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subasaurus subasaurus is offline
 
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When the teacher you're subbing for is there.
Old 05-25-2017, 07:40 PM
 
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It's days like today that makes me want to quit subbing. I could tell it was going to be a tough one when I heard from the teacher immediately: "We usually never get subs to fill this class." Ouch.

Anyway, story.

I was kind of bossed around today, with very little class work to do. Some teachers are big fans of micromanaging, which I personally find condescending. This is HIGH SCHOOL too, mind you. Where kids are supposed to be independent. (Why do some teachers do this?) Needless to say I won't be back.

If you haven't guessed already, the teacher I was subbing for was in the school. She kept popping her head in randomly to "check" and give prompts to the students. At one point she was shouting at a student in study hall as a power struggle because he wasn't doing work. The student apparently was not a fan of her. I could tell, because he wrote "Ms. (teacher) is a bully" on the whiteboard.

Wow. Not feeling the love.

When I talked to her later about the student she said it was "no big deal." Lol. Ok, I kind of felt it was. But sounds like she fights him daily. And maybe having mostly study halls was not the best of ways to keep them engaged. She seemed clueless.

My question is this: If you give most classes study halls and keep peeking in constantly -- Do you really need a sub, or just a baby sitter robot? Why bother having a sub if you don't need or want one?

Wasn't a fan of this teacher or school. (And neither were the students apparently.) As a seasoned sub, babysitting days like this leave me depressed and bitter. I wanted to like this teacher, but when she set the kids off and escalated the situation for no reason other than a power trip, it just made the day all the more painful.



Last edited by subasaurus; 05-25-2017 at 08:31 PM..
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Old 05-26-2017, 02:02 AM
 
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This job does come with a what often seems like an extra dose of pain for many varying reasons. I do think teachers sometimes get "down" on a kid and treat him or her unfairly. The teacher either hasn't figured out or has forgotten that most kids will try to meet our expectation--even if those expectations are negative.

To the question (which I suspect is rhetorical), I suspect the answer is "yes," because there must be an adult in the room by policy. I've been in a few sub situations where I didn't feel needed but somebody had to be there. I have the advantage of being known by most of the kids, so I can usually be of some value, even if it's just to be a happy face and willing to listen and help.

In these painful situations, I try to remember that I'm there for the kids, not for the teacher. For one thing, I've found kids a lot more responsive to change than we sometimes think.

I'm not saying it's easy... and sometimes it can be very hard to stay out of relationships between students and their teachers. (I'd be so tempted to address the student's bullying report--does it matter who is doing it?)

The irony is that someone who is a micro manager isn't particularly well-suited to teaching independence. Even the kids figure that out.
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Old 05-26-2017, 03:35 AM
 
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I am going to offer a different perspective, the perspective of the teacher. Take what you want from it.

I suspect if the teacher said "We usually never get a sub for this class" that it is probably a tough class. She most likely wanted to make sure everything was going ok and support you.

As far as micromanaging - as teachers we are responsible for the students. For a lot of teachers their pay depends on this. I think as teachers we micromanage sometimes to try to gain control over something we do not really have control over!

Kids (even high schoolers) overuse the word bullying. The student most likely did not like being told what to do and took that as bullying. Many kids think if people don't do what they want they are bullying. You do not really know the relationship that the teacher has with the student, and I am not sure you could really understand the relationship from one day of interaction. Also, when kids are mad , they tend to overreact. I had a student who asked me a question. I told her "I will be right back with the answer," because I had something that would help her. When I got back to her, she had written on the laptop, "Why won't Mrs. Choppie help me!" I was helping her, but her perspective of the situation was different!

It sounds like your feelings about the situation made the day even more horrible than it had to be.

