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This will be my first year substituting....
Old 06-28-2017, 11:59 AM
 
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And I just have a couple of questions. I have been doing so much research, but there is still some tips and questions I have that I would like to know.

1) How do you get the class to quiet down? If the teacher did not leave that in her notes for you, do you have your own thing or do you ask a student what their teacher does.

2) Have you ever had a situation where a teacher didnt leave sub plans and there was no emergency plans? If so, did you have a set of backup plans with you or do you have them read?

3) I keep reading that you should arrive early to scope out the school so that you can know your way around. Do you do this? How early do you arrive to do this?

Any other tips are aslo appreciated. I am really excited to start subbing. I am in school to become a teacher and this is just the first step in my teaching career.


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Mikhail Mikhail is offline
 
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answering a few
Old 06-28-2017, 03:06 PM
 
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The rest you can read up on in these threads or wait for others to respond too.

Quote:
How do you get the class to quiet down?
A lot of ways of doing this but for me it's your presence at first. When I first started, it may be accomplished through a brief introduction, that aspect of leadership.

Quote:
If the teacher did not leave that in her notes for you, do you have your own thing or do you ask a student what their teacher
If there's no behaviour plan, it's up to you. In the elementary level, you could still ask students.

Quote:
ever had a situation where a teacher didnt leave sub plans and there was no emergency plans?
Oh yes. Be ready to have your own activities prepared. Worksheets are a good start especially at the elementary level. It also depends on what materials you can use in the classroom, improvisation.

And then there's arriving early. If you decide to arrive earlier than the school clerk/secretary, be prepared to wait in your car or of the staffroom is accessible, then stay there for a few minutes. If you arrive with the secretary already at her post, you should ask nicely if you could sign in and get the key to the class. You don't want to be pushy so it's always nice to say that you're willing to wait until this staff's settled.
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:07 PM
 
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My answers are in red font

Quote:
2) Have you ever had a situation where a teacher didn't leave sub plans and there was no emergency plans? If so, did you have a set of backup plans with you or do you have them read?
Oh yeah, this happens more often than you'd think. Before panicking, check with nearby teachers to see if the teacher emailed them plans, then check with office for same reason.
I'll ask kids what they were working on the day before and try to do the next thing (whatever that may be) in the various textbooks. The form we turn into the office has a spot to say if plans were available and if they were good plans or not, so I'm assuming those that don't leave plans get a bad mark on their record. If the kids have no clue what they were working on (more common than you'd think), and the other teachers don't know/aren't available (sometimes they're all out for a conference and everyone has left sketchy/nonexistent plans), then I'll have them do free reading during reading time, work on math facts during math time, play sparkle with the spelling words etc. Normally the office will get something figured out and I'll end up with some sort of plans before too long so I wouldn't worry about this too much. I don't bring my own worksheets because I don't get paid enough to spend my own money on things for someone else's classroom (especially considering I sub PK-12, that's a lot of contingency plans).




3) I keep reading that you should arrive early to scope out the school so that you can know your way around. Do you do this? How early do you arrive to do this? I arrive about 5 minutes earlier than the time we have to arrive by (to account for odd parking issues or getting stuck behind someone driving a golf cart etc (my town is weird)). I don't go any earlier because I'm not paid for that time, and why work for free? All but one of the schools provide maps in their sub folders, plus you can always ask other teachers/the kids where things are.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:40 PM
 
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For younger classes, you can ask a student how the teacher gets the class quiet. There are a number of ways, but a common one is to say, "One, two, three, eyes on me," and the students respond, "One, two, eyes on you." There's also the old "If you can hear me, clap once," and you clap and the students clap. You then continue, "If you can hear me, clap twice," and you and the students clap twice. I've seen upper elementary and middle school teachers do this successfully, although there will sometimes be jokers who clap three or more times. When this happens, "I'll innocently say, "Some of us need a little practice counting." I'll clap twice, and say, "This is how we count to two."

Every now and then, I'll have a class of middle or high school students who refuse to get quiet. If all else fails, you can try this trick, but you probably won't be able to use it on a class more than once. Hold up a stack of papers and say, "Please clear your desks for the test." A few will hear you, and you'll see panic on their faces. You can repeat your directions if necessary, and before long, the rest will also be looking at you, suddenly listening. You'll hear, "We're having a test today?" At this point, you have two choices. You can string them along a bit longer before confessing there's no test, or you can admit there's no test, but with a smile, tell them that your directions did get them quiet.
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:31 PM
 
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The above posts covered your question well. I will add just a few more things.

1. Act like you are really happy to see the kids and welcome them. Greet them at the door with an enthusiastic,( but not cheesy)and upbeat voice so the kids know you expect a good day and you are glad to be with them.

2. Ask the students if the teacher has a way of rewarding them when they do well. You also want to let them know that you expect them to follow the same rules they do everyday, which you expect them to do easily. but that if they do an excellent job, you want to make sure your teacher knows about it.
Plant a positive seed in their heads by stating that it doesn't appear to be a hard day, and that the more we stay on task, the easier it will be when their teacher gets back, and that it will probably mean less work to take home.

