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discipline when subbing
Old 01-25-2019, 04:12 PM
 
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I retired at the end of the last school year after 30 years of teaching and always felt that classroom discipline was an area of strength. Now that I've started subbing, I'm not so sure. How do you get kids to behave?!!


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My experience
Old 01-26-2019, 04:32 PM
 
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Now, I only teach middle/high school classes, so this may be different. I also only sub in my old district. BUT...knowing the school rules really helps. Our district has a policy that if a teacher writes down a child's name, it's an automatic detention. If the sub teacher writes a detention (yes, we can do that) for an infraction, the student gets a second detention for disrespecting the sub. And they know it. I'm sure things are different for younger students. Also, I really strive to remain calm. Not always easy. I tend to ignore the minor behaviors as long as they don't disrupt the entire class. Also, kids know that I first write down their names in pencil (I make a show of it). If they correct their behaviors, I erase the name. If not, I write it in pen. I always have kids asking if I've erased their names. I even have them watch me do it. So far, it's working for me.
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In general...
Old 01-27-2019, 07:21 AM
 
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It might help if you say more... I'm not sure I understand your concern if it was previously a strength for you as a teacher. I'll acknowledge there are differences between being a regular teacher and being a sub.

As a sub, I find I can minimize behavior issues by:
  • Establishing clear expectations at the start
  • Having a laser focus on teaching and learning
  • Sharing classroom management with the kids

My announced expectation when I start is that "I am here to teach." (I am not there to make them behave; that's inviting a power struggle.) I cover "not everything will be exactly the same as usual but I do know what your teacher wants us to do..." I use a lot of "we's" and "us's" right from the start, so as to (somewhat subtly) make it clear that I'm not some outside stranger. We have some jobs to do. I try to work in something about my belief that "learning should be fun..." and work in the point that what sort of a day we have really depends on how we each work together.

The first part of the day is critical because it sets the tone. I show no fear and certainly don't act at all tentative or confused. Years ago I met an older fellow who said that he thought any successes he'd had in life could be attributed to the fact he was "friendly, firm, and fair." While it seems like an oversimplification, I think presenting that image is important, but it's even more important to get the kids engaged while keeping roles straight.
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Thanks!
Old 01-27-2019, 03:32 PM
 
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I'll try writing the names down in pencil and change it to pen. That's a good idea! Thanks so much!
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:00 AM
 
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Like you, I'm a retired teacher who has been subbing for a long time. I'll say this: it's definitely harder than it used to be.

I used to be able to use the usual attention-getters, such as clapping a pattern, "one two three, eyes on me," or something similar for younger kids. For older ones, a firm "Good morning," followed by my usual very short speech, generally did the job. These tactics, along with a friendly, but firm manner, usually worked very well. They still work, but in many classrooms some kids partially or completely ignore them and do as they please.

It's not just me, because many regular teachers tell the same story. Teachers I know well, even at the "good" schools, say it. Looking at posts on the Vent board, the same themes keep coming up--"My students won't listen to anything," "My kids won't stop talking," or "My students won't follow simple directions." I know two experienced teachers who work/worked at nice schools, and both were always known for great classroom management. One had the class from you-know-where, nothing seemed to work, and she took early retirement. The other was always very friendly and upbeat, but when I saw her in action last year, her classes had drained every bit of enthusiasm from her.

Recently, I took an assignment at a school with an excellent reputation. It's one of those places where subs usually love to go, where they never have a problem finding one. I've been there hundreds of times, and have seldom had a bad experience. When I walked out at 3:45 two weeks ago, my head was spinning. The class was terrible, and there's no doubt that things aren't like they used to be.

When you're with a class a lot, or well-known in a school, it does make it a little easier. My advice is to try suggestions others have offered, and do what works for you. Be ready to try something different when common methods don't work. Finally, when you're frustrated and feel like walking out, remind yourself that it isn't you. They're probably the same for their regular teacher.



Last edited by c6g; 01-28-2019 at 06:22 AM..
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:18 AM
 
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I sub k to 3rd in both the best and worst schools. The magic formula I've found is team competition (table groups) and posting a list of the day's Stars. Then rewarding the winning team and stars at the end of day.

The kids monitor each other when they are in a "team", which helps a lot! You start the day explaining the expectations and ground rules for the teams. Then continuously give points for participation and positive behavior. While deducting points for negative behavior.

You do have to stay on top of it, but when the kids see that their individual behavior matters to their peers, they usually fall in line.

Many elementary classes already have designated table group teams. Many use team points too. If not, just divide the class into teams (4 or 5 students each) and go from there.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:34 PM
 
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The public don't understand how difficult subbing is these days.

Kids have cell phones, tablets, and twice the drama now thanks to social media.

My advice: Pray and try to maintain composure.

It's not a pretty world out there in Subville these days.
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