That being said, I am sorry that you had to deal with a crappy day. I subbed for quite a few years and I know that it is not an easy job, and often a thankless job. Thank you for doing it!
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Old 05-26-2017, 04:44 AM
 
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That's definitely awkward. I also am not a fan of when I get to the school in the morning and the teacher is there finishing up their plans and stuff as it always leads to awkward small talk/me feeling like I'm invading their space since they're still in there. Normally when I start the day, I'll read through the plans (takes under 5 min as I'm a fast reader), check to make sure I have all the packets/books I'll need for the day, then I'll spend the rest of the time until the kids show up reading a book from my bag. I feel awkward just sitting there and reading when they're still there though, even if I've already gone through the plans.
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Old 05-26-2017, 06:42 AM
 
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Hi subsaurus: Yep...I know exactly how you feel. I sub at elementary schools, and because I'm with the same class all day, it's always awkward when the teacher is around.

Sometimes, the teacher is really understanding and helpful. They are there for a brief time before class in the morning or maybe after class in the afternoon, and I'm glad I have the chance to talk with them. But at other times, it can be really frustrating. Fact is, a few teachers are control freaks and micro managers (maybe this is more common with the elementary grades). The worst is when they are on campus all day and keep "checking in," as if they don't trust me to handle the class. I know some teachers think they're helping when they do that. But the fact is, the kids just get mixed messages about who's in charge, and it undermines my authority with them. Some teachers offer to pop in ("if it will help") but give me the option.

I've also had problems with paras and even yard duty people and parent volunteers who overstep their bounds coming into the classroom and yelling at kids. Some people seem to assume that it's OK to take charge when a sub is there.

I can handle the kids, no problem. It's the adults who make things difficult.


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Old 05-26-2017, 10:02 AM
 
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Haven't we all been there at one time or another? I can't speak for the hs experience, since I only sub for elementary. During portfolio conference time (for the younger grades) the teacher is in the building.
Most of the time, they pop in when they know the kids will be out of the room. If they stop by when the kids are there, it's so nice to hear them say, "Mrs. Mooba is your teacher today, so you need to ask her/do as she says", etc. At least for elementary kids, that throws the control back to me, as it should when I'm subbing.
Generally, I don't have a problem, and teachers respect the boundaries. If they are in the classroom when I come in, I try to busy myself with reading plans, making a seating chart with names, etc. They normally leave very quickly, though.
It does create a very awkward and confusing situation when a teacher can't give over control and keeps popping in, asking the students if they're behaving and/or correcting them.
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Old 05-26-2017, 12:43 PM
 
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Most of the time the teacher respects my space and keeps away but last time the teacher was in there half the day because the conference she had to attend was in the afternoon. Like why didn't you schedule a half day then? I felt like a third wheel. There was nothing for me to do and the day just dragged. To make matters worse, the principal came in just before the end of the day and the kids were either talking loudly or clustered around the door on the phones.
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happens more often
Old 05-26-2017, 01:42 PM
 
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Quote:
read through the plans (takes under 5 min as I'm a fast reader), check to make sure I have all the packets/books I'll need for the day, then I'll spend the rest of the time until the kids show up reading a book from my bag. I feel awkward just sitting there and reading when they're still there
I'm the same way, I just roll with it or they deal with my "lack of activity". Isn't it their job to keep us busy? With that said, I don't pretend, I would sometimes seek out the secretary or an admin if supervision is needed somewhere else or I help supervise hallway library or the cafeteria.
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case of
Old 05-26-2017, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
had problems with paras and even yard duty people and parent volunteers who overstep their bounds coming into the classroom and yelling at kids. Some people seem to assume that it's OK to take charge when a sub is there.

I can handle the kids, no problem. It's the adults who make things difficult
too much chefs in the kitchen. I try to ignore sometimes.
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Old 05-26-2017, 04:00 PM
 
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We had a couple of planning/professional development days where we were in the building this year. I didn't even like it if I needed a resource I hadn't thought about and had to sneak back to the room to get. I tried to do it while they were at recess!


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In general...
Old 05-27-2017, 02:16 AM
 
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Choppie70 wrote:
Quote:
As far as micromanaging - as teachers we are responsible for the students. For a lot of teachers their pay depends on this. I think as teachers we micromanage sometimes to try to gain control over something we do not really have control over!
When I started subbing, the principal at our school was very helpful... and warned me that most teachers have "control needs." I get that because I do too! I think we (subs/teachers) have a shared responsibility to manage our needs -- for control and other things -- when we are working together.

