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To all regular teachers from a sub...
Old 08-01-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I am a regular credentialed teacher (Social Science) currently working as a substitute in lieu of finding my own classroom. In the district I work in it is my experience that no matter how hard a sub works it is extremely rare, even if they give contact information for it, for the regular ed teacher to so much as send an email thanking them for their service.

As a history teacher I incorporate the use of artifacts and personally shot videos to make history come alive in the classroom. Sometimes I go to the extreme in making this happen, even for sub classes. For example, for a planned sub assignment several years ago I took a side excursion from a trip to Rome to visit Pompeii, Italy, filming through the ruins and then combining that video with a Discovery docudrama on the same subject. Also some years ago I flew on a World War II B-17 bomber and filmed both the experience and aircraft from various air shows to develop a mock bombing over Germany that is part of a lesson on the European air campaign. Earlier this month I toured Civil War sites back east, eating nothing but hard tack for three days to record the hardships of a Civil War soldier as I marched across Bull Run/Manassas in 110 degree heat.

Late last year I was with a classroom for three days in which the teacher gave nothing but boring bookwork which the students I could see would easily slice through. I had been told by the school that this room was having significant behavior problems, so part of what I did was to add my own elements to the assignment, including both my B-17 video and previous Civil War artifacts, without detracting from the original lesson plan. This case was a rarity in that the teacher actually did respond with a thank you, but in most cases they would not.

I have no idea if any of you as individuals would or would not, all I'm asking is that you do because there is a human being on the other end. I know also there are a lot of subs out there who don't do a good job (I have been on the receiving end of this experience as well), but that shouldn't leave a bad reputation for the rest of us.

I remember the first time years ago I showed the B-17 film. When I told about it to the teacher before the assignment date began she had a look on her that she didn't know what I was talking about. But when they saw it later many of the students appreciated it, one even standing up and clapping. I am also known in the district for writing very detailed reports, but she never bothered to send a thank you or anything. Months ago there was a story of a B-17 crashing where all who were on it got out alive, but looking at the mess that it was that was a miracle. Turns out it was one of the B-17's I took ground shots of a few years ago. If I risk my life flying on one of these things for students, do you think it too much to get thanks from their teacher in return? Like I said, one recently did, but most out there don't.


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Old 08-01-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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Well, I never asked you to risk your life for the students!

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Earlier this month I toured Civil War sites back east, eating nothing but hard tack for three days to record the hardships of a Civil War soldier as I marched across Bull Run/Manassas in 110 degree heat.
Wow. Again. That was your choice.

I do thank subs if I see them. We have a lot of regular subs in our building and I thank them if I see them in the building. I also thank them ahead of time (in my note to them).

I do get your point - that subs are human and deserve appreciation just like all of us. I do think you need to realize, also, that subbing is often a pretty thankless job and you'll have to get your satisfaction from the job you feel you do instead of "thank yous" after the fact from the teachers you were subbing for.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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John, I am one of the people who does not write back to a sub often. However, when someone does a good job, I ask them to come back. When I don't hear from the office or the kids, then that sub is more than welcome back to my classroom.
A good sub is someone who keeps control of the class and has fun at the same time. I will not get into horror sub stores right now, but the good ones are respected at our school since they are so very hard to come by.
I know teachers who hate it when subs don't follow the exact schedule given. I also know some who hate it when kids like the sub and are happy to have that particular sub, which is why they will not ask them back.
I have subbed in the past, and it is a difficult job. I try my best to help out a sub, but it is not always 100% good. All you can do is leave your number and info and expect to be called back if the teacher has no issues with your performance. It is not fair, but it is how that particular job goes.

I have to add that I truly don't care if my sub follows my plans or not. I need a sub as a warm body in my classroom until I come back. If they do some work, good. If not, that's ok too. I just want to hear no complaints from the office, kids, or parents.

Last edited by Who me?; 08-01-2011 at 06:16 PM.. Reason: Had to add the last paragraph.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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I always thank my subs when I see them around the building. I do not, nor do I know anyone who, writes a thank you note for a sub.

I would not thank a sub who did not follow my plans. What you may thinks is busy work or review may be needed reinforcement. In the past I have had subs who did not follow my plan, possibly because they thought they had a better plan. I never had them back in my classroom.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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Your post comes across with a large dose of entitlement. The classroom teacher is the one in charge of planning and preparation for her classroom. It is a substitute's job to follow those lesson plans and not teach whatever suits him/her. Classroom teachers are expected to follow the curriculum and substitutes should do the same.

Substitutes are paid employees. They are rewarded for a job well done by being requested the next time a teacher is absent. Teachers should not be obligated to send thank you notes. Besides the point, teachers do not even have access to substitutes' addresses. Should a teacher also be responsible for giving her assistants a thank you note each and every day for their help in the classroom? Let's be realistic. Teachers have enough to do.


