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smilingturtle smilingturtle is offline
 
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smilingturtle
 
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Started subbing but have doubts.
Old 03-11-2017, 08:16 AM
 
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I just joined this site to help with substitute teaching. I have subbed about 15 times in the past 2 months. Some days have been good some have been not so good. Yesterday I had an elementary class get out of hand towards the end of the day. After multiple warnings and quieting down I finally took disciplinary action which involved less of a reward at the end of class. They get rewarded based on where they are individually on a color chart. Well the class was so loud that I decided that the class as a whole needed the action so I changed everyone's color. This made a couple students cry that claimed "they weren't doing anything wrong". But the class became so unruly and after multiple warnings that I couldn't determine who was causing what. And to move multiple individuals would've taken forever "so and so you are now on yellow, so and so you are now on yellow."

Has anyone else had unruly elementary classrooms? I'm sure you had but I would like to hear, because it would make me feel better.

The biggest problem I have as a sub is I don't know if what I'm doing is good, or good enough or bad. I have no feedback. I have nothing to compare it to. I don't get to see other subs working to have any idea. And when a bad day happens I have doubts about my capability. I feel like I let the teacher down and the students when I had a bad day. And many of the teachers at the school(s) I know pretty well. I had asked them once if they had any constructive criticism so I could improve but they said it was hard because they don't see me in action to help me. But did say the kids really liked me.

If the teacher and students feel comfortable that better than an unknown sub? Are subs new to students more respected by the students?

I did read something in these forums saying that we as subs are our harshest critics and that teachers are grateful to have a replacement. But in my area there seems to be a lot of subs and I am trying to make myself the best. At least for elementary level. And just grateful isn't enough. I want the teachers to see my name and know that I can be counted and relied upon. But after yesterday I have my doubts.

Also after about 6 jobs in a teacher was showing me added to her favorites list and I only had 3 stars out of 5. She said I need to replace this person that I don't even know with you. I only added her because she had 5 stars. That kinda made me feel good and bad. Good because I felt that having a known sub was something the teachers valued but bad because I had 3 stars.

Thanks for your support.


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Bandnstrings Bandnstrings is offline
 
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Oh please you're fine
Old 03-11-2017, 09:32 AM
 
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Everything you said seems pretty par for the course to me. I think you're being hard on yourself. There will always be bad days, or an occasional day where another staff member will be unfair. I became established in a building, and the kids like me. Once that happens, the kids want you to be their sub, do they will be nice to you and behave because they will want you to come back. At that point, you'll be in substitute teacher heaven. I rarely have any sort of problems anymore because the students want me around. I'm confident you'll experience the same thing once you become consistent regular presence.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:45 AM
 
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This is my 5th year of subbing, and I can promise you I occasionally still have a bad day here and there. It happens for all sorts of reasons, some of which are beyond your control.
When I have a stinker of a day, I like to reflect on it and see if there was anything I could/should have done differently. If the answer is yes, I mentally file it away for the next time, and try to do better. For those situations beyond my control, I try to let it roll off my back.
As far as the elementary class, I wouldn't have given several warnings. I tell the class what my expectations are, and what the consequences will be, and I do that at the beginning of the class. I would recommend you do the same, and then carry out the consequences if needed. Be fair and consistent.
I wouldn't have had the entire class move their clips on the chart for being loud. If it gets to that point, I can usually "reset" the class by having them put their heads down on their desks, turning off the lights, and enforcing a "no talking" rule for 5-7 minutes. Young kids sometimes can't get themselves under control without some help.
I wouldn't put too much time into thinking about your star ⭐️ rating. That can vary so widely, and seems highly subjective. In any case, 3 stars isn't a bad rating, and teachers DO like subs they and the students know. You're doing fine, and the pp is right in saying the more consistently you sub at a school, the more the kids and teachers will want you. Knowing the kids makes a big difference in cutting out behavior issues as well.
Good luck, and remember we're all in this together.
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:37 PM
 
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I did lay out my expectations and consequences before class started. I know the kids because I have been helping classes at the school for the past year.

I appreciate the support. Afterwards a teacher did suggest the heads down rule. And I have learned from the experience and there are a couple things I could've done. I feel bad because monday I will see those students again. Not gor subbing. But in helping out at the school.
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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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Keeping a balance...
Old 03-12-2017, 03:05 AM
 
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I force myself to answer two questions at the end of every sub day:
  1. What could I have done better today?
  2. What did I do really good today?
And I do them in that order so I end up on the positive. It almost goes without saying, you have to be honest with yourself. Most people have more trouble with the second question--it's the most important one.

I can't speak to the "star" rating system, but you'll find different teachers have different standards. Personally, I'm not a big fan of stars and colors as a method of managing behavior whether we're talking about subs or the kids.

I do agree that subs often are starved for feedback. I get a lot of mine from the kids. I remember a sixth grader telling me once "You must be a really good teacher because I wasn't bored today." I didn't include that in my sub report. I think subs tend to put too much focus on classroom management, sometimes at the expense of teaching/learning. I'd rather hear that than "it was really quiet in our classroom today."

