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Lenoral
 
 
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Laborious Substitute Plans
Old 05-23-2018, 05:21 PM
 
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Today the regular teacher left me a book of one lesson plan.Small font, too. What was he thinking? I don't have much time to read through such a long lesson plan before school, especially when I have to do his supervision duty in the morning. I had five minutes to prepare before class.The plan contained eleven or twelve pages. I had to sift through four pages before I got to the plan. He wrote down ten activities for us to do before lunch. Complicated ones with a few rotation and everything. It was difficult to find things in his room, and some directions in the plans were not clear.The end of the year is early next month.All of this information and work can't be that urgent. Is he trying to drive the students and me crazy?I get the feeling he hasn't substituted before, or maybe he has something against them. I was once a teacher, and my plans were not perfect.I knew better to give a little space or breathing room in the plans. I would also tell the substitute to do what they could with it or alter if they needed to. If you've had a similar experience, I am all ears or eyes rather!!


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Old 05-23-2018, 07:05 PM
 
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I must admit I chuckled at the irony of your post, only because we sometimes complain teachers don’t leave us enough info. . Sounds like that wasn’t the problem in your case! I’m sure you did just fine, but I understand your frustration. 5 minutes to read all that and prep for class? Ugh.

Small font guy may be a young teacher who hasn’t yet experienced the thrill of wondering if your arms are going to be long enough to get whatever you’re trying to read far enough away so you can read it. Maybe he was trying to save paper since he was leaving you a novella. Who knows?

It’s more likely he’s very detail-oriented, and hasn’t learned to cut to the chase when writing sub plans. I would bet he’s never subbed, either. At least he gave you more than enough work for the kids. 10 activities before lunch is quite a blistering pace!

I’ll take microscopic, multi-page plans over those that say, “the students know what to do”.

ETA: What grade level was this?
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My worst...
Old 05-24-2018, 02:19 AM
 
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The "worst" lesson plans I ever received were handwritten in 3-4 different colors of ink--it took almost as long to figure out the code as it did the plans. And while I was doing that, the teacher called to "go over everything." I finally had to tell her "I have kids coming into the room and need to hang up..."

When I started subbing, my then principal was awesome. One of the warnings she gave me was that I would probably be surprised by the amount of control some teachers require and their insecurity. She was correct. It wasn't a criticism, really. I suspect highly detailed lesson plans are an attempt to "control" that's meant to be helpful.

A teacher I sub for a lot is about to retire... we've had many discussions about how much to include in lesson plans and she still doesn't think she's figured it out. One of the conclusions we've come to is the answer is "It depends." It depends largely on the sub's experience and skill level. Let's acknowledge that some are more skilled than others. A sixth-grade teacher I've worked just leaves her plan book open on her desk and I work from that. A "new" sub would probably complain there's no detailed lesson plan. (I get that if she doesn't know I'm going to be her sub.)

I can usually scan detailed plans and get a good sense of the day. When I have the opportunity to talk with a teacher beforehand, I ask for direction in the form of what are the "musts" and what are the options. "Tell me the one thing we should accomplish in this unit/activity."

In my ideal world, we'd have a curriculum for teachers on how to write lesson plans for subs and we'd have a curriculum for subs on how to read and adapt lesson plans.
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Old 05-24-2018, 08:46 AM
 
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I guess Iíve run the gamut from no plans at all to a binder with about 5 pages of plans. Iíve been at this for long enough to figure out pretty much anything. For me, the perfect plan is about giving me a heads up about any medical issues I need to be aware of (epi pen, diabetes) and a simple clear rundown of what needs to be accomplished. Many teachers have told me ďwhen I realized you were my sub, my planning got a whole lot easier.Ē I understand the need to cover as many bases as possible, but our prep time in the morning is short and most of us find out we have morning yard duty when we walk into the office.
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Old 05-24-2018, 03:46 PM
 
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Worst lesson plans I ever encountered were, at best, a series of admonishments from the regular teacher to the sub; "it's not fair to me if you let the children misbehave, then I have to spend a day getting them back on track."

