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hemlock91 hemlock91 is offline
 
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Is this normal??
Old 03-15-2018, 03:28 PM
 
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Hi all... I am new to subbing. I have only done 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade so far. I have also subbed for an intervention specialist.

I feel like every day is terrible. There are many times of chaos and panic (for me) throughout the day. Lining up/walking in lines, technology, routines, off-task students, etc. are things that I am constantly concerned about.

I had 2nd grade today... and I left just feeling TERRIBLE. They were too early for specialists, too late for lunch, loud in the hallways, tattling on each other left and right.

Will things get better? Is it normal to feel this inadequate?


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Old 03-15-2018, 05:29 PM
 
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I have to chuckle because all of the behaviours you describe are a typical part of my day. The difference is that it doesn't bother me.

I have tried subbing every k- 12 grade and now stick with 1st-3rd because I enjoy them most. I have continually worked to improve my classroom management skills so that I feel much more comfortable and confident when I teach. But ultimately, I like and enjoy teaching the younger children.

My first thought is that maybe 1st- 4th is not your cup of tea? The younger ones are definitely high maintenance. Maybe you could try subbing the older grades a bit to see if you are more comfortable with older, more self-sufficient students.

No point making yourself miserable. If you are in panic and unhappy, it doesn't serve you or the students. Hope this helps.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 03-16-2018 at 02:44 AM..
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:13 PM
 
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First of all, 2nd graders tattle on each other, but they seem to grow out of it (more or less) by third grade. Thatís just the way they are, not necessarily a reflection of anything youíre doing/not doing. I just hold up my hand in a ďstopĒposition, and tell them they need to solve the problem themselves. Once in a while, I need to step in, but usually itís just petty stuff and theyíre friends again in 20 minutes.

Can you be more specific about what concerns you about lines, tech, off-task kids, etc? Maybe we could help if we knew a bit more.

Why are the kids too early/too late? Are you setting a timer and giving them enough time to clean up and line up? It does take some practice to get the timing right.

No one should go home feeling terrible and beating themselves up over how their day went . Easier said than done, I know, but Iím sorry youíre feeling this way. How can we help?
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:36 PM
 
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Hi all. I don't want to throw in the towel. I do really enjoy the kids. I am only in my 2nd week subbing.

A couple things that I need to improve on are getting kids where they are supposed to be on time and walking kids in lines. That is where a lot of my stress comes from.
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Old 03-16-2018, 03:28 AM
 
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Give yourself some time... transitions with those littles are not easy. Keep looking ahead, not back.

And give them some time, particularly when lining up. They are likely to dither, drag their feet, jostle for positions, forget the line order... it's all part of the turf. They will argue over whether or not they're supposed to be in bus line order or "regular" line order... Having a substitute causes amnesia.

Too early for specials is easy to fix, so whenever you're headed somewhere plan to get there early. Then walk slower. Stop frequently and reset the line. That, by the way, will also fix "loud in the hallways." I've had a line take two steps and then made them stop because they started talking.

Part of this is a recognition that you need to manage yourself even more than the kids. "If we need to be at the library at 10:10, that means I need to..."

I've been experimenting with what I call "leading from the back of the line." The short version questions the logic of having a trail of second graders following me down the hall with the illusion I'm in charge. I can't see them (I've gotten good at walking backward, but don't recommend it.) If I have a responsible line leader. I become the "caboose." I give the line leader a specific place to stop on route. He or she starts off... I'm at the end... when we get to the appointed stop, everybody catches up... I walk forward, give the line leader the next stop. This sounds more complicated than it is, actually and it doesn't add a lot of travel time because the stops are usually only a few seconds long--unless things have gotten out of hand.

Ignore the tattling. I know, easier said than done. There are some threads here on the topic... some of my stock answers to a tattler are:
  • What have you done about this?
  • Is anyone hurt or bleeding?
  • Thank you for sharing. (THAT'S IT, say no more)

One reason kids tattle is for attention. Another is they actually want you to handle a situation for them...

"Johnny keeps bugging me."

"Tell him to please stop."

"I did."

"Tell him again and make sure he's listening." or "Please move your seat so you are not near him."

My point is, don't be too quick to intervene unless you want the tattling to increase.

Lastly, if you focus on the things that didn't go well, it is perfectly normal to feel inadequate. Look for the victories and things that did go well. Things will get better.