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Old 08-01-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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While I commend you for having great ideas to add to a lesson, I would definitely not want you to do that in my class. You can not know what I have planned for later, and may take off on an unrelated tangent, or totally ruin my upcoming plans. You are subbing for me - not taking over my class.

I am required to have generic review lesson plans ready for a sub in an emergency, but normally expect the sub to follow the highly detailed plans I leave when I know I will be out. I usually don't email a thanks to a sub, because I have no direct contact info! I also expect you to do your job, as I am expected to do mine.

I've experienced the horror subs - I'm sure that's not you - but now I lock my desk, file cabinet, and every thing I can when I know I'll have a sub. I do this even if I think I know who the sub will be, as my sub has been pulled to cover another class at times and I've gotten someone I didn't know at all.

I hope you soon get a teaching job and your own class. It sounds like you'll be a great teacher.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. A sub like you is greatly appreciated for the extra work you put in to make learning enjoyable and alive. Too bad you don't teach elementary in my district. I would have you in my phone list!
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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I typically thank the sub when I see them around campus and my BIG thank you comes when I request them again for future absences. As for a formal thank you note or e-mail, in this case I fall short and will most likely continue to do so.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:36 AM
 
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While I appreciate your experience, please do not do this in my classroom. In fact, I would ask that you not return because you didn't follow my plans. Perhaps you should package your lesson plans and sell them, because they sound like they would be very engaging if used at the right time.
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I would not want you
Old 08-01-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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to sub for me....sorry.

I leave plans that may seem "boring" to a substitute but are necessary reviews. I leave work that my students are comfortable completing and that a sub can go over with ease. I would be furious if a sub decided to not follow my plans thinking he or she knew better.

I am a very creative person and teacher but that may not be apparent to a substitute in my room for a day.

As for thanking substitutes, I always leave a note thanking them. I also will thank them in person the next time I see them.


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Old 08-01-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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I am rarely out of my classroom and I always write a note at the bottom of my plans thanking my sub for taking care of my class for the day. I don't send an email thanking them. Our sub caller is automatic and I just get the job number. The subs leave their names and numbers in case I am out again, but I don't have any way to reach them via email.

My sub plans are in no way indicative of how I teach. In my district, subs only have to have a few hours of college so I leave very detailed specific plans that anyone could follow. I don't leave anything too exciting because I don't want my kids to misbehave for the sub. When I am out the material I leave is a review because I would not expect my sub to teach new material.

You sound like a fantastic teacher.
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Sorry, John
Old 08-01-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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Got to admit to being a bit "put off" by some of your comments...I've been on both sides of the desk: subbed for ten years before taking a full time job, so I feel qualified to comment.

On good days, I had perfectly written plans to work with, and several days notice. On other days, it was "on the fly, without a net" at the last minute. My "reward" was being called back for more jobs! Frequently, I was stopped by the teacher I filled in for and thanked; I got positive feedback from principals and best of all, developed a "following" of teachers who would call me whenever they knew they'd be out. I never expected any more than that, and frankly (and respectfully), neither should you. I landed a full time job, thanks to the subbing job.

Now that I have a class of my own, I'm very sensitive to feelings of substitutes: I always leave meticulous plans, back-up work and "go-to" contacts. If I know I'll be out, the room is cleaned top to bottom (I go into "company's coming" mode). I must admit that I do not appreciate it when subs do not follow those plans.

If you want to turn the subbing into an opportunity for a full-time job, you've got to make sure you show the world a positive attitude!
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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My first thought after John's post was, "I wish we had more sub's like that in my district!" After reading all the replies I can't help but think I am glad I do not, ever, have to sub in some of your classrooms.
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Oh, for heaven's sake, John!
Old 08-01-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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I am very glad to have a competent sub guest teach in my classroom and always thank the sub on my lesson plans. But please DO remember that in order for me to be gone for the day I have to take an extra 1 - 2 hours to prepare for the pleasure of the sub getting PAID to be in my classroom. I usually write plans that help to ensure good classroom management as well as student learning----but those plans are definitely NOT written the way that I teach every day. Relationship with the kiddos is everything in teaching--I write plans for someone who doesn't have the advantage of having developed a strong learning relationship with the kids.
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I have done a lot of subbing
Old 08-01-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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Therefore, I know to leave detailed plans that I often spend hours creating. I try very hard to make it as "normal" a day as possible, so while I may chose something like math stations instead of teaching new material, my routine and procedures stay the same. I also write down which students or other teachers to consult if a question arises. I have had two subs in the past year in my room that did not follow my plans. I felt like I spent the remainder of the week trying to catch up and get back on track. I DID NOT appreciate that, and in fact, I have not asked them back.