I truly understand that the teacher is responsible, even when not in the room... and I love Choppie's admission that they sometimes try to gain control over something they do not have control over! I think that issue is heightened when the teacher doesn't know the sub. While we are a small school and I'm fairly well known, until the teacher has seen my work, I don't expect her to fully trust me.

And, at the risk of stirring up a hornet's nest, subs often "blame" the teacher for things that go wrong while they are subbing... in effect, that means we are holding the teacher responsible for what happens while we're there. I tell the teachers I sub for that when I am in their rooms I do not compete with them, but those kids are MY kids while I'm there and I accept full responsibility for what happens on my watch. I can only think of one teacher I've encountered who didn't understand and respect that. Being in her room was a real challenge and I did, on occasional, tell her firmly I was not going to do as she instructed.

I've also been in several situations where the regular teacher and I either didn't agree or unintentionally gave conflicting instructions. Communication usually sorts things out--sometimes we'll even strategize how to correct things when we discover we've confused the kids.

Subbing (and teaching!) is not an easy job, but we can do it.
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Old 05-27-2017, 11:52 AM
 
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I'm not defending the teacher, but I was a full time teacher for 17 years a substitute for 5 years. I will tell you exactly what's going on. Everyday the two battle each other. The teacher has already had enough of this student and vice versa. The teacher probably is a bully in this situation, and the student wants her attention, negative or positive attention it doesn't matter as long as he gets it. They are obviously hostile toward each other.The student will try to antagonize the teacher because he knows how to prey on the teacher's weakness.

I've dealt with this situation many times. Teachers in many ways are paid to be micro managers and at times they will behave this way to substitutes. It's a pecking order. Right or wrong you be the judge. The reason teachers seem to be micromanaging everything often is because of administration. Administrators are constantly on a teachers back. Administration can come in any time to a teacher's classroom without notice. There is always an evaluation of some sort. Teachers have so much work to do and the stress can be very extreme and intense. Imagine cramming 12 months of work into a 9 month period. I rarely had a lunch break when I was a full time teacher. I was usually testing, planning, or giving a student lunch detention when he or she deserved it. I was often jealous of subs because they have no work to take home, they can take their lunch breaks, and they don't have to return the next day! In many respects, that's a lot of power.

Speaking of power, I felt that I had very little as a full time teacher. And I had no control over what I could teach. We had to follow what the school prescribed. In many ways it eroded my self esteem while I was doing it. It might seem like teachers are checking up on you, but I can tell you from experience that I'd often have to go back to my class and retrieve items for a meeting or whatever reason. A teacher might check in at times to see how the kids are doing with a substitute because they want the students to know that they should be working regardless who's in there teaching the class. And, they have to deal with the same students the following day. Usually the way teachers behave has nothing to do with you personally. Usually. But there are exceptions.
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not our job to be the big shot
Old 05-27-2017, 11:53 AM
 
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Honestly, I feel our job is in a completely supporting role, and it's our job to accommodate "control freak" type teachers. Yes, many of us are overqualified to truly be substitute teachers. That still doesn't change the nature of the job. If another teacher is in the room, or keeps popping in, I simply do whatever I can do to make that person's day easier...whether I agree philosophically with what they're doing or not. It's not our job to make the big calls. Obviously, there are limits and I wouldn't tolerate blatant rudeness and disrespect. If they just want you to be babysitter robot, then that's your role for the day and there's nothing wrong with that. As long as the respect is there, I have no problem being bossed around as long as it's nothing completely crazy.

Because many substitutes have certain qualifications, I think some want to operate according to their abilities and qualifications rather than what the job actually is. I have a huge, outgoing, forward personality and shouldn't really be a sub at this point. Still, I have no issue doing runt work because it's not my job to be the Principal.
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Old 05-27-2017, 12:16 PM
 
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I would estimate that the teachers are on campus in about 30% of my assignments since there are a bunch of on campus meetings. Sometimes students are pulled out for testing.

Usually the teachers stay out of the room until the end of the day, but sometimes they tell me they might be in and out throughout the day.

This has only once been an issue, and I just carry on like the teacher is not there.