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Old 03-16-2018, 08:46 AM
 
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Great input from MaineSub, as always. I do as MS does, as far as leading from the back of the line and having the kids stop at various points along the way.

One of my best tricks for getting the younger ones to transition or line up is to say, “I’m giving you a countdown, and by the time I get to zero, I want you to _________. It must be the physiological impact about running out of time, but once I start counting, man, can those kids move. They also get onto any of their peers who are lagging behind. I usually start at 5 and count down, but sometimes I’ll start at 10. Count down at the speed you hear on a rocket launch.

As I said before, getting the timing right takes practice. If you arrive a bit too early, you can go down the line, giving each student an addition, subtraction, or multiplication problem to solve. Of course this is all done just barely above a whisper.

ETA: Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ll learn your own tricks along the way. I’m a retired teacher with 30 years, + 6 years of subbing, and there are still days that don’t go well, thankfully few and far between at this point.
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Good day
Old 03-16-2018, 02:28 PM
 
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for the support. Today went *much* better. I really stressed line behavior, we practiced, and I reinforced. I also made sure to leave on time and made it to everything at the right time.
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Old 03-16-2018, 02:38 PM
 
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You'll also find that you will pick and choose your battles when you get more familiar with the job. I have chosen, after many years, to NOT try to have a perfect line. It's sooo hard and I can't spend my time doing it. I get the kids from one place to the next but the line is rarely silent or straight. Of course, that is when another teacher will choose to tell the students that they are too noisy, too this or that, etc. I don't say anything, just let the teacher talk. I choose to focus on all the other things and not that particular one.

Give yourself some time to feel comfortable; you just started subbing. Check out this board for good ideas, also. I had a 2nd grade today that was very pleasant but the next 2nd grade I get may test every last nerve. Every class is different and you have to be flexible. That's what many of us like about the job.

And I like the above post about giving the students math problems while waiting in line. I'm going to try that. I pick up good ideas on this board all the time.
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I agree with MaineSub and Mooba1
Old 03-16-2018, 04:25 PM
 
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and Sublime... among others. I love working with 2nd grade, and the way I got comfortable was to work with all of the teachers in the second grade at two schools. I learned the routine, procedures, times and hallway behaviors.

There's a rhyme for everything.... No talking, just walking, single file, second tile, with a smile (in the hallway). .

I'd set expectations before we'd leave the room, and I'd start the process of getting ready to leave the room 5 minutes BEFORE it was necessary to leave to arrive at the desired destination on time.

But the main thing is learning the teachers' procedures for the grade you will be working with. And this allows you to become familiar with ALL the students in that grade at that school. It also gives you time to gain your confidence in that school; and this will transfer to other grades and other schools.

Good going!
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Give them a "Set" each time
Old 03-16-2018, 08:26 PM
 
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About 10 min. before you go to specials or ?, tell the kids that you are going and then give them specific behaviors that you are looking for. You can even practice them.

Have a few kids come up front and model distance between students, facing front, what to do with hands, and walking in line. Practice with a few different kids and then, when you leave the class, tell them you are looking for those and will be writing down names of those who are doing it really great so you can put there names in a special place.

As you go, walk off to the side of them, so they can see you monitoring them. Be sure to compliment early and often. Be specific. X I like that you are an arm's space behind Y. A I like how you are right behind B.

If will take some effort, but if lines are important, you have to preteach and practice what you want.


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Great suggestions!
Old 03-17-2018, 11:37 AM
 
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Wow...I'm going to borrow some of these ideas myself . Great thread!

Hemlock91...I'm so glad that you are getting your footing with the little ones. As long as you feel you are where you want to be, the rest is just a matter of learning as you go. Every day is a new opportunity. Be patient with yourself.
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Old 03-17-2018, 08:11 PM
 
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Yes---so normal. And this was me for the entire first year of subbing! I forced myself to try and sub EVERYTHING. I'm an elementary teacher by trade but MADE myself give middle school a whirl and chose a class I would enjoy (art) and boom. I was at home. Quite the shock as I thought I would be in elementary forever and now I hardly go to elementary. I"m 99% middle school. now. I would have never ever believed it my first year of subbing.
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Old 03-18-2018, 04:20 AM
 
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There are actually many different versions of this song:

Well a line needs a leader, it needs a caboose
it needs to be straight and it needs to be loose
donít push, donít shove, just take your time
and you walk, walk, walk in your line...