I often will see my subs in the school afterwards and check in with them to see how it went. I think that and a "thank you" at the bottom of the plans is sufficient.
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Entitled much?
Old 08-01-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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I wouldn't mind you adding to the day's curriculum if everything I planned was completed satisfactorily.

I find your attitude regarding a teacher's responsibility to thank the substitute peculiar and off-putting. In exchange for their hours of service, the substitute receives a paycheck. If a teacher has used up all of their sick leave, the teacher is docked their pay and that money goes to the sub. In my district, an automated sub system is in place-- the system calls the sub and asks if they would like the job (grade, teacher, and location are given) and the sub is free to accept or not. If a sub has had a negative experience with a particular teacher or class, they can choose not to sub for the teacher again.

In my sub plans, I have a letter written to the sub that I update regularly. It starts out:

Dear Substitute,

Thank you for taking my class today.

Sometimes a sub will leave their name and phone number, sometimes their e-mail address. I assume it because they want to sub for me again, not because they're waiting for another "thank you" from me. My way of showing that I appreciate them is asking them to return.

As far as "boring bookwork" goes, I don't feel it is your place to make that judgement. With subs, I don't think a teacher can win. Either the plans left work that was too difficult or detailed, or the work was too simple or boring. I know that subs are often not found for last minute absences or they don't show up, which means an administrator has to divvy up my class amongst other teachers and the students need work they can do on the fly. Our administrators have asked us not to leave complicated plans for this reason, which underscores why you shouldn't turn your nose up at another teacher's plans. If the plans were that poorly written, you can make the decision not to return to that class again.

I'm sorry if you don't feel appreciated. Hopefully you will have your own classroom soon and can develop thematic units based around your interests.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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I agree John sounds like a great teacher. That is not the problem. I have had a regular sub (who once was a classroom teacher) sub for me before, and often she comes in with her own agenda. Are her lessons wrong or bad? No, but since she skipped something on MY plans she put me and my students behind. Now I have to play catch up with my kids and do it in a way that does not denigrate her since I get most of my info from the students. Something like:

Me: How did your review on multiplying mixed numbers go yesterday?
Students: We didn't do it. Mrs.Sub thought it looked boring, so we played a game.
Me: Oh (and in my mind I think do I give them the test I had planned for today? Do I wait?) Well then, let's review (and I'll have to rewrite all my lesson plans later)

And yes, this has happened. More than once. I don't think MrsSub walks into my room with the intention of making my life more difficult. I really think she has good intentions, she just hasn't thought them through. So while I appreciate a sub who can make the plans interesting, I prefer one who will follow directions first, and then make the class more fun.

Last edited by trishg1; 08-01-2011 at 12:08 PM.. Reason: added info
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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I'm sorry you feel unappreciated. I can guarantee that I appreciate someone who can take my place for the day. However, I would never think to write a thank you note.

The way I see it, substitute teachers are professional teachers. They are not doing anybody any favors (so why the need for a thank you note?)- they are simply doing their job, just like classroom teachers do everyday.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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I forgot to address the comments you made about teachers leaving boring plans for days that substitutes are in the classroom.

As some have mentioned, we do not always have a sub in our classes that is certified in our area of instruction. It is nice that all of your examples of how you make the lessons come alive involve you being invited into history classrooms, but what would happen if you were called into an AP Calculus classroom? A physics room? Even a physical science class in a middle school where the teacher left complicated lab plans? Sure, the lab would fun and engaging for the students, but if it's not your area of specialty, how can you ensure that it is done correctly and that the students are getting the most out of it?

It is more beneficial for everyone involved (especially the students)if teachers leave very basic plans/assignments for the kids to do, as we do not know what area of specialty (if any) our subs have.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:45 PM
 
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John thanks for the "food" for thought.

Subbing is a thankless job I put in 6 years as a classroom sub myself before being hired. It's not always an easy task.

I'll work harder to be curteous to the substitutes as well as all the other people involved (lunch servers, custodians, parent helpers, maintainence people that service the building, support staff, bus drivers etc) in helping students learn and grow. Sometime we all need a reminder to be kind to others
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former sub...
Old 08-01-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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and my thanks was being requested by the school/teacher. I made sure I followed the teacher's plans, as several said as subs we do not know what is going on day to day in the classroom. If we got everything done - and done well - I would do something extra with the kids. Having a sub can be stressful on some students, so I liked to leave things on an up note.

I'll bet as a history teacher you bring a wealth of information to your students, especially the ones who do not get to see all the historic sites you have. That's fantastic! History can be really boring when taught from just a book.