The only time I indirectly acknowledge the teacher is if a student asks them a question when they walk in.

I then remind them that the teacher has a different job today, and that he/ she should be thought of as a ghost, an apparition. or just part of their imagination, and they are not really here.

The only time it was an issue was when a 6th grade teacher came in and yelled " Why is everybody talking". while students were working on chrome books. The chatter was moderate at best.

I wrote extensively about the scathing e-mail she sent me in another sub forum, but suffice it to see she is certainly deserving of the "B" word.
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Old 05-27-2017, 03:37 PM
 
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I don't think it's a matter of trying to be a "big shot." The fact is that if the sub is put in charge of the class for the day, then that sub is responsible for the outcome and needs to be allowed the space and authority to work effectively.

Behavior management is at least 90% of the job, but if the regular teacher is constantly popping in, yelling at the kids or otherwise distracting them, the kids get mixed signals about who's in charge. When kids sense disorder at the helm, they can become very hard to manage. It makes the sub's job twice as difficult. Many teachers understand that and are very careful not to interfere needlessly.

On one assignment, I had a great para helping out who at one point wisely told the kids "Our substitute teacher is at the wheel today. Let her drive the car." (This para also worked as a sub, so he understood.)
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:17 AM
 
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I had these experiences too.Couple times,they are very good teachers who have conference in building .
They don't disturb me ,but come one or two time to suggest .
I am also happy to see them .

But two other times,I felt same weird way .
One teacher had some stuff to do outside .
So she comes and goes often .
Finally seventh grade acted without discipline when they knew it is happening .
They start to play phones and crowding .
I could not set rules,nor the teacher was not completely present to set rules .
The second time was in Highschool ,
I don't know the gentleman whom I am subbing .
No photo too on desk .
I noticed some one came to room when I was in lunch outside .
I had the same room all day,not sharing .
Also,that day somehow I had my cash too in bag for some payment evening .
I confidently went out as room was locked .
Still I ignored .
Then afternoon,I was standing out in class change .
I saw one man coming through back door .
He comes,checks near his desk(draws are locked most)and leaving .
I did not get a chance to meet him .
I soon asked a girl who it is .
She told it is the physics teacher I sub .
He came all these times with or without me being there ,he could have at least told me who he is rt?
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Seeing a pattern here
Old 05-29-2017, 03:17 AM
 
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Reading the above posts makes me think that these teachers are failing to communicate what the guest needs to know specific or general. If there's better communication, they would have said everything in some memo/announcement to the sub so they don't have to come in and out of a room. This way, they would avoid having to intervene in the middle of some period. Others are non-communicative at all, failing to acknowledge a guest/stranger. This can be alarming as well. I get that the regular teachers have a lot in mind but really, it's not an excuse to intervene while another guest is in his/her host room. If a class needs coverage because there's no subs, I wonder if they would do this to their own regular teacher/staff who is a colleague or coworker in a building. They seem to take pleasure or feel quite entitled to do it to a complete stranger.
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Venting
Old 05-29-2017, 05:24 PM
 
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I understand that a lot of you are subs and venting. You have every right to do that. Please keep in mind that you are venting about the very teachers and students that you want to work with. The teacher has to deal with these students on a daily basis.

I try really hard not to go in my classrooms if I'm in the building, but have a sub. The one time I did, a student had committed suicide and my kids needed me so I was there. I asked the sub to take a long lunch so I could sit with my students who were hurting. As a teacher who knows her kids well, I can't imagine putting that in the lap of a sub. That's not fair.

Now, I know that is an extreme situation, and I hope it doesn't ever happen to anyone else, but I'm just seeing a pattern on this thread that is very negative. If you are in it for the kids then please be ok sharing the responsibility. The regular teacher probably knows these kids better than you and probably worries that Johnny, who has issues you don't know about, will blow up and make it a rough day for all. Sure, the OP mentioned about the teacher yelling at a kid, that is not ok to me and has crossed the line, but if you are "there for the kids" then you are not a babysitter and shouldn't perform as one.

I have read on here where some subs say the teachers give too much info and then turn around and say they don't give enough. What would be perfect for you? Can you leave perfect notes for the teacher? I want more than just "Classes were good." What did you accomplish? Were there issues that came up that I need to address? How did the students treat you? Were all of my supplies out where you could access them?

