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barbarachina
 
 
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barbarachina
 
 
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Need classroom management help, please
Old 09-20-2009, 09:42 AM
 
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I'm new to subbing this year. I'm working primarily in middle school right now. I have a bunch of questions that have come up during my first work days.

So far, lesson plans or seating charts have not been available on any of the days I've subbed. I do receive a sub packet, but they've been pretty useless. Should I make a seating chart for each class? Classes last only about 40 minutes, so this will eat up five minutes or so. Also, I get the impression that some students are scrambling to pick seats in violation of assigned seating (which of course I don't know about, since I don't get a seating chart.) How do I address this?

Re lessons, I've been told to bring activities and materials with me. I can certainly do that, but I'm worried about investing lots of my own money in photocopies (it'd be 100-plus copies) and having to carry all that paper around in my sub kit, which is already heavy. Your advice?

Re behavior, I did seventh grade the other day. The first four classes were a little chatty, but they redirected fairly easily and we managed pretty well. The last one was nuts. I tried every trick I know. I managed to put together a full lesson on the fly, so there was no down time. I reseated talkers, moved toward the problem students to stand near them, took down names for the regular teacher, kept students coming to the board to work problems, and so on. There was also a general level of disrespect from this crowd--some sarcastic comments, raising hands followed by a dopey comment, and talking while I was talking. Nothing helped. Suggestions on how to handle this?

Thanks in advance for your insight and advice.


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digits digits is offline
 
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You sound like you're doing a good job
Old 09-20-2009, 12:09 PM
 
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The problem seems to be no lesson plans. Is that acceptable in the district in which you sub? Where I sub the teachers are required to have detailed lesson plans. I can't imagine being required to bring your own stuff. I would certainly check into that. Subs can't afford to provide 100-plus sheets of paper daily for lessons, spend time creating lessons, etc.
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sometimes it is just them and not you
Old 09-20-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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I've subbed in districts where I used the same methods you tried with that last class -
reseated the talkers, took names down (and told them what I was doing and why), wrote names on the board, took minutes away from recess, and even sent people to the office (which I DO NOT like to do) etc. etc. In some districts or even some classrooms, these methods work. In other districts or classrooms, they do not work and the students will not listen no matter what - period. This varies from school to school, classroom to classroom and there are subs I know from some districts who have no idea what this is like because they've never lived it.

I am curious to know what others will say about this on this board. There are those who may tell you that you haven't tried hard enough, but I know for a fact that in many classrooms nothing, I mean nothing will work.


I've consulted with other subs including those who are retired teachers, on what to do about the classrooms where the students refuse to behave well - no matter how much positive reinforcement you use to reward their good behavior or what kind of penalites you enforce for negative behavior. The seasoned subs I've talked to in the rough districts have told me that you have to have a thick skin and just do your best to get through the day. The contracted teachers in those rough districts have told me that in many classrooms, the fact that you are a sub and have little leverage to do things like give detention, call parents, etc.. is something you can do little about in those cases. Some districts may allow the sub to call the parents. I'm not sure.

Again, I'd like to know what others advise. I do know that a subbing situation can varry tremendously from school to school , grade to grade within the same school and even classroom to classroom within the same grade.
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Try somewhere else
Old 09-20-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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"...lesson plans or seating charts have not been available on any of the days I've subbed."

If this is the pattern at this school, I wouldn't work there. Life is too short to have them to expect you to "wing it" every time.
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Ball Three Ball Three is offline
 
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Disrespectful Middle Schoolers
Old 09-20-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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Sounds like you did an excellent job of deploying an array of techniques (reseating, proximity, taking names, etc) to manage regular kids. But for those who are disrespectful, sarcastic, or clowning when you're trying to quiet the class, ie, whose misbehavior is malicious rather than just thoughtless, an immediate referral to the office is probably necessary to keep the misbehavior from spreading to the rest of the class.

I once turned the tables on a big high school boy who was heckling me, and had the class laughing at him instead of me, but I was probably lucky. In any case, I wouldn't do that to a younger, smaller kid.

I've encountered middle school classes which were out of control from the
moment they entered the room, and which no doubt could hardly wait to
watch my frustration as I tried to quiet them down. I just called the office
immediately and said the class was out of control. No one on the staff
seemed surprised, least of all the regular teacher, who returned to the
room shortly after dismissal and said the kids were indeed "horrible."



Last edited by Ball Three; 09-21-2009 at 07:37 AM..
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no way!!!
Old 09-20-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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This school should be kissing yoru feet for the fact you came back!!

#1: No seating chart or roll cards - then you can't take roll. Stop trying. At the end of the day let the office know you couldnt' take roll b/c you were not left attendance or seating charts. When/if they ever do - let kids know that you will take roll via their seating chart (ours are by photo even, gotta love that!) and if they aren't in their seat you WILL mark them absent (and actually do it!)

#2: No plans - then you can't teach. Of course, there are always those times when an emergency happens - and you shoudl have access to their lesson plan book - search the desk for it. If it isn't there and no planswere left go to the office and request plans. Principals in our dist. approve the plans for the next week the week before and keep copies. If that isn't possible or they can't help you ask the neighboring teacher for a copy of her plans.

#3: If this continues w/ this school then stop going there. Honestly, we dont' get paid enough to do that sort of thing and most subs (at least here) are not cert. teachers and have no idea how to write a plan (I do, but don't let them know I do...it's not my job!)
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Lesson Plans
Old 09-21-2009, 05:41 AM
 
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It sounds like the school you sub at just wants a baby sitter. If that's what they want, that's what I'd do,but I'd make sure the parents know there kids just sat in class all day doing nothing.