The one I learned was:

Every a line needs a leader and it needs a caboose!
It needs to be straight and it needs to be loose!
My arms are at my side, I'm standing straight and tall,
My lips are very quiet, I'm ready for the hall.

(The last line is whispered with a finger to the lips.)

By the way, I once held up the entire dismissal by being late for the busses... our class was actually paged to "PLEASE report to the busses..." I took a fair amount of good-natured kidding over it. The regular teacher thought it was really funny until I pointed out the page was "Will Mrs. Regular Teacher's class PLEASE report to the busses?" Nobody knew it was me in charge!
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A couple of little tricks.
Old 03-21-2018, 01:40 AM
 
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Can you be at all dramatic? I discovered a long time ago when I was a full-time 'teacher' my days went easier if I could turn assignments into games or magic or make believe.
1. So with the little ones I play "Star Wars". They are young Jedi Knights in pre-training. Carry it as far as you can.... When I see a little one doing well, I always tell them that, "The force is strong with this one."
2. Get yourself some really weird sticky notes. Every child gets one. If they can keep it until the end of the day, I turn them into the teacher so she knows who has been, "Caught Being Good".
3. This sounds really strange, but I 'acquired' a pair of really cool Jordans from my daughter. As I walk by other classes in the hall, I can hear the students whisper--"Jordans, she's wearing Jordans!"
4. Buy yourself a couple of pairs of Rattlesnake Eggs Magnets. (Walmart's has them.) Because the ends repel and the sides attract you can toss them into the air where the sides come together with a significant noise. If a student is very good, show him how the magnets can attract through their fingers or ears.
5. Get yourself one of those squishy, stress relief toys. (small enough to fit in your pocket.) Introduce your new little friend to the class and tell them some story about how you found each other. Explain that your friend can't talk, but you two can communicate via WI-FI. I use mine as a reward for a student or table who are being extra good. I also use my friend to help the kids line up and quietly walk through the halls.
You are the first person I've ever shared my most secret and successful tricks. You just sounded so depressed and sad that I had to do it.
I know that this is extra long, but I sub for all the elementary schools in my district. They always check to see if the Jordans are on and they ask about my magic magnets and if I brought my friend. Not bad for someone that the kids may have seen in their classroom only once in a couple of years.
Good Luck and God Bless!
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:46 AM
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:53 PM
 
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Pretty cool tricks!

I am the 'book lady'... I always take some pretty cool books with me. I show the students the covers, and tell them when we complete the assigned work, I will read them a cool story or two.

They love story time and so do I! Even fifth graders!
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It's totally normal.
Old 03-26-2018, 03:30 PM
 
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Don't beat yourself up over this stuff. All teachers have to deal with these issues only most of them have days, weeks and months to establish routines.

Sometimes you can find out what the usual line routines are by asking another teacher (if the school has established school-wide rules and routines) or a student who seems pretty reliable. However, I was special area teacher and I still sub for specials so I can tell you that regular teachers can't always get the class to specials right on time, either.

Students tattle for lots of reasons. Sometimes it's just attention-getting behavior but I think some teachers actively encourage it because they aren't very observant or don't multi-task well. When students start tattling to the point of disruption, I usually just stop and clarify when I want them to tell on someone else: if that person is doing something that's preventing them (the tattler) from learning, if that person is doing something potentially dangerous or if that person is bullying someone and you think the person being bullied won't tell.
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Normal?
Old 03-31-2018, 07:34 AM
 
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Teaching at the elementry level is very demanding; High School is comparitively easy. I recommend that you specify accordingly. You'll be just fine.
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Maybe This Will Cheer You Up.
Old 04-04-2018, 02:06 AM
 
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I hope that these early experiences I had when I first started subbing will cheer you up.
I starting subbing in my old home town. (No teacher shortages)
My first assignment was a seventh grade class. I opened the desk to get out the gradebook and in the drawer was a REAL LIVE snake. I picked up the snake, let it wrap itself around my wrist, and smoothed it head. This was not the expected reaction. The students settled down and we started the lesson.
The worst thing I have ever been called as a sub, (or classroom), teacher was in a first grade PE class. This little boy didn't like the warm-up exercises. So he yelled at me and called me a 'dirty jockstrap'!
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