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No plans, was this ok?

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No plans, was this ok?
Old 09-15-2018, 06:21 AM
 
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Well, I got through my first sub job, but it was not anything like I pictured!

It was for English in jr high. The secretary walks me to the classroom and mentioned blithely, “I don’t think there’s any plans, just so you know.” No mention of what I should do instead, no help with anything. Just dropped me off and commented offhandly, “wow, (this teacher’s) desk is pretty messy.”

It was a disaster! Literally mountains of papers, scattered and falling off her desk. No note, no activities to do. Just old student papers that were graded, dating back to the first week of school, data notes—nothing for me to go off of! The classroom was pretty bare—a set of 18 old textbooks (28 students in class) shoved into a closet, so it didn’t appear they ever used them. No computer or teacher’s manuals in sight, or any kind of worksheets/paperwork that might indicate what they had been working on.

No other English teachers anywhere close by. Only other teacher I could find taught math and he recommended I “just let them work on old work”.

Thank goodness I had brought a few things just in case. I ended up reading a story and then showing a writing prompt that went with it. They wrote their own story and we shared.

I got through the day and the lesson actually went really well most class periods. But I know it was completely unrelated to their normal work. But since administration and students didn’t seem to care, it was probably okay, right?

I just know I never want to go back there again!


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connected with your 1st post
Old 09-15-2018, 08:09 AM
 
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There's many reasons why you experienced what you had gone through. Normally if teachers are regular and had had the advantage of time to do a lot of prepping, they would had their sub plans ironed out even on the 1st day of school. It's likely that the teacher you subbed for was a new hire (not necessarily inexperienced) and is still probably trying to get her bearings just based on clues you were given. I only say this because the secretary and the teacher next door mentioned very little and so they don't know much about this new recruit.

What I would had done considering that the clerk said that no instructions were left is to ask the secretary to check theirs or an admin's e-mail just in case the instructions were sent online. And then if you're on some Absence Management system (like Aesop), I would check again especially if you have your phone with access to data or on someone's computer that's hopefully hooked up to the internet. Back in the day, I would had asked the office for this teacher's number and contacted them personally. Otherwise ask the main office to contact them for you.

You're right. The classroom environment didn't leave you with much confidence and it looks like you made the most out of the situation. Good for you. I wouldn't be too quick to write-off or chalk this under a bad experience. Just so you know, it was nice of that secretary to walk you to that classroom because not every secretary/clerk/admin does that. I do hope that you go back for the other teachers there in that school.

Last edited by Mikhail; 09-15-2018 at 08:25 AM..
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:27 AM
 
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Congratulations, Katie! It sounds like you did a wonderful job.

Sometimes when subbing, I'll see a great activity that I think might work well in the future if I need to come up with something in a hurry. I'll make a copy of it, and keep it with me. Doing this has helped me on multiple occasions. When I go back later and tell the original teachers that I successfully used their great ideas in another setting, it always makes their day.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:29 AM
 
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You did well... I'd go back just to see what "normal" looks like later in the year. when I do not get sub plans I create similar options and usually tell a story or three. stories that relate to their age and interest, as this gives them an opportunity to listen, and I can gauge comprehension through several details in the story, or I'll ask them about current events to see what they are learning outside school. I can usually tie it all in to the subject if the regular teacher hasn't left me any breadcrumbs to follow...
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Good job Katie!
Old 09-15-2018, 10:13 AM
 
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We had to leave one day, three day, and one week plans for those emergencies. AND my one day plan was what you did. I left a short story to read and discuss during reading period and then a writing prompt to begin if there was time in reading. They were to finish it during language arts. I used that technique myself as a teacher when we finished a unit or the day had unexpected interruptions. Keep that "trick" up your sleeve. It's a great one!


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Old 09-15-2018, 02:04 PM
 
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Sounds like you pulled a rabbit out of your hat and had what I’d call a successful day. Bringing in a “worst case scenario” assignment was your lifesaver, and one of the first rules of subbing.

As others have said, it sounds as if this might be a case of a teacher who just got transferred in and is trying to find his/her footing. There may have even been several previous subs in the classroom. I’d at least give the school another shot, if not that particular classroom.
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Old 09-15-2018, 02:34 PM
 
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Thanks for the replies. I do know the teacher is a veteran teacher, has worked there for at least 3 years, and school started 7 weeks ago. So she really should have known better and had emergency plans available. There were none in the office or attached online on the sub system.

However, I kind of got the feeling that it was an emergency situation (the teacher next door hinted that they didnít know when/if she would return) so I understand that things like that happen. It was just a harsh reality check for my first time subbing!
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stuff happens
Old 09-15-2018, 06:03 PM
 
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I remember another bad time I subbed once with no plans, I had just been in another class with no plans the week before, so although I was irritated a little, I decided not to make a big deal, just roll with it. around lunch the office called to see if I could finish the week, the teachers spouse had committed suicide that morning. I told them I'd make up some plans for the rest of the week and not to bother her at all.

sometimes you never know....
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