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Fractured Fractured is offline
 
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Fractured
 
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I just keep getting plans that canít fill a 90 minute period
Old 12-15-2019, 06:17 PM
 
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This is just a vent because no one else really gets it. I work at high schools and they are all on the 90 minute schedule. This week was horrible. I cover a CTE class and there are no plans. I call the teacher and he sounds pissed bc I woke him up. He says he has texted the other shop teacher and that guy will help me set up the classes. At this point I already had kids coming in and setting up their stuff. This makes me look so incompetent and I hate it. They move us to a computer lab and the kids just goof off. Theother classes were older kids and I babysit all day. You need emergency plans. This was his second day out, and all day this other teacher was coming in and checking in on me. He even came to dismiss the first class. I had already done it and he seemed surprised. Guess what, I can tell time.

Another teacher sends me very brief slides for her last class but no other info for her class. There are literally no lesson plans and I don’t have contact info for her. It was a work day but most kids had finished their project. The last class was in another room and I couldn’t get in there to check if she had made copies of the quizzes. Why can’t you give me a general rundown of the day? Also I hate workdays, so many kids just goof off and say they will do the work later. If I had had to make copies of the quiz I would have torn her a new one for leaving me hanging.

Friday was the worst. Bad school. This teacher seemed really thorough though so I though I’d be okay. She has messed up her plan so by the first ten minutes of class I’m already at a video which she says was 20 min but was really 10. I have over an hour for these kids to do a worksheet and they don’t know the material. She also texts me before class that she has Sped kids and kids that don’t speak English but of course doesn’t tell me who they are or give me modified plans for them.
The later classes end up being like 10 kids because they ditch and this was all dependent on large group work. I’m spoon feeding them the stuff and most are on phones or just talking, going to the bathroom for 30 minutes. I really just wanted to walk out. I texted the teacher and say you want me to table this, I don’t have the numbers to do this and most kids aren’t working. She says” welcome to ———. Keep going.” Thanks for that help, assh*le.
I texted her again telling her the video was too short and if she had another one to play. She doesn’t even text me back. I don’t know if I can make if through the rest of this year.



Last edited by Fractured; 12-15-2019 at 10:32 PM..
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:28 PM
 
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Dude I feel you. I'm so ready for winter break.

That first one, with the guy constantly checking in on you, would've been really annoying for me as well. I know some people appreciate it, but I personally can't stand that sort of thing. I'd have stayed in retail if I wanted to be micromanaged all day. If the day to day teacher couldn't even be bothered to leave notes, then I'll just give them a study period and do my best. Half the time, interruptions from other "helpful" staff members actually hurts me more than anything. I can't even remember the number of times I've had a group actually just doing work quietly and then some "cool" teacher comes in to "check in" and raises the energy level through the ####ing roof, gets everyone talking, and then dips and I'm left to bring things back down to earth. If he's there to drop off plans the teacher emailed him, that's one thing. But constantly checking in throughout the day is like... bro, let me relax and do my ####ing job.



That last one was a riot though. "Welcome to ---. Keep going." lmao. I'd have just given her kids a free study period at that point and told them not to hurt each other or do anything that'd make me look bad. If she can't care enough to give actual plans then I'm not gonna lose hair stressing about her class having one free day. It really only goes bad when I get a class like that but have some overzealous administrator stalking the halls all day. Like, they have time to check in on me, but they didn't have time to make sure this person left actual plans, okay. It's particularly frustrating when people put their day-off in the system weeks in advance, so they've known it's gonna happen, and then they still leave nothing. Or they'll email it to a co-worker 15 minutes before the day begins, and the co-worker gets it like 10 minutes after classes start, and has some kid deliver it well after I've given up and made my own lesson plan. So bogus/frustrating. Especially since, in this district, fulltime teachers make 4~5 times what a sub makes and get all the benefits and paid time off and etc.


edit: On another note, 90 minutes is the worst. Luckily we haven't implemented block scheduling here yet, but there's one class that does it and I'll only sub for her if I'm legit hard up for money and having a bad month. It's so damn bad, honestly. I know making sub plans can be hard for people sometimes, but making them for a 100 minute period (that's how long our double periods are at least) is just ridiculous. I don't even blame people when the plans for that kinda day are lacking, but sometimes I wish people would just leave a movie or something if they're not even gonna try and fill the time anyway.