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We all want to be validated. Me most of all
Old 08-01-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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But I've learned a long time ago that often times that validation won't come no matter how hard we worked for it. That leaves us with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation - the same thing we struggle with in our students. We want students to learn and achieve simply for the sake of personal accomplishment, yet most will grudgingly do it only for some sort of reward. As adults we need to take responsibility for what we do and seek satisfaction for ourselves out of our own actions, and not simply motivated by an expectation of a pat on a back.

Having been a sub and now a teacher, I like most others here, have seen both sides. As a sub it was extremely important to me to follow the teacher's lesson plans because most of the time the teacher is not out of the class by choice. There are any number of reasons why they must be absent. Most of the time they stress about the class in terms of behavior and whether or not the material on the lesson plans were taught, especially given that they are working under the shadow of high stakes testing.

As a teacher I do my best to prepare for my subs. I do go above and beyond to make sure everything is spelled out and I have all materials labeled and in order of use. If the sub arrives to my class early and reads my lesson plans that person should be off to a great start. But I NEED my lesson plans followed. If I give boring bookwork it is for a reason. Yes, the things you mention do sound great and I encourage you to work those into your lessons in your classroom when appropriate, but not at the expense of covering the material the teacher wants covered. Sometimes we purposely leave seat work because we want to cover some vital material ourselves. Other times we have no choice and must have our subs cover vital material. But it's not for the sub to decide what is or isn't vital. Lesson plans are given for a reason. Please follow them.

And at the end of the day if you felt like you did a good job, then great, take pride in that. But please understand that for a variety of reasons we can't or won't take the time to call you. As at least one other person has said, if you are requested back that is our thanks to you. That means we liked what you did and want more of it.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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I subbed for about four years while I was taking classes to get my teaching certification. I have been on both sides of the fence. I always followed the teacher's plans to the best of my ability, and I also had some backup activities if needed. As others have pointed out, teachers have to leave sub plans. Nothing makes me more crazy than to spend a hour or more writing sub plans, only to have them ignored. I don't always know who will be subbing for me, so I leave review stuff usually. It's not the kind of lessons I normally do for various reasons. When I subbed I never expected a thank you. I got paid for the day. I left contact info in case the teacher wanted me to sub again. John, you sound like a great teacher, but you shouldn't judge other teachers based on sub plans. And you probably won't get thanked a lot, but be happy that you made an impact on the kids you taught for the day. I would be very careful about showing videos and teaching lessons not in the sub plans. You could have some problems with that.
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Tone
Old 08-01-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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I am sorry but I can't get over your self inflated tone. It may be that some of your colleagues are a little stupified about how a substitute has such a grand travel life while many of us have a hard time making it day to day.

[If I risk my life flying on one of these things for students, do you think it too much to get thanks from their teacher in return?]

Really? I am so annoyed by your tone that I am sure meeting you in person would be way too much for me too handle. You might be getting in your own way as far as ever getting a job. A little humility would go a long way. Be careful because Karma has a way of putting people in there place.
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I have no
Old 08-01-2011, 04:25 PM
 
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idea how to get in contact with my subs. I have never been given their email addresses. I call my request in to an answering machine. That's it. I never know who will show up.
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Another sub here
Old 08-01-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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I have to say I've only ever strayed from plans once. And I had been in the room three days, teaching a new concept to special ed 3rd and 4th graders, and could see that they just weren't getting it at all from the worksheets left. Because of this, I varied just enough to add a ten minute or so game on the smart board that taught the concept (states of matter and its changes). I hope that I didn't anger her by doing so, but I wasn't getting through to them and the game worked. My instincts were correct that they needed a quick "hand's on" activity to make the connection.
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Just curious
Old 08-01-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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As a sub, I leave a card with my name, request number, phone number, and email in every classroom I work in (unless I've been there a million times and the teacher obviously already has all that info). All you teachers who say you'd have no idea how to contact a sub--don't others do that? It's pretty common practice here.

(Everything else I want to say about this topic has already been said; no need to rehash.)
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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grav def, yes. I have some subs do that if they like the school and/or classroom. That is how I ask them to come back if they had done a good job. In addition, the office asks subs to put their names and info. in the staff room in a specific area if they want. we always check with other teachers about their subs just in case.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:37 PM
 
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While I can see where some of you are coming from about his "tone," most of you seem to be forgetting bits and pieces of his (very long and detailed) initial post.

