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subasaurus subasaurus is offline
 
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subasaurus
 
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When you don't understand their classwork...
Old 10-31-2019, 02:29 AM
 
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I've found in this digital era schools are quickly phasing out all textbooks.

Bye bye "teacher's edition" that explains how to teach the assignment. Classwork is either in a printed out packet or via Google classroom now. The amount of paper that schools waste is probably astronomical. No wonder the copy machine is always broken. But that's a different story.

Anyway, on to my questions.

When working on classwork...

How do you answer a student's question if the teacher doesn't leave an answer key behind? Does anyone else feel a bit embarrassed when there's no way to assist the students? Do teachers expect subs to know all the material without a key or overview of the assignment?

I don't want to give students the wrong answer or teach them the wrong way. Teachers don't like that and I understand why. Students get confused and it will lead to disaster.

But like I mentioned, bye bye teacher's edition textbooks. What exactly do you want me to do if I don't know the answer?


Honestly, this is a problem that I don't really think has a solution to it. (Perhaps I should have posted this in "the vent" section.) But I find this to be the BIGGEST challenge I face as a substitute: No lifeline. And you'd think with Google existing the students would at least try to utilize that luxury. Not so. I've told students to Google an answer before and they informed me their teacher won't allow it. I'm not certain if they were just messing with me, or this is an actual thing.

So it's getting harder to "teach" these days. Common core is far different than what I was brought up with, and I feel like "guessing" or "winging it" is a horrible way to teach, but it's a reality of substitute teaching. You need to understand all the content on your own or you're screwed.

Never thought I'd say this, but I miss textbooks more than ever.



Last edited by subasaurus; 10-31-2019 at 04:31 AM..
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:52 AM
 
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Usually this is me with the higher math classes. I found an app called Photomath that takes a picture of a math problem and shows you a solution. Iíve also had students teach the class when in a classroom where they could do that and not act foolish.
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A couple of thoughts...
Old 10-31-2019, 04:57 AM
 
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Agreed it can be a problem when there's no answer key... I've been lucky that most of the time I find the teacher prints one out and leaves it for me. (There are teacher's editions but they're typically not available to subs.)

I've discovered that more often than not, I'm not teaching a "new" concept. The kids may act like it's new but if I press them they know more about it than they admit. And they may even know more about it than I do!

When I need the correct answer or process I've asked neighboring teachers (same grade) for help and had some success with that. (Although once the neighboring teacher said she didn't get it either!)

Depending on the grade and subject, I've also turned it (the question/topic) into a class project and we work on it together and we learn together.

I should probably qualify this by noting that I've been subbing in the same school for years and am fairly well known by the kids and teachers so I probably get some latitude.

And I always explain what I've done/not done regarding teaching and learning in an end of the day email/report to the regular teacher

But I also think there's a dichotomy and transition taking place whereby process can be more important than the correct answer. In some math situations, students get penalized if they use the wrong process to get the correct answer. (Looking it up on Google would be an extreme example.) Contrast that with the amount of assessing and testing...

I'd say the future is both frightening and exciting because I can see a world where the teacher is not the subject matter expert.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:47 AM
 
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I have, on occasion (in elementary school), left a note for a teacher asking him/her to go over #2 on page 47 if it's a math problem I cannot figure out or explain adequately. I've also told students to skip a particular problem and then left a note for the teacher.

I had to do a few math pages with a 3rd grade class a couple months ago that made no sense at all. It involved 10 frames and instead of just adding numbers, it involved combining and subtracting to get a final answer. I walked the students through those problems and told them what to write in their books. When they went on to the independent practice, they added the "normal way." I didn't leave the teacher a note because it was one ridiculous page and then they continued adding like normal people do!

I love math, I love to teach math, and I have seen some interesting ways to do math with the Common Core, but some of this new stuff is illogical.

I miss textbooks, too.
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Old 10-31-2019, 11:25 AM
 
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I was thinking about this today. Iím doing physics, and I have the answers on the worksheet, but some students still have questions. I always ask them if they have done this before(part of it was review), or if what I am writing makes sense. But if they ask in depth questions beyond the wksht, I really canít help them in most cases.

I was never good at advanced math or stuff like physics, but you need to work, so I take the jobs. I find that a lot of science and math teachers assumed that you are certified in their subject or have some kind of in depth knowledge of their field, and I think itís really annoying.

Iím also frustrated with lack of response from kids. I wrote all this stuff on the board and the kids said at the end they had already done it, but none of them answered when I asked before. I would also be well onto the next page and kids arenít paying attention and want the answer I gave. It all seems pointless.


