Hi! I am a retired teacher after 30 years of teaching intermediate as well as my last five in grade 2. This probably should be on the sub board but I feel that I might get better advice here.
I sub at one small Catholic school. i admit that I have difficulty remembering student names. The last 8 to 10 years full-time teaching I would get student photos from the year before and then memorize the student's name from the photo before school began. I think it's an aging thing. I will remember everything else about them.
None of the teachers have ever given me a seating chart. I always had three magnetic seating charts – one for my homeroom group, one for my reading group, and another for math group. So I don't quite understand this.
If I have a seating chart, I feel that it gives me the control to teach the classroom. Knowing their names if they are off task helps immensely. Even if their name is on their desk time off it's not always helpful if I am at another position of the room.
My classroom management was always very good because I modeled at the beginning of the year and had clear set consequences. As a sub, I feel like it's more babysitting. I even had the first grade teacher leave me the seat work for all day because she did not need the grades. I really feel that I'm more qualified to actually teach and have utilized the SmartBoard more than some of the classroom teachers. Because I'm not the regular teacher, students are calling out, not listening, unfocused, etc.
Also, other than the gym teacher who is amazing, the teachers do not have a sub folder where they list classroom expectations, rules, helpful students, etc.
I don't want to stand uncooperative students to the principal.
I was a sub for many years. However, I mainly subbed in Grade 6 and up. However, if I was ever in a primary classroom without a seating chart, I just made my own. I do remember that sometimes I used the names on the desks before the kids entered. Other times I just drew up boxes and entered the name as I took attendance.
I spent many days showing movies and leading the classes in busy work. However, one thing that worked for me was only subbing in one district and in two buildings. This way, I got known and teachers started to "let me" teach. I would also pop in when I had a job lined up and say, "Hi, I'm in for you next Tuesday." The teachers would often fill me in or say, "Oh good, would you mind doing this project with them." I even did science experiments and all kinds of other "real" teaching.
Thanks for your response. If called with enough time I do try to make a quick seating chart. You gave me some other things to think about, too.
That still leaves the actual unfocused or those goofing around because the teacher is not there. There are no rules and consequences that I'm aware of except the traffic light system in K. Maybe I'll do something similar to that on a sheet of paper clipped to the clipboard so the child's name is not on the white board. If any other ideas, just let me know. Thanks again.
I agree with always make a seating chart!! I have grid paper in my sub bag, so it's easy to draw in the desk plan. If there aren't name tags, or I get switched in at the last minute, I walk around during "morning work" and fill it in from the names on top of their papers.
(I also sub for one particularly awesome kindergarten teacher who has name tags for them, and has trained her class to get them from the tray and put them on whenever there is a sub.)
For a quick classroom management system, I draw a row of smilies across the top of the board, kind of like this:
Then I have a magnet that I move to show them which one is looking like my note to their regular teacher. It's easy and I don't have to interrupt the lesson to use it.
I used to write my own rules on the board. In elementary, I think I had three and in secondary five. There were things like:
*Stay in assigned seat
*Raise your hand to talk
I would tell them that they get one warning, then I write their name down. If they get three strikes then they get sent out. If the teacher had a management system, I would follow that. However, for older kids, I would get a referral form and fill it out if the kid got three strikes. I would privately tell the kid that I would get them one more chance to improve. If they did, I would tear it up. MOST of the time, the kid improved. If not, I would leave a note for the teacher. Very rarely, I would fill out the referral sheet and leave it. I only sent three students to the office in four years and two were in ms and one was in high school. When I would stay at the same schools, I would get to know the students and classrooms. I really got booked ahead for almost the entire year when I got a rep as a reliable sub.
I think the think that helped me was my "sub pack." I had it filled with a mobile classroom. I often told the classes that they would get a reward if I didn't have to write any names down. Kids, even in high school, looked forward to this. When kids got done with their work, I had all types of puzzles, sudoku, word searches, coloring pages, and activities for them to do. I also brought some stories to read. What kids don't like stories? That was my main problem in secondary that kids would always have extra time at the end. I also had a bunch of board games that I could play with students. Like word puzzles and hangman....I admit that I went above and beyond because I was new and looking for a job.
Another thing that helped is that I focused on the students. I walked around, tried to help them with their work, and always talked to them. I even would tell them about something funny when I first came in to get them settled down, then say, "Okay, we have to get 1-3 done. If you all do a good job, we'll play a little game. Now get to work, there is no talking." There will always be one or two that would try to test me. I'd almost expect it. Write that kid's name down on clipboard, maybe talk to them privately, and get them back to work. If they keep pushing, send them out. Believe me, word will spread. It gets easier!
This last entry really helped me to have a great day. I already carry a sub bag filled with things including Plexers for the students to work on. However this time I took the moment right after announcements to go over the rules twice, asked for questions, told them I was carrying around a clipboard and explained how that would work with their names. This was all done in a kind firm manner. It was the best day I have ever had. I also gave points for rows and gave stickers out at the end of the day.
I know that you had mentioned not being able to remember student names. Here is a trick I have learned for my classroom. In one of my college courses, our professor used a name game that helped not only HIM memorize our names, but also everyone else in the class. It only takes about 10 minutes, and it is worth trying.
The professor facilitated a simple name game, without ever explaining or going into detail about it. He began on one side of the room, asking the first student's name. They told him. He made them say it aloud few times. He repeated their name a few times to himself. He made jokes or even told a story or a memory about that name if he wanted to. Then he moved to the next student. He would not ask what THEIR name was, but instead what the first person's name was. They would tell him. Then he'd ask THEIR name. They tell him. Then, move to the next person. This person must repeat the first two people's names and then state their own name. This process continues throughout the classroom. The professor would sometimes go back to people at the beginning and quiz them or ask them "name all the people you can in the classroom!" It is an engaging technique that uses repetition and interaction to promote name memorization. I understand that this may not work in a class where everyone is already familiar with each other's names, but it is fun game to keep in your tool belt either way! Hope this makes sense!