I just can't comprehend a school not requiring a teacher to leave a lesson unless it's an emergency. I know somtimes teachers get sick after they wake up. They usually call in and give the principal some sort of work for her/his class. It probably isn't what she had planned, so she improvises just to keep them busy all day.

A teacher in my school district wouldn't last long if they did what the school is requiring you to do.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:56 AM
 
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you've gotten some pretty good advice so far....and they're all right...DON"T FEEL you have to "bring your own materials" ---you are NOT paid enough to make copies (that's why teachers can use the copier and have an account)---

2ndly---I sub in MS level alot too and you have to "earn" their respect..SIGH!!! unfortunately, a lot of times their will be those few students who absolutely refuse to do any work---I've come to the fact that as long as they're NOT being disruptive then I ignore them and chug along (as in talking to themselves; sleeping, reading a book) I just write down in my notes that so and so didn't do any work and state the reason(s)---don't be surprised if the reg. teacher comes back to tell you they already know the student

3rd---don't ever let them see you mad---they love it!!! They crave it! Especially a "newbie"; I once exploded and let out the "SH*T" word out and the 7th graders never let me live it down...I've learned that when the class gets that loud; I just stand in the front of the room and watch and wait (if this eats up all the class time then TOO BAD!!!) it will be written down and I leave it up to the regular teacher to deal with them when they come back
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Piggybacking off of what Yoohoo said....
Old 09-21-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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The most important thing is to never let the students see you upset or frustrated. After I tried the visage of the "nice teacher" last year, I exhibited some pretty negative behavior towards the students, and they were thrilled that they got to me so easily. On really bad days, I used to go through 3-4 lozenges! There's a fine medium between being Little Ms. (or Mr.) Pushover and Captain Antagonizer.
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Five seconds....
Old 09-21-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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This is what I have on the board when the students arrive:

My Name
Today's Date
You have FIVE SECONDS to sit in your assigned seat!

When the tardy bell rings I tap continually and loudly on the board until the class is quiet. I then say, " It would be in your best interest to read this now because your FIVE SECONDS begins now"!

I use the class seating chart as my attendance call.

If there is no seating chart, quickly draw your own, letting the students know it will be given to their teacher. This gives me the idea to have charts ready for this situation. I'm talking "X's" spaced apart with "Back " at top and "Front" at bottom for classroom. Add name by or over X and small notations of positive and/or negative behavior. Add class period, date and sign. This will be in my sub. pack tonight!

I agree with not letting the students see you frazzled. This can be difficult. Just last week I had a high school sophomore who wasn't loud, jabbing anyone, etc. but continually doing small things to be disrespectful and annoying. The class was quietly taking a quiz when X said," Hey Mrs. Poppins. Why don't you come sit over here and give me the answers to this test"! The first thing out of my mouth was, "do I look that stupid?" followed by "You may think I'm a pushover, but you better get your head out of the disrespectful dreamworld it's in and at least pretend you know how to act like a sophomore". I actually received applause from the the class. This student wasn't anyone's favorite. I do think the best option would have been to send him out right then. Our school district has automatic SAC for students sent out by substitutes! This district is a wonderful supporter of subs! Once the students know you mean business but like to also have fun learning, word gets around.

Now, if we could just re-direct those wonderful imaginations to positive behavior and respect for themselves and others!!!

Sorry so long...opinions...everybody's got one...or two...or five hundred!!!


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Old 09-23-2009, 05:45 AM
 
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My only quick suggestion would be to find some sort of activities that don't require you to make copies. I only sub up through upper elementary, but I have a book of brain teaser/problem solving type things that I bring with me when I go. These I can write on the board if we have extra time and the kids can work on them on blank paper. Just a thought that might be more cost/space effective for you. Good luck!
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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Who told you to bring activities and materials with you?

There should be lesson plans and an attendance sheet. The office can get the attendance for the classes if there isn't one, because they do need this info. Lesson plans missing, well, that happens, but should be rare. Here they are required to have a sub folder with plans for those emergency situations, it is filler work but it is something. I have never had to use that, but it is good to know it is there.

Providing materials or lesson plans is NOT your job. We are there to carry out the lesson plans for the teacher, not provide them.

The last class you describe, well, I think every school has at least one of them. In grade school a sub at least has a recess they can use against a chatty bunch, but MS/HS that isn't there, and telling them you are leaving names for the teacher only works if the teacher addresses it the next day. Sorry I don't have a good answer, but that's just it, what works for one class, might not work for the next.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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I consider it basic courtesy to leave a plan for my subs! I'd like something to get ccomplished if I must be gone, so why not leave it in a detailed form the sub can follow? It's really not difficult to have the plan outlined and the materials available...subs can get through it; they ARE certified! :-)
Sounds like you are doing the teacher's job. Maybe you can request uon assignment that the teacher be asked to leave a plan and/or seating chart. If it is a long term subbing assignment, go ahead and put a sticky note on each desk that ha each kid's name. ASSIGN them seats and tell them as they come in to find their sticky, no arguments. Arguments will be viewed as disrespect and student WILL be written up for it.
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Some tips
Old 09-23-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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Hi I have been a sub-teacher for awhile. When the students come in and sit out of seating plan I let them. I use it as an advantage for good behaviour. For example I say to them " I am fully aware that some of you are not seating in your seatinf plan, but if you are not disruptive. Then we don't have a problem"
The next thing I do is when they are completing a task I do the role and mark down where each student is sitting on a roughly drawen map of the classroom. I like to get this done asap in the room so you have the power of their names.
Hope this helps Goodluck
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Good and Plenty
Old 07-10-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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Hello - good to see you again.
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