Last edited by Aillya; 12-15-2019 at 09:02 PM..
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Fractured Fractured is offline
 
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:43 PM
 
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Yeah, I wasnít too happy about the checking in. He would just come in and not say anything. I guess the kids had access to power tools and he was checking on them, but itís like I can do that too. Iím not supposed to use my phone so Iím just sitting there talking to them or watching them work. I hate having my authority undermined. It also reinforces that mentality that subs donít know what weíre doing.

As for the other teacher, I was really pissed that was all she texted. It was such a smart ass comment. I have been to the school before, so I know the deal. I am asking for her help and she really blew it on the plans. Thatís the second teacher who has done that to me this year. No way Iím going back. I usually give them study hall at that point but some kids were doing the work, so I didnít want to just bail on them.
I do think some teachers know they give out plans that would be hard for them to get through, let alone a new person. I wrote in my notes she was going to have to go back over this with them because most kids ditched or didnít understand it, so yeah itís easier to leave a movie.

I couldnít do 100 minutes, thatís horrible. A teacher had me giving freshmen 90 minutes of reading a few weeks ago. Their only break was me reading 20 pages aloud. It was way too much for them. They are just really checked out right now anyway.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:01 AM
 
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This is exactly why I refuse to sub at "block period" schools that think 90 minute classes are a good idea.

Grade school isn't college. Grade school kids have zero attention span.

Why on Earth would any school think a 14 year old is able to sit still for an hour and a half in the cell phone era?

Downtime is frown time for us subs!

Sounds like you were subbing at a super dysfunctional school. Sorry to hear you had to deal with that fresh hell.

Hope you get to work at a better school very soon.

Peace, my friend.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:31 AM
 
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I haven't subbed in a block schedule situation in a long time, but I agree that it can be a long and not-very-pleasant 90 minutes.

In the 90s, our local high school decided to switch from a traditional to a block schedule. They paid for David Hottenstein (who has quite a reputation as a block schedule expert) to come in and give a presentation. I don't know for sure, but I think Hottenstein probably earned (and may still earn) quite a nice income doing these presentations.

I don't want to cast aspersions on David Hottenstein. There are definitely good things about block scheduling. High school students can take more classes than is possible with a traditional schedule, and for motivated students, it's a good thing. My own kids benefited from block scheduling.

At the same time, block scheduling doesn't always work as advertised. It can be effective with some subjects (perhaps science), but not as effective with other subjects. Teachers aren't supposed to spend 90 minutes lecturing, but some do anyway. For some students, 90 minutes in one class is pure torture. If there are snow days or school assemblies, it can mean a week (or possibly more) away from a class.

Our local high school eventually went back to a traditional schedule. Teachers were getting 90-minute preps every day, which they liked, but the district could no longer afford that.



Last edited by c6g; 12-16-2019 at 11:52 AM..
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:43 PM
 
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Wowzers, thatís really awful. Iíve had days where Iíve thought, ďI could just pick up my purse and leave, thus ending my employment with XYZ school districtĒ, but thatís only elementary school.

Block scheduling stinks. I remember years ago when it was sold as ďpreparing the students for the length of college classes and MWF/Th schedulesĒ. Uh-huh, howís that working out?