Please remember that we are all in this together and need to be on the same side to help the kids first and foremost.

Last edited by teabreak; 05-30-2017 at 04:27 AM.. Reason: Grammatical errors
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response to "Venting"
Old 05-30-2017, 08:02 AM
 
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Hi teabreak: I appreciate that you're checking in on what the substitute teachers have to say. From what you write, I understand that you are a full-time teacher. Right? Here's my response to you:

Please remember that we "subs" need a place to "vent" too. We are not in the same position as yourself and other full-time teachers. We don't have ANY union protection, rights, or job security. If you've ever been a substitute teacher, then you should understand how important it is that we have a "safe" place to discuss these issues that concern us (and yes, a lot of it is going to come across as "negative"). We can't freely talk on the job. We can't freely talk at all if our concerns might get "leaked" because that could easily mean losing our job...instantly. Substitute teachers can be "blocked" for any or no reason. Unlike you and other ft teachers, substitute teachers have NO protections at all.

You may say that we can always get a different job. You may not be aware of this, but the fact is, a lot of people these days are struggling ... taking multiple part-time jobs WITHOUT benefits because that's all they can get. Those of us who are substitute teachers have college educations, many have teaching credentials and even graduate degrees. Many are hoping to land a full-time teaching job some day...if that's in the cards.

I believe we all love the kids or we wouldn't be doing this work. I know that I do. Our gripes are largely about how we are treated by other staff, administrators, and the districts as a whole. We are considered pariahs...a necessary "evil" in a field where we face disrespect and disdain everywhere we turn. (Quite honestly? That treatment continues to baffle me. ) The ONLY thing that keeps me going IS my love of the kids and teaching. Otherwise, I'd never have subbed in the first place. I certainly am not here for the great salary and benefits (sarcasm intended).

Teachers NEED us. We are there to relieve teachers when they are sick or have a family emergency or have any other need to take time off. So why all the resentment towards us? Why aren't we better respected and treated as valued employees?

If you've never been a substitute teacher, then please try to imagine what it's like for the rest of us. If you want to understand our side of things, then I commend you for that. Checking this forum is an excellent way to educate yourself and hopefully find a path of understanding.

But if you (who are blessed to be a full-time teacher) came on this forum just to criticize and shame the substitute teachers for expressing themselves because they considered this a "safe place"...well, that's just plain being a bully. (Sorry, but that's how I feel.)

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 05-30-2017 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:46 PM
 
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I did not interpret teabreak's comments as bullying. but only as using her side of the ledger to vent, which is OK.
I do not recall even one occasion in the last 20 years when a teacher came into the room to see how the class or me were doing.

On each occasion he/she needed something from the class, or were calling out a student for testing.

I do wish, however, that teachers would think twice before making an official complaint about a sub.

I have worked for about 1800 teachers and another 400 aides, yet because three teachers and one aide filed complaints against me that are now part of my personnel file, I could likely never be hired as a full time teacher.

My largest district says three such complaints could result in dismissal, but fortunately I have not only been kept on, but I get work offers from this district nearly every day.

Since the regular teacher's formal complaint could literally ruin a subs career goals. I would like to think that most teachers would refrain from a formal complaint unless it was really, really necessary, and you are certain that nothing you can do or say next time would make a difference.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:04 PM
 
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I'm sure that you're one of those teachers that's very conscientious and and have excellent communication. The fact remains though that there are regular teachers that fail to let guests know just the basics and that can send anyone off in a tailspin. For example and this may be a non-issue to you but letting your guest know for that day that student X, Y, and Z have some kind of a duty/function to attend. If a guest is not aware of that, it can be a sticking point esp when the guest simply won't trust what a student says. And then there's missing seating charts. How do you expect the guest to learn your students' names when there's no current list or charts? What if a student from another class takes advantage by pretending? Feel me? Regular teachers do not communicate just the bare info to their guest and I get that everyone's busy. There's gotta be a way to let people know, ya know?

