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Confidence is shaken-help, please!

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subbadubdub subbadubdub is offline
 
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subbadubdub
 
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Confidence is shaken-help, please!
Old 03-03-2017, 07:52 PM
 
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Hello! I am brand new to the forum. This is such a great resource! Anyways, I have to vent and ask if my anxiety is possibly valid? I just started subbing two weeks ago. From the first day i was getting booked left and right. I have a lot of experience working with children (I performed on the Disney Cruise Line and was made to be a counselor when not performing and I have worked in many schools as a private music teacher) so i was confident. I am always well dressed, groomed, early, polite, and very flexible. So far, every class I have been to the students have BEGGED to have me back and have told me "I'm a cool sub".

I've only had one outrageous 2nd grade class so far containing two kids with severe anger issues. I also had an awkward class today that was honestly my fault. I shook it off and learned from the lesson, but I noticed that the jobs have slowed to a crawl for this upcoming week (spring break for thursday and friday).

I started snooping around as to why this is and saw a LOT of threads about being blocked. The more i read, the more I worry. Here is what I am worried about, please do let me know if it is something i need to put out of my mind or not:

1.) second grade class yesterday (Thursday) was a mess from the start. They immediately saw a sub and thought, "party!" I had a hard time controlling them and got a lot of sass, but I was upbeat and kept going. The problem was that the math lesson got mixed up and a very rude teacher had to come in and intervene. It was mortifying. I tried my best but they were insane. They ended up calming down eventually and we got the lesson on track. They were calm for a portion of the day but then really got wild at the end. They were all happy, though, an dasked me to come back. I left a detailed report for the teacher but I am concerned about the rude one. I am teaching there again in two weeks so I guess we'll see.

2.) Today I taught at a middle school. The teacher forgot to leave me a lesson plan, so a neighboring teacher came over and gave me the low down. They had a test taken on ipads. Piece of cake. The classes were well behaved, surprisingly, and things went well for the most part. My concern is that several times the test kept glitching for a lot of students and i had to call the office to get the IT guy to come help. Embarrassing. Also, two students had to leave early today. one student calmly told me he needed to leave after about 15 minutes of testing. I told him to talk to his teacher about completing the test since he had not and he said, "oh, don't worry, I'll take it at home." of course, alarm bells went off, so i asked a "trustworthy" student if this was the norm. They confirmed for him and I reluctantly agreed since there was no lesson plan and wording on his policy. I thought the parent would proctor for the test or something. Another girl came in later and was collecting homework for her classes. She asked for the homework and i said there was a test, so she asked for the test. I told her she'd have to talk to her teacher and she got very upset and said it was ok. She was getting very agitated and the class was getting unruly, so I agreed and told her she'd still have to talk to him to see if it was acceptable. Rest of the classes resume just fine. Students are pleased. I asked a teacher that came in later to check on me if allowing them to bring a test home was ok, and she just stared and said she'd never heard of him allowing that. My heart dropped. I was horrified and apologized and she told me to not be worried because he didn't leave a lesson plan explaining anything. In hindsight, i should have taken a moment to call the other teacher and ask but the class was getting antsy. I left a report explaining everything and took the time out to clean the room and even organize the ipad safe (students left it a mess).


I am so worried these two incidents have affected job offers or will in the future. Am I in the wrong? I have learned my lesson and I will definitely be taking students advice with a grain of salt, no matter how innocent they seem.

Thank you!


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Comadrita Comadrita is offline
 
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:00 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry too much about this. I have been a sub for five years and I do the best I can but you will have the good, bad, and the ugly in random order! You sound like a very responsible, hard working sub and I am sure you will be perfectly fine!

The reality is that subs are the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to "who gives a darn about our performance" (except maybe ourselves) In my experience, sometimes we are just babysitting or a warm credentialed body in place of the teacher. Kind of like a "place holder" so to speak. But rarely does the admin. even care unless you completely go AWALL! Honestly as long as no one dies in your care or is abused in any way, you can just relax. I used to be like you "in the beginning" but now I have learned that we are our hardest critic and the teachers are just glad to be able to leave their class.
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It's a constant battle...
Old 03-04-2017, 04:42 AM
 
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Personally, neither of these two incidents seem sufficient to have a big impact, but a lot depends on your district.

1. I've been subbing for a while and have a reputation for good classroom management, but I recently had the same second grade class you did, I think. (Not really, obviously--but it could have been.) The neighboring teachers teased the heck out of me but were also sympathetic. The class has a bit of a reputation but there were also some issues with lesson plans, etc. I returned to the same class a week later and things were much better, partly because I sat on them very hard right at the beginning.

2. The lack of a lesson plan is a saving grace, but I would also offer that you're correct--you should have called another teacher and asked about the test going home. As for the student who got agitated, that was her choice. IT problems are not your fault. I would not, by the way, allow early dismissal without some office involvement and approval.