For instance, as far as "deviating" from the plans: he stated he'd been in the classroom for THREE days and DID cover what the teacher wanted; he just enhanced it. I know this won't make me any new friends on this board, but I've got to say, some of you seem a little ...I'm not even sure what word to use...about your lesson plans. Your plans might be "ruined" because a caring sub came in and with the means to enhance your plans (in ways you no doubt cannot) and you're getting your feathers ruffled? Really? Apparently, that particular teacher appreciated what he did, so I'd wager a bet that he didn't go in and "ruin" her plans, contrary to whatever your initial take on his post was.

As a refresher:

Quote:
Late last year I was with a classroom for three days in which the teacher gave nothing but boring bookwork which the students I could see would easily slice through. I had been told by the school that this room was having significant behavior problems, so part of what I did was to add my own elements to the assignment, including both my B-17 video and previous Civil War artifacts, without detracting from the original lesson plan. This case was a rarity in that the teacher actually did respond with a thank you, but in most cases they would not.
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It may be that some of your colleagues are a little stupified about how a substitute has such a grand travel life while many of us have a hard time making it day to day.
Again, it seems that people are forgetting information from his initial post. He stated that he's been subbing in lieu of getting his own classroom. Not "while I wait for an opening" but in lieu of, meaning instead of getting his own classroom. It sounds to me like he likes to travel a lot and has a passion for History. Rather than be tied down to a classroom all year, he's opted to just work as a sub and have all the free time he wants for travel.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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I would have to ask that you not come back to my room to sub because you did not follow my lesson plans. I always leave much more work than is possible to complete. When a sub finishes "everything" I know it is time to be concerned.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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I am also a substitute. I am entering my fifth year as a substitute due to lack of jobs in my area. I do not expect to be thanked for my time spent in a classroom. Most teachers in their notes greet me with "Welcome Guest Teacher, thanks for being here today" and end with "thank you again, hope the day goes well" This is enough for me.

I pretty much follow lesson plans to the T. I will regroup if I need to for behavior purposes, but I never bring in my own material and forgo what a teacher spent extra time getting ready for me. (Except for the fifth grade teacher in the beginning of my subbing days whose math instructions simply stated "teach long division") I work through the lesson plans and get as far in them as I can until time runs out. If for some reason we should have gotten farther in the lesson I will state the reason why...technology fail, fire alarm, disruptive behavior, etc. If by chance we finish the work early, I will play some games with the students, but they are educational. I have several teachers who call me back on a regular basis, and one who I communicate with by e-mail and let me do some of my grad work in her classroom. I am grateful for all the work most teachers go through to put together lesson plans for substitutes.

I know that being a substitute has its downsides, I would rather have my own classroom, but I am just glad I can be working with kids. Thank you to all you wonderful teachers who take the time to put together lesson plans for your substitutes. I would love to sub in your rooms!
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I read through many posts before posting...
Old 08-01-2011, 09:06 PM
 
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I can see both sides in so many ways...As a classroom teacher, I always leave very detailed lesson plans for my subs to teach and I leave supplemental work that a sub can work on if there is more time. I try to keep in mind my students and their needs - and I believe I KNOW my class. Sure, some students give subs he** but others like the novelty of a different teacher. Subs that I call back frequently, I trust to give impromptu lessons on the subject matter; however, if a sub had only been in my room once and they changed it up - I would be upset. Something to consider - MANY teachers create lesson plans so that they don't require too much work from subs (because UNFORTUNATELY some subs don't follow lesson plans at all and some do whatever it is they want to do). When we write lesson plans we have to prepare for the worst. (Even though you are not the case). My advise - don't add on to other teacher's lesson plans unless you have taught in their room before and have discussed your ideas beforehand. Additionally, I would LOVE to be able to write a thank you note to my subs, but usually, I'm only able to tell them when I see them again in the school or if I ask them to sub for me again. Anyway, thank you for caring for students!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:38 AM
 
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Most teachers don't expect a thank you for doing their job. The rewards from working with students is enough. Why should substitutes be any different?

Deviating from my lessons plans is one reason I would NOT call a substitute back. I assigned the work for a reason, which the sub is not privy to, so deviating from said lesson/work is going against what the teacher in the classroom wants. Not to mention the amount of work it takes to be away from the classroom. I'd rather come in sick than come back to a day of work not completed by the sub. That just means more work and catchup for me on a daily basis. I don't need that.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:44 AM
 
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As a sub, I try my best not to deviate from the teacher's plans. I want to get called back. I always leave a note, and if we didn't do something like because the fire alarm went off and we had to stand around outside for an hour,I make sure the teacher knows what happened.

I understand the OPs position. We see how lessons can be improved, and it's the teacher in us that wants to do better, but that's not really our job. I am dismayed at the tone of entitlement in the OPs letter. I don't expect a "thank you." I'm getting paid to do a job. I like my job. I get called a lot. I do my best. I think someone mentioned intrinsic rewards, and that is so totally right.