I know that this is now besides the point of the OP. I say all this b/c I've been on both sides of that proverbial fence. And I'm sure that you're doing the best you could inspite of what you do. The bottom line is if regular teachers can't trust guests to take care of their stuff for them, why bother getting supply teachers if you know you got some trust issues? Just like you, we feel interrupted when people barge in. How can you and supply teachers work together? It really starts with communication.
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Hi Luvtoteach
Old 05-31-2017, 04:58 AM
 
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Gosh! I didn't mean to offend you but I'm trying to interpret what I said that did.
Let me see if I can clarify some things:
Quote:
Please remember that we "subs" need a place to "vent" too. We are not in the same position as yourself and other full-time teachers.
. I mentioned that you have the right to vent. Everyone needs to, I was just cautioning to be careful as you never know who is on this site. You don't want to cause problems down the road. I believe most people have to do this in any position.

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You may say that we can always get a different job. You may not be aware of this, but the fact is, a lot of people these days are struggling
I have looked over my post, and previous ones, I don't ever see where I have stated this. If I did, then I will apologize here. I know a lot of people are struggling. I see it daily. I'm sorry that you may have had to hear this from others, but I did not say it to you.

Quote:
Why aren't we better respected and treated as valued employees?
I can't answer why you aren't respected at your schools. Maybe I am oblivious to how subs are treated at mine but we have very few times when we are short subs in our building (mainly when a lot of our sports coaches are out). Maybe it's because our building doesn't treat people that way. Subs seem to be in abundance when our building calls for them. We are blessed that way and most of us teachers make sure that the sub is taken care of. It's an unwritten code in our building. I can see that it is not the norm and I feel badly that it is that way. It should be the norm for every building.

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But if you (who are blessed to be a full-time teacher) came on this forum just to criticize and shame the substitute teachers for expressing themselves because they considered this a "safe place"...well, that's just plain being a bully. (Sorry, but that's how I feel.)
This part here is extremely offensive. I didn't come here to criticize or shame. I was asking legitimate questions and offering advice from the teachers' side. I have been a sub. Have you ever been a full-time teacher? We are to be here for the kids and if giving advice and questioning to see things from your side is considered "bullying" (your words, not mine) then you may have some reflective thinking to do.

Last edited by teabreak; 05-31-2017 at 05:18 AM.. Reason: spelling error
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:24 AM
 
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I'm sure that you're one of those teachers that's very conscientious and and have excellent communication.
I wish I could say this were true all of the time. I am not perfect so I am aware that communication is an area that I can continue to work on.

It just frustrates me that subs have to deal with things like no lesson plans (unless it was an emergency), or no neighboring teacher to help with things like where is the bathroom and what is the code for the copy machine. That does get frustrating. I have been there.

I am a high school teacher and I know that certain students can be a handful. They are a handful for me so I guess they may be a handful for the sub too. I completely agree that communication is the key. I just wonder how much is too much. I teach students with very specific needs and some have behavioral issues. My sub plans can get lengthy with rosters, behavior plans, and specific interventions. I was told by one sub that it was too much to read and by another that I didn't give enough information.

What would be considered good communication? How much is too much? How much is too little? It's just a fine line and neither party (teacher or sub) will probably ever find the right place in the middle. I will say that I err on the side of too much!
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:56 AM
 
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Hi...I read the most recent posts and wanted to respond/comment on a few points.

To teabreak: Thanks for responding to my post. You sound very understanding. And no, I don't believe you are a bully. (My post said that "if" your intent was to shame and criticize subs, then THAT would be bullying. ) It sounds like you're sincerely seeking answers.

I think everyone is right about "communication." It's definitely key, and definitely lacking. I don't fault the teachers for this. It's the way schools and districts are run.

I have done professional work in the corporate realm for years, where "cross-functional teams" meet routinely to align and work out project issues together. If substitute teachers were treated as part of the "team" and met with district teachers and paras periodically to align, there would be far less disconnect and frustration. As it is, we substitute teachers are left to sort things out and cope completely in the dark and on our own.