3. Let the students know that it is OK to make mistakes and give the wrong answer in class as long as they are focused. Let them know you only make note of their mistakes if they were caused by being inattentive.

I have learned at what schools it is worth my time to arrive early.

I like to spend at least 30-45 minutes studying the lesson plan. When I know this is possible, I arrive early. When I am at a school where the secretary locks me out of the office until 20 minutes before the opening bell, or doesn't arrive until then, I don't bother coming early.

I would therefore take a chance and arrive early until I learn the office habits at each school.

More often than not, when there is no lesson plan, it will arrive via fax in the office, or another teacher will bring it to me. Always check with the office when you see no plans.
Check the room thoroughly first, since some teachers leave plans in unexpected places, such on a distant podium, taped to the door, or taped to the board.

If there is no plan, look for the teachers own plan book for the lesson for the day.
Also, look for markers in teachers text as to where the teacher left off.

If these are not available, try to get advice from a teacher.

if none of these options are available, calmly ask the students where they left off, possibly reminding them that it is important to leave off where your teacher did so you do not fall behind and have to work harder tomorrow to catch up.

Other emergency activities might include having students work in partners and read a book of their choice together. Then have them report on the book both in writing, and in front of the class. They can include characters, setting, plot, did they like it and why etc.
This would take up lots of time.

You could also have students work together to manufacture an exam on what they have been studying, using an assortment of types of questions to ask. Make sure they make their own answer key. If time allows, you can randomly distribute the exams to other students.

A fun art activity is to have students draw portraits of someone else in the class, and have others try to guess who they drew.

...and since there is no plan, you can tell them that the last half hour of the day is for PE or any indoor games as a reward if they do well.

In my early days of subbing, I would collect many work sheets from classrooms from all grade levels to use for such emergencies.
I have about four crates full, but I took most of them out of my car since I rarely used them.

You can also buy a bunch of assignments and activity books for each grade at education stores. or print them out.

Having these with you might make you feel more comfortable while you are starting out.


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A couple additions...
Old 06-30-2017, 12:56 PM
 
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You're getting some great stuff! Keep researching... Just a few additional thoughts:

Different schools, different teachers are going to be, well... different! I think the most important quality of a substitute teacher is flexibility and adaptability.

Even though I've been at the same school with many of the same teachers for years I always arrive early--by at least 15-20 minutes. I follow a rather detailed procedure but a couple of highlights include
  • Reviewing emergency plans for the classroom I'm in... evacuation routes, lockdown procedures.
  • Greeting neighboring teachers, letting them know who I am
  • Walking around the classroom at least twice to get a sense of where things are.
  • Reviewing the lesson plan (I've never had a situation with no plans--but have had some sketchy ones) and developing my own strategy... there typically isn't time to review the whole day, so I look at the beginning then figure out when I can sneak a few minutes of planning and looking ahead at the plans throughout the day.
  • Make absolutely certain I'm available to greet the kids as they arrive... or go get them if that's the procedure. I don't want my nose buried in paper or to look like I'm lost and frantic.

That last point is extremely important. I want the kids to sense confidence in me and friendliness from me... with the not-too-subtle message that I'm in charge, but we're in it together. I have found that being high-energy at the start of the day sets an expectation and "idle hands are the devil's workshop." My bias is, regardless of student age, a laser focus on teaching and learning diminishes behavior issues. I may even say "Mrs. Regular Teacher left us lots to do today so we need to get started!" (I use the word "we" a lot. I'm big on sharing management of the class with the students regardless of age.)

Since you are in school, perhaps you have already thought about your teaching philosophies... if so, be your own self. Yes, you are substituting, but that doesn't mean you lose your identity. I explain to the kids that some things may be a little different today but we will learn a lot and enjoy doing it. Show a lot of respect for the kids (there's the law of psychological reciprocity), choose your priorities and battles. I've had noisy classes were I've allowed the noise because I felt they needed it. "You have five minutes to chat with each other..."

Experiment, learn what works for you. Make sure you're having fun. At the end of the day don't focus on the negatives--think about the things that went well and just keep doing more of them.
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Before subbing
Old 07-20-2017, 04:49 PM
 
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I arrive at least 30 minutes early to check in, get keys, find the room, find the plans, skim the TEs (teacher's editions of the students' texts) to see what the activities for the day are. I usually have time to read through the morning activities in the lesson plans and cross check to the TE. I also check the p.m. plans for possible things to plan for/around.

I read the TEs for the afternoon at the teacher's desk while I eat.

In the best of all possible worlds, I'd eat in the teacher's room and make contacts, but then I'd be up a creek for afternoon information.

Teachers often leave papers with period by period info on what to do for each topic along with behavior plans. At least those who don't get sick in the middle of the night. When I was teaching, I sometimes dictated plans while on the bathroom floor. You never know what contributed to the plans or lack of same that you'll get.

Subbing can be fun, hectic, rewarding, frustrating, and a great introduction to education. Welcome.
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