Do you think these teachers you subbed for ever wonder why they canít retain subs?? So sorry, Fractured. You can vent to us anytime.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:03 PM
 
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I spent the summer looking at schedules, online, to search out schools that didn't have block schedules. Best thing I ever did. The students don't seem so frustrated and the time goes by MUCH faster (and easier). You also almost always get a prep (new district also pays extra for the prep). Also, the block schools have added "study" periods, which are always a 90-minute nightmare (and they dump these classes on the subs, every time, since it is a wasted class, anyway). Worthless, considering most students finish their "homework" in the never-ending block period, already. IMHO schools with block schedules are lazy. Seems, to me, that the only benefit is for the teachers. Preparing them for college? Me thinks not.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:24 PM
 
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Bodhimom, I forgot about the 90-minute study periods. Our local high school had them on alternate days. In theory, they were a good idea. If a student needed extra help with chemistry, he or she could use the time to go to the chemistry teacher's room. Since students had a larger-than normal class load, they could use this time to complete assignments.

In practice, it frequently didn't work as advertised. I've never subbed in one of these classes, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit if they're nothing but 90-minute nightmares.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:50 PM
 
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But for the students that don't need all this extra time/help, they could be taking a class that is actually productive for them. Maybe if they had a choice of all this extra "help," I would be more in favor of it. If students need all this help, they could go in after school, instead of making every student do it.

So many teachers leave school and have an "available" sub cover it (every time I worked), I'm just not seeing it as a benefit for students as a whole (though maybe good for a few individuals).

I wouldn't want my kid in a school with a block schedule.

I would be interested in seeing the state test results after going to block.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:55 PM
 
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State test results after going to block? Very interesting question.

I've been in education since the late 70s, and can't begin to count the number of times I've heard, "Research has shown . . . " It's often related to the educational fad of the month. Someone somewhere, trying to appear relevant, probably produced a study that "proved" block schedules are "the solution."
When schools, for financial reasons, dump block scheduling, they probably search for a study (I'm sure one exists somewhere) indicating that traditional schedules produce higher test scores than block.

Several years after our local high school went to block scheduling, the powers on high decided that trimesters were the new "solution." They tried to force them on the community, but opposition was so fierce that they gave up.

Bodhimom, you made a very wise decision when you decided to avoid your local block schedule high schools.


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Old 12-16-2019, 05:24 PM
 
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Only one district near me still doesnít use block for hs, and they start early and are far drives. Unfortunately, this is the bigger district that does it. I usually donít have this bad of a time. Iím def not going back to the school with the teacher who ignored me, Iíve had too many bad experiences there. I was hoping I would get her advanced classes but I got the ones on the other day of the schedule.

It seems like too many of the teachers there are burned out and have given me crappy plans, and the school culture seems fine with letting them waste their time in class. I do know science teachers like block for labs, but no one else seems to like it. Having the 90 min prep is def a reason why I prefer hs though.
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Block scheduling
Old 12-18-2019, 07:05 PM
 
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All four of my sons had it. Our district began block scheduling at the high school in 1995. Oldest son had one year of regular scheduling and then the rest of his and his brothers' high school years were with block scheduling. I sub there, and most of the time it's very good. Once in awhile, though, there's not enough work for them. I make them use it as study time. No phones. I know they are playing games on their chromebooks, but as long as they aren't on their phones, I let it go. And they must be quiet. They are good at following my expectations, knowing that I can contact the teacher if they don't. I've learned to bring a good book or crossword/sudoku puzzle book. All teachers have been good enough to provide me with a way to contact them. Otherwise, I email them. Teachers can also message students if they are working on their Chromebooks. If they aren't doing what they are supposed to, they can tell (not what they are doing, just what they are NOT doing). That helps too.
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if it's any consolation...
Old 12-22-2019, 09:28 AM
 
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you're not alone! Although I sub in elementary school (no 90-minute periods), this last week was the worst for me too.

The teachers were flaking out, taking "sick" days and leaving lousy or outdated (even irrelevant) lesson plans. Taking their laptops or locking them up so I couldn't even use the ELMO . The kids were burned out and crazy, especially because they'd had too many different subs lately. Makes you think twice about taking sub jobs so close to a long holiday.

And you're right about the other staff "checking in." I hate that too. It's just another irritation for us and another distraction for the already wildly restless kids. Not to mention a waste of staff resources. The staff member really isn't there to be helpful.

