up reading everything. They try to argue to read it on their own, but I tell them no one will do it then.

Some kids will sit down and work, but I am in a lot of schools where there hasn’t been any discipline for these kids since 6th grade, and it’s a lost cause by now.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:52 PM
 
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We can't be more strict than the teachers are. Sometimes they will sound like they are all strict, in their note, to me, but they aren't, in reality. It becomes obvious.
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Old 02-19-2020, 05:07 PM
 
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Bmom- that is very true. I will also have teachers who say in their notes ď itís a great group and they wonít give you any problems.Ē Then one class ends up being really difficult. Some teachers request notes over email and they will respond and admit that that certain class drives them crazy. I would rather have them be up front about it, but thatís usually not the case. I recently even had an admin walk past my room and then come and stick her head in because some of the class was on phones while they were using chromebooks. I guess she didnít complain because I didnít hear about it. Most teachers know what subs have to face, but it seems like admin are clueless about how kids act when the teacher is away.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:08 PM
 
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Whenever I see "should be an easy day," I know I'm in for trouble.
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