Even teachers will tell you that some days the kids are just wound up and it feels like nothing is going to work. It could be a full moon or the last day before school vacation or something that happened on the bus... teaching is both art and science.

In your comment, I notice that you are also "helping out" at school... that's a great opportunity to watch and learn from other teachers. When I do that, I'm always relieved to discover that regular teachers face the same challenges I do... some I learn from, some just make me feel like I do a pretty good job!

Lastly, while seeking feedback is positive, it can be a sign of insecurity if it's overdone. Keep a balance!


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Old 03-12-2017, 05:51 AM
 
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No, subs new to students aren't necessarily more respected! I'd say maybe the opposite in fact. I only sub in one school (elementary) so knowing the kids and the teachers means I'm not starting from the very beginning with each class. If someone tries to pull something I can just say "we both know that Ms. Teacher doesn't allow that so why are you doing it?" Usually the kid will say "oh yeah..." and stop. lol. Not always of course but those kids are probably a problem for the regular teacher anyway.

I don't believe in whole-class punishment so I wouldn't have done what you did by moving everyone's clip. Group punishment is totally unfair for those who have behaved well. One of my kids was the proverbial "good little girl" and I hated it when she'd get sucked into a group punishment like that.

Besides turning off the lights which has already been mentioned, another way I find to get an elementary class to settle down is to read to them. I always have several books that I'm prepared to read aloud. I find them in the classroom before school starts, or more often I go to the school library and get a few. I also have some at home that I'll bring in every once in awhile. Reading aloud calms the savage beast. lol. I'm always amazed at how quiet and attentive even the big tough 5th graders are when I read aloud. (5th is the last year of elementary here to they think they're hot stuff).

Even with all that there will always be those difficult days. I just finished a six-day assignment in a 1st grade for a teacher who had the flu. omg. Early elementary teachers are saints. Well, all teachers are saints but early elementary get an extra ring in their halo. What encourages me though is knowing that some of these kids act the same way for their regular teacher, and even sometimes for the principal! Our principal can be pretty scary and yet there are kids who are not afraid of her! It amazes me, but it's just how some kids are these days. Sad but true.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:09 PM
 
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Great suggestions for classroom management suggestions when the class is getting unruly (reading a story, turning off lights). Talking in a very quiet voice can also help. Our tendency is to get louder when the kids get louder, but it only amps them up. I, too, very much disagree with whole class punishment. I also agree with the poster who said giving too many warnings is too much. One warning, and then consequence is needed. More than a warning tells the kids you aren't serious and they will keep pushing.

I would also not worry about the stars. There are so many reasons for the stars you get, and there are so many factors that might not even be related to you. I love the idea of ending the day and complimenting yourself for what you did well and thinking about what you could change for next time. Keep on doing your best- that's all any of us can do!
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:54 PM
 
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Really the punishment for the whole class was more of a laid back punishment. They still got a minor reward for the level they ended on basically its levels 1-4. with level one being the best and level 4 meaning missing some recess and reward. I put them at level 2. But before that I had tried moving individuals to level 2 to show I was serious but the class was still loud. At one point I couldn't hear an overhead page for a student because they started yelling during it. It was the end of the day and they needed to pack up and they were being so disruptive that it was hard to give them directions. The school I'm at I have seen whole classes get punished. Usually with some missed recess. It was just so hard to tell who wasn't making the disruptions. And when some kids did say it wasn't them I couldn't really take it back because the 10 other kids will say the same thing. I didn't have time to read to them they needed to get ready. Fyi the class was a young grade. I subbed the class the day before and they were pretty good. I did give them numerous warnings the day before but they never got to the point of disciplining. A lot of kids even mentioned how it wasn't bad being on level 2. And that the levels reset the next day and they can try again. It was a warning (which is how the teacher even describes it).

I just feel like I let the teacher down.

I did think about the stuff I did well and the first part of the day went great. I think because it was a Friday half-day that they became unruly towards the end.

Out of my 15 days subbing I really only had 2 or 3 bad ones.
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Old 03-13-2017, 01:36 AM
 
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Quote:
I did think about the stuff I did well and the first part of the day went great. I think because it was a Friday half-day that they became unruly towards the end.
There's the explanation! I did a Friday once when the kids (Kindergarten) were so "bad," we were actually paged to the bus for loading. Fortunately, they used the regular teacher's name. "Will Ms. P's class PLEASE report to the busses?!" The regular teacher happened to be in the building--she thought it was hysterical (in a fun way) until I pointed out that very few people knew I was the one having the problem.

One reason I'm not fond of behavior management systems is they are usually too time-consuming and complex. Your experience somewhat proves that.

I consider "heads down" and "lights off" as attention-getting techniques, not punishment. Another one I've used is to get everyone standing and start some form of "exercise" including that song about "ears, eyes, nose toes..." They'll may get more rowdy for a while but will often blow off some steam and be ready to settle down.

If you're running an 80% (12 out of 15) or better average of good days... yay! You'll keep increasing that number as you gain more experience.
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