The work left, such that it was, were pages from Disney learning activity books a parent might buy for a child. The room was also very messy. I carried the lesson plans in my pocket out of fear of misplacing them among all the papers.

Other teachers thought I was "a breath of fresh air" for the class; said it was the first time they had heard laughter from the room as well.


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Different Strokes
Old 05-24-2018, 04:53 PM
 
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@Mooba1, This was a second grade class. Yes, I will have to avoid his class next year, so I will put that class on my No Thanks list. I am the opposite of you. I would rather have no lesson plan than a hectic and complicated book of plans to read through.
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Just love it...
Old 05-24-2018, 07:46 PM
 
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Quote:
@Mooba1, This was a second grade class. Yes, I will have to avoid his class next year, so I will put that class on my No Thanks list. I am the opposite of you. I would rather have no lesson plan than a hectic and complicated book of plans to read through.


I just love how different we all are. And somehow we make things work. Hm.
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From the Teacher
Old 05-25-2018, 04:15 AM
 
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I respect how you feel. Iíd try to keep in mind, though, that we donít always even know who the sub will be. My plans can be up to 12 pages. Once, I was gone at a conference for 3 days...my plans were almost 30 pages long. I canít and donít assume you know anything - not because youíre incapable, but because I donít know who you are! Therefore, it is safer and smarter to leave extremely detailed lesson plans. Some teachers in my building even have subs do everything as if they were there (daily 5, guided math, etc.). I do try to basically keep everything whole group with pair practice so everyone is in the same area, though!

My best suggestion would be to read as you go. Read the morning routine. While kids are doing that, reading the next chunk of information. Do that. Go back and read the NEXT chunk. Etc. Kids can wait five seconds...or be following other instructions while you read. One sub even reads my plans to the kids...he is sneaky - love it - because then he can rave time to read as he goes but the kids just think heís telling them about whatís next. I also leave a ton of extra fillers. Itís hard to determine what will be ďenough.Ē
I feel that too many plans will always be better than not enough.
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Old 05-25-2018, 06:44 AM
 
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I often read plans aloud, and as I'm reading, I'll sometimes ask questions:

"Let's see.... Do you think you're supposed to work in groups wherever you want?"

Multiple heads start nodding.

"''They should be working silently at their own seats.' Sorry, I guess not."
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From both sides
Old 05-25-2018, 04:12 PM
 
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As a classroom teacher, I had a "Plan of Action" that was projected from the computer. It looked something like this:

Objective: (students wrote this on their bellwork sheets) We will compare/contrast the protagonists in the stories "The White Umbrella" and "Thank You Maam" using a Venn diagram.

Bellwork: Answer in three to five complete sentences. Which of the stories was your favorite. Justify your answer. (10 minutes)

1. When you receive your Venn diagram, put your name/date/class on it.
2. Open books to pages*** to *** and review with your partner. (5 minutes).
3. With your partner, begin working on the diagram. (20 minutes)
4. Reflection: Which protagonists changed the most? Refer to the diagram. Justify your answer (5 minutes).
5. Hand reflections to me as your exit slip.
6. Homework: Complete the Venn diagram independently if you haven't finished. Due at the beginning of class tomorrow.

I would do that for my three subjects. Lesson plans were more about classroom management and who to contact in case of problems. We were required to have medical concerns, allergies, etc. of students in our sub binder. I'd also (if I knew I was going to be gone) have a print copy of the Plan of Action.

As a sub, I appreciate plans that are simple and descriptive. I also need to know where stuff is in the class. The sub binder has all pertinent information in it already in case of drills, emergencies, and office stuff. Of course I sub in my old middle school and in the high school (where my sons attended years ago), so I have that advantage.