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Assisting students
Old 10-31-2019, 11:47 AM
 
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It's interesting that you bring this up. At some schools and with some teachers, they don't want us "teaching," just keep a lid on the room and keep them quiet. Teachers get frustrated with subs undoing their "progress" on some outlandish strategy or helping with answers. Or you get the co-teacher who says "don't worry about it. They don't need help."
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@Subman
Old 10-31-2019, 08:53 PM
 
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Sounds like an amazingly helpful app! Nice.


I might be hesitant to use it during class though. A student or other staff might accuse me of using my phone on the job, lol.


And great idea having students teach. That definitely works when they're a cooperative class. Thanks 👍
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@mainesub
Old 10-31-2019, 09:01 PM
 
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Quote:
In some math situations, students get penalized if they use the wrong process to get the correct answer.

Yep, exactly why I'm hesitant to help students in those classes. It's frustrating because I'm there to help but aren't sure if I should or not.

And great point about the future being both scary and fascinating for the education field. School certainly has changed over the past few decades.

I often long for simpler days of chalk and books.
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@Fractured
Old 10-31-2019, 09:06 PM
 
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Exactly my thoughts. Sounds like we share the same frustrations.
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@Suivre
Old 10-31-2019, 09:10 PM
 
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Quote:
At some schools and with some teachers, they don't want us "teaching," just keep a lid on the room and keep them quiet.

As much as this pains me to say:

Yes, we sometimes are just babysitters.

Sad but true.

Ironic how we're "teachers," but we're not supposed to teach. Lol. It's the only job I can think of where doing our job is shunned upon.


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Not a math person, so....
Old 11-01-2019, 07:34 AM
 
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1. Photo math
2. High school only. They can email the teacher.
3. Let students pair up.
R. Students demonstrate solving on the board.
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:39 AM
 
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I'll share two examples. The first is math in elementary schools that use Math Expressions.
There are good things about the series. It teaches some concepts very well, and supposedly, it helps to raise student achievement. On the other hand, Math Expressions often takes basic concepts and makes them complicated, often using fancy terminology in the process. Like Sublime, I love math and love to teach it, but there have been many times when I haven't been able to figure out what's going on. I wonder if the authors really understand the developing brains of young children since so much of the material seems to be age-inappropriate.

The second example is a subject I haven't seen discussed very often, adverbs. I'm not asked to teach them very often, but last year I had to go through an adverb worksheet with fifth graders without an answer key. I'm familiar with basic adverbs that modify verbs and end with "ly." I was less confident with other adverbs, including comparative adverbs, phrasal adverbs, and adverbs that modify adjectives or other adverbs.
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:06 AM
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Old 11-02-2019, 08:19 PM
 
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Quote:
I might be hesitant to use it during class though. A student or other staff might accuse me of using my phone on the job, lol.
I work the problems beforehand and don't use my phone during class time.
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My worst day subbing
Old 11-03-2019, 07:18 AM
 
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was in a 4th-grade math class who were doing "leaf-and-stem" plots... It turns out that this was just a new name for mean, median, and mode but it did not say that anywhere!

I struggled to work through some problems before it clicked and I was able to teach it to the class. But, in this case anyway, it was not REVIEW and was definitely the first time the kids had seen it that year.

It was super frustrating and more than a little embarrassing as I thought math was my strong subject to that point.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:38 PM
 
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Lol, a leaf and stem plot? Schools are getting weirder.

And there's nothing worse than having to teach a new lesson as a sub...

The kids will cry out "We never did this!!!!" or "I don't get this!!!"
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:21 PM
 
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Yeah, I've had to look at the completed sheets of the smarter students, assume they're right, figure it out, and THEN help the struggling students. Math is just taught differently now
Luckily I've only had to do this 2-3x total
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:55 PM
 
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Stem and leaf plots are not some weird, new thing. And no, they are not mean, median, and mode. Perhaps you are talking about box plots, sometimes known as box and whisker plots, but that's not exactly what they are either.

Both stem and leaf plots and box plots are helpful in visualizing statistical data.

I do sympathize with a sub who is thrown into a class without having subject-matter expertise. That's tough. However, the sub's lack of understanding the material doesn't mean the content is unimportant.
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:55 AM
 
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Quote:
However, the sub's lack of understanding the material doesn't mean the content is unimportant.
I don't think anyone here is saying the material is "unimportant." I think the general consensus is that it's difficult to help students out with "new age" or unusual classwork that we never saw when we were in school.
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:42 AM
 
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Quote:
I don't think anyone here is saying the material is "unimportant." I think the general consensus is that it's difficult to help students out with "new age" or unusual classwork that we never saw when we were in school.
I would agree and add that substitutes don't have access to the professional development (aka training) that teachers receive when a district rolls out a new curriculum. We are often left alone to review and look over the material that minutes earlier was new to us. Extremely rare are those times someone has asked me if I understand the lesson plans or content. The worst are the highly structured developmental reading programs; read the text in blue, (do what it says in parenthesis), expected student responses in italics, and important information in bold.
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