Also, on the sub board, I found a similar sense of entitlement. An OP there requested what we'd like to see in a substitute basket. I think some subs thought it was a gift basket, and they asked the teacher to leave them lunch money and drink machine money. I think that's kinda on the tacky side sorry, but that's how I feel. I sub for a couple of teachers who regularly leave their subs a thank you note and candy bar. It's not right to ask for or expect that though.

I like the idea of a sub basket. Lesson plans, read-to books, class lists, and the like would be easily findable. I won't have to search for stuff, in case the teacher wasn't planning on being out.
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:10 AM
 
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I am a lower elementary teacher so I don't know if someone with your credentials visits lower grades. I subbed for many years before landing my own classroom. It was lonely and I used to feel unappreciated and out on the fringe. I realized early on that following the teacher's plans, keeping kids engaged as best as I could, being helpful to other teachers, going to the lounge etc is what gets you return work. I got a paycheque and many times a thank you in person.


I do write good plans as most teachers I am sure do. I put in my plans the caveat that one is to feel free to run with an idea (within reason) to a subject and simply mind the time that specials run. Where I am ALL subs have the same education degree as I and I may get an elementary sub or a high school sub. I HAVE taken the time to email guest teachers that have done exceptional work in my room. I ask all subs who enjoyed my group and school to leave me a card, or their name and number. I will call them back.

Teachers are insanely busy but we DO watch other mate's rooms as all subs should know. I do make an effort to engage you at lunch as I know what it is like to sit with people you don't know.

You do sound a little haughty and that is harsh coming from me. Tone it down and flip positions to see all viewpoints. You will when you are in your own class and someone subs for you.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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I take it that only a few of you have ever been in to a high school classroom, where if students are left with worksheets, complete chaos reigns in no time! I can ATTEST to you that I have been in high school classrooms for more than 3 days, and it was not a pretty sight! In one of the districts, the students were left with worksheets upon worksheets and they were recycled worksheets from days gone by; yes the students had done them as another part of the assignement. The students disgusted by this, refused to do any work!!!! It got to the point that the 1st three subs left before I arrived, the 1st guy only lasted ONE hour! It was so horrible, that even with all the exciting games I made using the worksheets (review games), on day 5, and the teacher was not coming back like planned, and didn't leave further decent plans, except more recycled worksheets, the students decided to break out into major protest. It was SO bad, that I had administration and 3 cops in my room, and they still could not get them under control! I do believe that 11 students were arrested in the last class period, on the 5th day! I never went back to that school again.

BOTTOM LINE: Students of all ages need strong lesson plans, not just repeat worksheets!

Elementary teachers, like most of you, do a decent job in planning for subs. And there are not the problems, like in middle and high school.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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"Elementary teachers, like most of you, do a decent job in planning for subs. And there are not the problems, like in middle and high school."



Wow... just wow. As a high school teacher, I don't even know how to respond to your post.....so obnoxious and off base.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said, but I have to agree that I would be very upset if someone came in and SO up-ended what I had left because they thought they could make it better.

As a classroom teacher who spends 7 hours a day, 180 days a year with my kiddos, I know what they can handle and what types of activities are appropriate when I am out of the room.

I am sorry to the OP for feeling so unappreciated. It sounds like you really care about what you are doing and take your subbing seriously... but I also care about and take my job seriously 180 days a year and hear very few "thank yous" for doing my job.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:59 PM
 
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Quote:
I take it that only a few of you have ever been in to a high school classroom, where if students are left with worksheets, complete chaos reigns in no time! I can ATTEST to you that I have been in high school classrooms for more than 3 days, and it was not a pretty sight!
Sorry you had to deal with this. As a middle school teacher though, I can say that the problem here sounds more like a classroom management problem rather than the fact that there were worksheets. I think it's absurb that the teacher left sheets they had already done, but from the information you give in your post, it sounds like this experience would have turned into chaos regardless. If it got so out of control that students had to be arrested, I would say that the school has some serious discipline issues that they are not addressing. I highly doubt it only happened on that day purely because they were given worksheets. Be careful about pointing the finger at the teacher for poor planning in a situation like this. Teaching in schools with big discipline problems is hard work and often involves being able to change everything in the moment as necessary. It's tough for a teacher to plan for these situations without knowing who will be in the room and what his or her background experiences are, especially when it comes to discipline.
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In my sub plans....
Old 08-02-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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I always start with a short paragraph thanking my sub. I keep this on my flashdrive so as to keep it personal.....meaning I like to find out who my sub is going to be (I usually plan my "mental health" days so I do not get worn down and get sick) and put their name in the plans. I am pretty particular about making plans for kids who MAY get a bit uneasy to handle and alternatives for them. In doing these things I would hope a sub would see the appreciation.