Unless you're consistently making big mistakes (policy violations, major discipline and classroom management issues) take comfort in the fact that once is an incident and incidents are different from conditions. We work in a dynamic environment where "right" and "wrong" are not always clear paths. Communicate in your reports, talk to neighboring teachers, and own what happens in your classrooms.

As for taking student's advice, I think it's important to remember that they may not be against you, but they are definitely for themselves. One issue I see with subs (and new teachers) is trying to be "friends" with students. Kids pick up on that quickly and will take advantage of it. I think we need to focus on teaching and gaining their respect while holding them accountable and responsible for what they do and how they feel. If we do that well, most will "like" us. That's a lot different than "being nice to them so they like us."

Forums like this tend by their nature to include lots of "venting" and negative experiences. Don't become paranoid. If you get caught in the trap of worrying you'll become your own worst enemy. Stay the course, learn from any mistakes you make, and be very focused on teaching. Many classroom management issues disappear when there's lots of learning going on!
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:58 AM
 
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Don't worry please .It will be fine it seems .
Try to avoid no lesson plan teachers in future .
Any important things like tests please check with at least two neighbor teachers (one will be good for sure)
This is a profession where none will support us if anything went wrong .so be extra careful .
Some days will go easy .
Some with head pain at the end.
But either situations,be careful always .
Some middle schoolers are trustworthy to ask .
But they might be scared of bullying by bad kids sometimes in mind .
So they hesitate to tell truth out of fear .
Better check with team teachers or admn next time .
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Subinnc Subinnc is offline
 
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Relax!
Old 03-04-2017, 05:58 AM
 
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If you are blocked for any of those reasons, it's a bad district to work in, so don't worry too much.

First, the tech issues. Nothing at all you can do about that. It's possible that you will learn to deal with some of that on your own as you go along, but even if you don't, no big deal. You aren't paid to be an IT person...they get paid a lot more than we do I have learned to deal with some of the minor recurring issues just to avoid the disruption of sending the student to the tech people.

Second, insane second graders and rude teachers. You'll always have both, don't sweat either. Some teachers look down on subs, no matter who we are or how competent we are or how much experience we have. I have been subbing for a million years (well, about 14, but it feels like a million, lol), but I mostly sub at one middle school. I will go to one elementary for two particular teachers if I'm not busy and they need me. It never fails that at least once while I'm there, a pull-out teacher or specials teacher or new teacher of some sort will come in and be condescending and rude to me for absolutely no reason. Simply because I'm a sub and they have some crazy idea that they are above me in some way. I hate it. But it happens to all of us and it's not something to worry about. Chances are, the rude teacher is rude to other full time teachers. Crazy second grade (and every other grade) classes happen also. You'll learn tricks to get them settled and behaving as you sub more, it comes with experience. No big deal there either.

As far as doing the test at home... If it's possible for them to do that, you can't control it either way. In my district, teachers put a "close" time on tests and assignments that are on the internet, so the test is locked at the end of class. If that doesn't happen in your district, it really wouldn't matter whether you gave them permission or not. I'm not sure how you could control that.

Like someone else said, you don't have to go out of your way to make kids like you. While I firmly believe that kids won't learn from someone they don't like (or respect), you earn that with boundaries and consistency and showing them that you care. Caring doesn't mean you let them walk all over you, caring means you hold them to the standards that their regular teacher would hold them to. If you are fair and respectful while holding them accountable, most often they will be respectful to you...and in the end, like you. Not always, but usually.

Sorry this was a book! Welcome to board and to subbing!


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mkesub mkesub is offline
 
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I agree..
Old 03-04-2017, 06:05 AM
 
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I agree with the sentiment that others are sharing. It does not seem like you were blocked, or that these situations caused any slowing down of jobs. I have found that jobs are available in waves -- sometimes there are many, other times there are very few.

I've been teaching and I've been subbing, both for many years, and I've had experiences like yours. Middle and high school students are always coming up with "special" circumstances when it comes to testing, homework, computer use, leaving the room, etc.. It can be very challenging to figure out what is legitimate and what it them trying to scam you! Even when there are lesson plans, it seems like the students will always come up with something! Yes, it's a good idea to ask another teacher, but that is not always possible. In the end you just have to make a judgment call and document everything. I will often have the student write and sign a note to the teacher about whatever it is.

Just last week I had a neighboring teacher like you described. She kept coming into the room and yelling at the kids. Yes, the class was at first a bit chaotic, but I was going to be just fine. Sometimes I like to get everyone working and then individually talk to particular kids. She was overhearing and thought I was just ignoring bad behavior. (Not terribly bad, just shouting out and being goofy.)

The reason that class was a bit chaotic was that it was art class, and the teacher wrote that nobody should be done with their projects, yet about 8-9 boys said they were. In the end I got the others kids working and had those boys write a note to the teacher. Then they had free drawing time. Yes, I assume they really weren't done, but in the end it is THEIR responsiblity.

It sounds to me like you handled things with that middle school class perfectly. All you can do is make that judgment call, and write a note to the teacher about it. Then go home, have an adult beverage (if you so choose!), and the next day is a clean slate!