One of my favorite moments recently was when the principal happened to do one of his "drop bys" just after a student had barfed all over the carpet. I asked the P if he could get someone in to clean up for us. He also offered to escort the sick student to the nurse. Gave him something useful to do. Great timing. lol

Wishing you a peaceful and restful break!

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 12-22-2019 at 11:40 AM..
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short plans
Old 12-23-2019, 07:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Downtime is frown time...
I am so using this!!

I do mostly elementary, so I tend to have the opposite problem - off their normal routines, things often take take longer than usual, and we don't get to that last "if you have time" worksheet. But I have had occasions where plans were short, and it's frustrating.

I always have a few "filler" activities in my sub binder - puzzles you can put on the board for them to work on if they finish early. Not everyone will, of course, but I'm often surprised who gets into it!

Some are brain teasers I get from books, but many of the favorites are really simple things like:
  • How many words can you make out of the letters in (phrase related to subject)?
  • Can you name a (state/country/element/famous ____) for every letter of the alphabet?
(They especially love when they can work together on these with a partner or small team.)

When all else fails, have a list of writing prompts handy -
  • Imagine three detailed ways to spend a million-dollars in lottery winnings - one for yourself, one for someone you know, one for your community.
  • What's the first thing you'd work to change if you were president?
  • What song is on your playlist that I wouldn't expect, and why?
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Old 01-07-2020, 08:39 PM
 
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Number one, unless it is absolutely life or death, do not text or call a teacher. You're just a sub, you're not there to save the school. You're one of those people that obsess about working "bell to bell." Seriously, as long as the kids are seated, ask them to find something to do if the plans don't fit the class period! Either that or improvise.

I used to work in restaurants managing shifts and that taught a lot about independence and not relying on the actual manager in charge. Sometimes stuff goes south and there's nothing you can do, and calling the boss probably won't change a thing either.
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:16 PM
 
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I donít agree at all, and I really donít care for the insinuation that you think Iím some helpless newbie or incapable of thinking on my own. I have an MAT for one. I had to text this teacher first thing in the morning because she had left me plans for the wrong day, and then she still gave me plans that were not long enough for the period. I improvise almost every day. Why should I have a worse day because she forgot to give me the right plans? I want to teach. There are certainly days where I donít have the energy to do it, but I always try my best. I had a teacher last week make me call them from the office because they were too lazy to write sub plans. I only contact teachers when I need to.
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:26 PM
 
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I would never call or text a teacher that I was subbing for. They are off for the day. I do high school, and if there are no plans, etc., I make it a "study period.". The longest classes I have, now, are 70 minutes, which is still too long, but I have to do this pretty regularly. If questioned, I think I could defend what I did (has never happened).
What I might do, however, is ask a fellow teacher, for the same subject. I did that once. At least they knew that I was trying to do a good job. Hopefully brownie points.
One time I found a video that seemed like it related to the topic, and played that. The teachers I work with are kind, though, and not anal.
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:34 PM
 
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Most teachers I sub for leave their number and say to text or call with any questions. Again, this teacher had messed up from the start. It was already a hell of a day with her plans, why make it worse? Once a teacher called me during the class because she wanted to make sure the kids were working on their project( which seemed extreme). If you ever ask the office for help when no plans are left, they tell you to call the teacher. Iíve had teachers leave plans with other teachers and not tell me until class was already starting. Iím at schools with 35 kids and 90 minute periods. I just canít give them study hall as they never do that. If a teacher leaves bad plans, Iíll improvise. If a teacher leaves no plans, I have no problems contacting them. Teachers need to leave solid plans at least. I donít know why Iím having to defend myself here. If admin gets wind Iím not doing anything they will def be on my ass.
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:56 PM
 
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I don't think you're needing to defend yourself, at all. Nobody is attacking you. We're just saying what WE do. Every school, class, teacher, sub, is different. Take what is helpful to you, and leave the rest. They're just our ideas and thoughts, not written in gold.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:55 PM
 
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Not you B, the other poster.
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