I know that this is preaching to the choir (mostly) but it is SO much more difficult to be out than to be at school. A sub should understand that it probably takes twice the effort to make plans for a sub....because I have to tell you what I take for granted....schedules, fire routes, names of teachers to help, student helpers hilited on seating charts, etc. Sooooo......when I come back and find that (maybe) my plans were not followed you have to understand (as another poster mentioned) that kind of raises my hackles (I mean that in the nicest way possible). Even if my plans are followed i have a ton of catching up to do.....however, I do keep my eyes open for that same sub so as to stop by and talk to them in another room if/when I get the chance......

I hope your subbing continues, you are a very important part of what we do.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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The number one thing for me is keeping the normal routine.

The younger the kids, the more they hate change.

I take my rewards from a smile, a kind comment, and the enthusiasm from staff mebers when I arrive.

I tend to go in very conservative, and gradually loosen the reigns somewhat as the day progresses.

I personally love regimented routines for younger/wilder classes.

I like to get them busy, right from the start leaving little room for people to get off track.

I have had my tough days, but most of the time it was I was tired or got disoriented.

If it is a class I have not gone to regularly, the first two minutes determine the whole day

I love to hit the ground running and get them working ASAP!

In elementary if you get thru reading groups and the morning, you are getting hi-fives by the time you leave.

In no other position does attitude and endurance matter more than subbing.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:50 PM
 
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I hear your frustration and understand that you always bring your A game.
Having subbed myself, my experience was that most teachers did say thank you, if they knew who I was. Most times, teachers can not put a name to a face. That may not be your case, though. If you are asked back to a classroom, that is your indication that the teacher did appreciate how you handled his/her class. But I think that you want more than that.
While you may deserve that more than some subsitutes (probably more than I did), teachers, whether classroom or substitute, rarely get any praise. If you wait for that to happen on a regular basis, you will continue to be disappointed.
Subbing is an extremely difficult job, and while you and others do deserve a note of thanks, when we get back to school, we hit the ground running.
So you have to know that you are adding value to the class and are having a positive impact on the students. Knowing that, has to be more important than a thank you note.
It goes without saying, that the classroom teachers appreciate your presence in our rooms.
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A thank you note for doing your job???
Old 08-02-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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It is unusual to expect a thank you note for simply doing your job. Yes--if you are a substitute, that is your job and you should not expect a thank you note. If a teacher for whom you have filled in sees you around, it would be nice for her to thank you for subbing in her class; however, a thank you note is a little much.
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When I call for a sub
Old 08-02-2011, 08:10 PM
 
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it's usually because I am sick. I have, at times, had to go to school with a temperature to make sure everything was organized for the sub. When I had knee surgery, I sent DH to school every evening with instructions for where to find everything for the sub. It takes a couple of hours to prepare a day. I try to put everything in order with sticky notes labeling times and extra thoughts. Sorry if I don't think to write a thank you note. I didn't realize you were subbing for me. I thought you were doing it for the kids, and for the school.
BTW, I don't usually expect a thank-you note for writing organized, easy-to-follow lesson plans for the sub, either.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:30 PM
 
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"I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough."

Mark Twain
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:34 PM
 
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You should go work at a charter school.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:43 AM
 
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My lesson plans always start with a note to the sub and the opening line, "Thank you so much for being here for me today." I work hard on lesson plans and I expect them to be followed. If a sub wants to ignore my plans and do their own thing then they will not be subbing for me again- nor for my team. Simple as that.
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You expect a thank you note?
Old 08-03-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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I don't get thank you notes from people each day I do my job. I work hard, too. I don't expect a formal thank you, and I don't get why you expect it, either. This isn't how jobs work.

I do always write a "thank you for helping in my classroom" at the end of the sub plans, to be polite, and that should be enough.

You are a paid professional doing a job, and you get "thanked" by getting a paycheck, by being asked back, and by the rewarding feeling that you did a good job and helped the students that day.
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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If you want a Thank You note for all your hard work - you are in the wrong profession.
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:43 PM
 
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I'm a retired teacher and an occasional sub, and I can speak from experience that thank-yous are optional. I never thanked subs in an email, and as a sub I do not expect any teacher to thank me by email.

If I really liked what the sub had done and if my colleagues approved of the sub, I would always try to request the same sub. These extraordinary subs were in high demand, so it was harder to get them unless I was able to request far in advance. They knew we were grateful for their services.

IMHO subs know when they do a great job, and don't really need that digital gold star. Besides, in my district you can't really communicate with subs via email.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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I realize this was an old post by john, but I just HAD to respond. John, seems like you think that TEACHERS are the peons, and YOU are the only one who really knows how to teach.

