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barbara s
 
 
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barbara s
 
 
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Questions about working at a new school
Old 10-27-2009, 04:26 AM
 
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I'm signed up to sub at the two Catholic schools where my kids attend. I have several reasons for that--convenience and familiarity, of course, but also my belief in the goals of Catholic education. However... after first quarter, I realize that I'm not getting enough work days. To pick up days, I need to apply at other schools I know nothing about. I don't know their curriculum, I've don't know any faculty, staff or students, I have no clue about their routine--heck, I've never even been in the building. Can you all please share your insights on the things you try to find out before you go into a school, as well as the things that you need to learn immediately upon arrival? I'm thinking about questions I'd need to ask principals when I interview and a checklist, I guess, of things to track down once I arrive. Thanks!


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we do not interview...
Old 10-27-2009, 06:16 AM
 
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Our town has one dist. The closest dist to ours is 30 miles away. Needless to say, we are small town. Subs are in short supply and the ones we do have often specialize (ie only working w/ their former grade level/subj for most ret. teachers or ones who only like the little kids, etc.) So unless you are just HORRIBLE you are pretty much "IN". So, I can't help you with the interview process.

However, we go into all jobs cold turkey the first time. There are some things we learn b/c they are district wide such as shaking kids hands and how the elem. schools do what they call "math meeting" but otherwise, you just review the plans and schedule for the day and jump on in. Especially my first year every single room was new to me as was every school building. I found that just following the plan was really all I needed to know. I rarely have to think up anything on my own. Usually every moment has been scheduled for me. Until you learn the teachers and schedules and such it can feel hectic and boarderline overwhelming, but it doesn't feel that way to the kids and it passes as you get to know it.

I say go for it. Interivew at those other schools. Good luck!
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Subbing
Old 10-27-2009, 07:06 AM
 
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I sub at various schools and I was only familiar with one when I started. I suggest showing up early to walk the school and figure out where the cafeteria, gym, etc is located. Most schools I've been to have a school map, so I ask the secretaries for one at each school and keep it in a binder. Just tell the secretaries that you are a new sub and most will be very helpful. As for the curriculum, you don't need to know anything really. Unless there was an emergency and the teacher wasn't prepared, you should get a stack of books and a lesson plan for the day, so just wing it. You'll do fine and if you're districts are anything like mine, many of the schools tend to have similar layouts and programs, so working at one is like working at the others. Best of luck to you!!
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:18 PM
 
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Haha, I was homeschooled and actually had never set foot in an elementary school before I started subbing. Read the plans and use your brain and you will be fine!
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A few helpful tidbits
Old 10-27-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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As mentioned already, it's a cold turkey kind of process. Sometimes some considerate person will show you around and point out all the things you might need to know, and other times it seems to never cross anyone's mind that you don't know where anything is. The later is the norm; everyone is already so busy.
Here's some generic essentials for elementary:
1. Where are the bathrooms--believe me, I've worked in schools where I had no idea where they hid them!
2. Is there a fridge and a microwave to keep your lunch if needed?
3. Where is the list your student's allergies etc. (if a student needs an epi pen, where is it--and check to make sure it is really there; sometimes it's not) and the fire drill particulars (often there will be a special backpack you need to grab).
4. How do you use the phone/intercom system if there is one, and who do you contact in case of sick child or bouncing off the walls child.
5. Make sure you know the procedures for children going to bathrooms, lunch, recess, etc. If they need to go somewhere in the building, do they need to take a buddy? When they go to the specialists (art, PE and so on), do you go get them or are they brought back by someone else.

This is what I can think of off the top of my head. These things may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how often this info is not passed on to the sub.


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Ciounoi is right
Old 10-28-2009, 07:46 AM
 
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Ciounoi is succinct and correct. No matter how many questions you can think of there is only so much you can expect before entering that classroom at a school you've never been to before.

My suggestions:
1) Print a map of where the school is and maybe drive by the day before so you have a general idea where it is and how much time it will take to get there.

2) Show up 30-45mins early to check in and get oriented to where the school office, restrooms, classroom, staff lounge are.

3) Go over the lesson plan in the classroom and locate all the indicated books and materials to be used.

4) Do it. If something doesn't go right, don't be afraid to improvise. Ask the kids where stuff might be found if you can't find it.

After 6 1/2 hrs it'll be done and you can decompress at the local StarBucks or McD's and review what went right or wrong for ideas what to do next time...if ever.
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