Sounds like overall you are having a good experience with subbing. It can really be a great job!
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first grade teacher here!
Old 03-04-2017, 08:12 AM
 
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I'm not a sub, but I've had many subs for my class over the years. It sounds like you handled the 2nd grade class as well as possible. There are just those classes that are tough, even for their own teacher. I'm sorry the teacher who came in to help was rude- it's never ok to be rude!

As far as mixing up the math lesson- that even happens to experienced classroom teachers- no biggie, it all gets taught by the end of the year.

I would be impressed that you knew to call the IT guy to come and help- nice job using your resources!

And I feel your pain about the wildness at the end of the day. That's a struggle for us all- they are excited to get out, and we need to get them out to the parents and buses. My suggestion for next time is to start them packing up earlier so that there is time to have them sit until they are quiet and calm. I find the day ends much better when I'm not rushing them to pack up.

Hang in there- we need you!
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thank you!
Old 03-04-2017, 10:55 AM
 
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@comadrita: Thank you for your honest feedback and the fact you took the time out to read my post! You are right that the teachers were just happy to have me. I thought about how happy they were to see me and how relieved they were, and I need to remember the good over the bad. Noone died or got lost so that's a win! Thank you very much. I hope someday soon I'll learn to be more like you!
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subbadubdub subbadubdub is offline
 
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Thank you everyone!
Old 03-04-2017, 11:11 AM
 
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@Munchkins: They were pretty good once the lesson got back on track but the teacher was sooo mean. Really shook me but I just smiled all the way through! At the end of the day the kids said it was the best day ever so thankfully nothing went to awry. I really appreciate your input. I had an angelic Kindergarten class as my second job ever and I thought second grade would be a breeze so it was a shock. I'm glad to hear about the math lesson because that was a genuine panic-on-the-inside moment. haha! Thank you so much!

@mikesub: This seriously made me feel soooo much better! I wanted to call the other teacher but he wasn't in his room and the class was just getting crazy. I had to make a quick choice so I'm glad I documented it. I feel bad leaving such a long report but what else could I do? The kids really did like me and they were great the rest of the day. Thank you for your kindness. I'm glad to hear that an experienced sub also had a similar experience to mine. Thank you so much I really appreciate it!

@subinnc: It wasn't a book at all! I will treasure this advice! Thank you! Yes, the test wasn't locked which was very strange. I'm definitely going to research more tricks because every grade is different. I noticed stickers worked wonders for Kinder, but for second grade they cared more about losing a letter in "RECESS" on the board, and middle school was tough. So far i've had two days of middle school and they've been ok, but I need to research more. It's very different from what I'm used to but I love it! I do try and come in to the class with an air of "respect me I'll respect you." I think my real challenge is understanding when something is allowed and when they ARE walking over me. I hope this comes with time! Thank you for your time and kind words!

@sila: That is a very good point! I didn't think that they would be afraid of bullying. I think what I will do is chat up a nearby teacher beforehand (I make sure to get there like 45 minutes early to really make sure I'm grounded) and just be 100% if something is ok or not. I will make sure to be extra careful. It is sad that subs are not supported. Truly sad! Thank you for your kindness!

@Mainesub: Yes, I think I need to really focus on the fine line between being too friendly and commanding respect. I have a very chipper personality as it is and I think you're right in saying kids are smart and can see it. On the cruise line we had to be happy smiley and let the kids do whatever they wanted no matter what, so I am happy that I will be able to enforce rules and be a little more stern. I will work on this balance! I think you are right about the forums! I need to read with caution as mainly people come here to vent to like minded people and these scenarios tend to be the most troubling and are not always the norm. Thank you so much!
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:21 PM
 
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My goodness, I was forming a reply as I read your post, but the remarkable folks here have covered everything I planned on saying. .

You see the common theme here: throughout your subbing experience, you'll have the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just the way it is. Come here to celebrate/vent/cry on a shoulder.

Jobs do come in waves, but one reason for the slowdown next week is probably Spring Break. Teachers often try to hang on and not take any days off around a holiday. Spring fever also could account for the bakzooka behavior of some of the kids. Some are just nutso all the time.

Welcome to the board, and it sounds like you're doing quite well, considering all the circumstances you had to deal with! Hope this week starts out much better!


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agree with Moomba
Old 03-15-2017, 07:29 PM
 
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and was thinking the same things.

Just before spring break teachers often don't take personal business, medical appointments, etc. time because that can be handled during the break (same thing often for Christmas). There will also likely be a bit less work after the break as well for the same reasons. There is also less illness in the spring, generally.

My district has a two week break, so there's LOTS less work before and after the vacation.

Likewise, the kids know a break is coming up and get excited about possible adventures. Some get anxious over having to be at home in what is sometimes a less safe environment than school. You might also check the phase of the moon. Many teachers and emergency room staffs feel the full moon can influence behaviors.
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