I agree w/many others that I would not want you in my classroom. As a sub, you are in no position to judge what is going on in that room. You have no idea what has happened prior to your being there, nor do you know what is required of the teacher, etc.

Teachers put much time into sub plans. We don't always know who will be there, so we want the plans to be easy to implement. We also want our students teach new concepts as we see fit, therefore, many times the work left for a sub may seem like busy and boring. However, there is a purpose for that.

Nobody asked you to do all this traveling and extra work for your sub position! You are not doing us a favor - so why the need for a thank you note. In fact, the reason you dont get many, may be because teachers are NOT thankful when a sub comes in, acting like they know the students needs more than the classroom teacher does.

Subs similar to yourself have been in our school a FEW times, but they are not usually called back unless we are desperate. I don't understand what makes you think you are the authority, or some kind of "Gods' gift to teachers/teaching"!

Actually, your post is so ridiculous (eating nothing but tack! ha!), that I think perhaps this was all a joke to get teachers upset for some sick pleasure on your part. If so...get a life! You ARE sick!

Talk about teachers getting no respect...and this from "one of our own"...supposedly. Why don't you tell us where you are, so we can either avoid you or (for the few who think your method is alright), ask you to sub in our schools? That way, you would be called by the people who want such a sub as yourself.

You really need to stop subbing, as what you are doing is not really subbing. You need to have your own classroom. Substituting is not completely taking over the classroom and doing your own thing...its covering for the teacher as the teacher sees fit.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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Well said!!!!!!!
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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I think it's great that you add more to the lesson as long as you are covering what the teacher left for you to do. I have to admit, I would probably not send a thank you to my sub. I usually thank them in advance by writing..."thanks for subbing today" on my plans and when I see them at school, I will thank them in person. If they are good, I can request them on AESOP, which I generally do. Frankly after a day or 2 gone from the classroom, my big concern is catching up with what my students have done, and to get to the bottom of the pile on my desk and start doing plans for the next week, so I would not send a thank you....my time is for the kids not the sub....sorry....
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How about YOU write US a thank you!
Old 08-24-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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As a substitute, I always left a note to the teacher to thank THEM for letting me stay in their room for the day! Substitutes are called guest teachers for a reason- they are the guests. Don't guests usually thank the hosts, and not the other way around?!

As a teacher, I stay late to clean, make plans, explain to my team where things are in case my sub needs help, etc. I spend hours getting ready for my sub and I thank them in my plans, as well. Subs get paid to follow a lesson plan for the day and to take care of the kids' safety and learning in a teacher's absence- maybe you should think about going into another field if that isn't enough for you.
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Wow...
Old 08-24-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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I was a substitute teacher for 2 years prior to obtaining my current position as a classroom teacher...and I am shocked by this post. I NEVER expected a thank-you when I was subbing...because that was my job! I was the one who signed up for the job, and appreciated the opportunities I was given. My "thank-you" was when I left my card, and the teachers called me back to sub in their room again. Were there days that I didn't enjoy the worksheets and "busy work" that was left for me? Sure. But the bottom line is, the teacher knows how their students work with a guest teacher best, and for all you know, they're in-between lessons and have a specific way to introduce the new one.

I think the experiences you have a wonderful, and when appropriate, I'm sure add to the content of the classroom. But if you completely deviate from plans because you think you can do better, then you are undermining the intelligence of the person who is in that classroom day in and day out, and that is no better than someone who leaves you "busy work" you do not enjoy. Furthermore, how is the classroom teacher supposed to know you have this experience to share? I'm rarely out, but when I am, I spend HOURS getting plans together and set-up so that both the students and guest teacher can have an enjoyable day. I always thank them for coming at the beginning of my plans, and sometimes don't know who they are and what experiences they have.

If you are going to extremes and "risking your life" for experiences that you can share with students, then I suggest you obtain your own classroom so you can better incorporate them.
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Thanks!
Old 08-24-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing another point of view.

While I think it is true that most people would appreciate more thanks for what they do, please know that a lack of an actual thank you note doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of thanks.
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Absolutely =
Old 08-27-2011, 03:52 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #57

I always thank my subs in my sub plans - but you are right. I will send an email of gratitude from now on. I appreciate everything a substitute brings to education.
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I say thank you
Old 08-28-2011, 07:23 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #58

I always email a thank you if the person did a good job. I also leaves some "jiggle" room where if they wish to do something else they can. If not they can use my plans. Some people might not be comfortable doing a block of music in a primary class but are fabulous at something else. Being flexible also lets newer teachers test out their skills before getting a class. I think that is OK if they have the initiative to do it.
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