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I think this tends.....
Old 05-26-2018, 04:11 AM
 
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....to be a "rookie teacher" thing. When I first started teaching, even my principal laughed at how detailed my weekly lesson plans were compared to other teachers and I explained that I still needed to think through every step in a way that I probably wouldn't need to do after a couple of years. If you're still in that stage of planning for yourself, you tend to over plan for subs as well.

In addition, I think beginning teachers who have never subbed are often unrealistic about what is reasonable to expect from a sub. That's how you get overly complicated plans.

I will take too much information over not enough and usually it's the lack of organization rather than the quantity of information that throws me. I would rather have written instructions. It annoys me tremendously when a teacher doesn't leave written plans but gives me verbal instructions at a rate that I can't possibly write everything down. But, I recognize that I may be in the minority in that I take in information much more easily by reading it than by hearing it and I imagine those teachers are delivering the information in the way that would be easiest for them to receive it.

The thing that freaks me out the most is when I get information that is simply wrong. Like, on Friday I was in a 4th grade class and the plans were appropriate and well-organized ONLY she had put down two different things for the same time slot so I was looking at it thinking "Well, which is it? Are they having music from 1:15-2:00 or are we doing science?" (It was science.) This happens most frequently in a school that has a letter rotation for their days but everyone is always confused about what kind of day it is. I might get plans for a D day but it's actually a C day. They post the days in various locations throughout the building but usually there are at least 2 different letters up on any given day and if I ask three different people what kind of day it is, I might get three different answers. *sigh*
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Old 05-28-2018, 12:55 PM
 
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I generally prefer the more brief plans, but long detailed plans are fine if the teacher adds that I do not need to finish everything, but do what I can.

What is most puzzling are small time frames for an extensive amount of work.

Occasionally I will be given a 30 to 45 minute time frame to read a long story with the class and then answer questions or do a writing assignment.

When we cannot finish in the allotted time, I will try to use common sense to see if any part of the remaining plan is less crucial, and then decide If I should finish the lesson.

I will sometimes sacrifice the " read aloud", or scholastic news, in order to finish a lesson, since these are usually time fillers and will not likely stress out the teacher if they are sacrificed.

I was however, banned from a school a few years ago since a 2nd grade teacher complained that I did not follow her plan.

It was a short and incomplete plan with no teacher rescourses, so I asked the teacher next door in I could glance through his materials to expand the plan.

He told me he was finished with them, so I could just take them. When I went to return them at the end of the day, he was gone, so I left his materials in my room.

She did leave some fillers,( or so I thought they were fillers), so I told a student to finish his incomplete work before working on the fillers.

I made her plan better and more comprehensive, but was banned for not following her plan, and ostensibly telling students they did not have to do the fillers.

Therefore, even after 21 years, I get a little nervous when there is some confusion about lesson plans
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Long Plans
Old 05-29-2018, 04:47 PM
 
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@Sirsubalot.. ..I agree. If a teacher says finish what you can, and not worry about getting it all done, then I am fine with it. Often there are assemblies and announcements that take up time. I can't believe that one teacher complained about you to admin. You even added to the lesson. When I was a teacher, I never went to admin because of a sub. I read their notes, and then I moved on to more pressing matters, like tests and instruction. I figured some of what the sub did with the students was often their business. Definitely not most of the time though. I never had low expectations, but I was quite aware of what subbing was like since I did it a while before I taught full time. If a sub said or did something weird to my students, then that would be a reason to go to admin. But when I see a novel of plans without flexibility with the plans, it's difficult for the sub and students. Detailed plans alone do not make an effective lesson plan.
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Depends
Old 06-01-2018, 03:41 PM
 
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It sounds to me that the teacher had left copious details just in case a sub had plenty of time to read b4 a day begins, the teacher could've left the detailed plan thinking that the sub would teach a new material, or that the teacher is expecting the sub to scan the load of info real fast. Whatever the case is, I agree that it depends on a sub's experience. I appreciate teachers leaving more that enough than sub plans with too much wiggle room. I appreciate teachers letting me know of deadlines and point values for an assignment so students have that buy in.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:25 PM
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