I try my best to do a great job for the teacher. I show up 1/2 hour to 45 min. early in the morning to prep and study the lesson plan, I work hard to keep the kids engaged and well behaved all day, and stay at least 1/2 hour after class to clean up the room and write "Sub Notes" to the teacher. If I'm fortunate enough to see the teacher, I try to touch base and exchange information. Unfortunately, the teachers are usually stressed and in a hurry to be somewhere else. So these exchanges are brief, if they happen at all. It's pretty much impossible for anyone to truly communicate or feel part of a "team" under these circumstances.

As for the written communication? Well, the lesson plans run the gamut. At times, there is NO lesson plan at all. Most of the time, the lesson plans are adequate, but lacking essential info. Oftentimes, the teacher forgets to mention that there will be a para, parent volunteer, or student teacher in the room. On occasion, the teacher leaves comprehensive notes (for which I am VERY grateful), including assignments for the paras, ST, or parent volunteers and info about kids who need special help or have a special schedule.

As for Sub Notes, most of the teachers who post here say they don't want extensive notes from the substitute. It would help if the teacher spells out what kind of info they'd like from the substitute. The best is when the teacher leaves a form that I can fill out, with specific questions to answer. To me, that's the best approach. If you provide a form, then your substitute will know exactly what info. you want.

To sirsubalot: I know exactly how you feel. You do the best job you can, but live under the constant threat of others' (admin., teachers, paras, volunteers, students, parents, yard duty, etc. ) disapproval and complaints. It's impossible to please everyone. We all know that. The difference is that substitute teachers have absolutely NO employee rights or protection. So we can fall prey to anyone's arbitrary whims, bad mood, or unethical agenda. To make matters worse, we may never know who complained or about what. We aren't given an opportunity to defend ourselves or straighten things out. All we know is that we've suddenly been "blocked" by a certain school. It's a precarious position to be in. Sadly, survival is probably a matter of knowing the "right" people, people who can protect you and go to bat for you.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:18 PM
 
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I was both surprised and not when I "checked" and discovered this thread had many additional comments and had become a bit contentious. Frankly, I almost left the forum a while back because it had taken on a fairly constant we/they tone. At one point there was a movement suggesting regular teachers should be banned from the substitute forum!

As several have said, we are in this together and that's something it's easy to forget. I understand the need for venting but we need to acknowledge that venting is not problem-solving. Unless I'm totally off base, I don't think this site and forum was established solely so people could vent and complain. I think the goal was sharing and providing opportunities for improvement and new thinking.

The system we work in has its realities--as I sometimes tell students, "You don't have to like it, but you do have to do it."

I repeat one of my original thoughts:

Quote:
...subs often "blame" the teacher for things that go wrong while they are subbing... in effect, that means we are holding the teacher responsible for what happens while we're there.
I would love to always arrive and find a perfect lesson plan, seating chart, etc. If I don't, my focus becomes "How am I going to make this work?" There's a lot to be said for that old platitude, "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade." That's not to say we shouldn't work constantly to improve the system. But ultimately it's about people. In reading through the comments, there has been some good communication and, I think, understanding. That's how it should work.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:07 PM
 
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Hi MaineSub...I haven't been on this forum that long, but to me, it's refreshing to be able to talk about these things, both with fellow substitutes and FT teachers. I don't see a little venting or disagreement as a bad thing at all. I think it's healthy to be able to air our grievances and concerns and then have an open discussion. Isn't that what a forum is about? I don't know how it is for FT teachers, but the school environment does not allow substitute teachers this kind of freedom. We are too afraid of offending someone and jeopardizing our jobs. So this forum is a great place for us all to share information and have free and open discussions. It levels the playing field as well. I, for one, am really glad I found it! Thank you all for participating!
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Old 06-01-2017, 03:03 AM
 
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Luv2teach... I don't think we disagree, really. I know I genuinely appreciate it when someone includes the word "vent" in the title of their post. It (venting) does serve a purpose and that label makes it clear what the poster is trying to achieve.

I work in a pretty good environment, but no matter where we work there is never total freedom to air grievances and concerns--and I think that includes this forum. Communication always has consequences. For example, when I notice a sub "venting" about yet another school he or she is never returning to, I'm always tempted to ask whether or not there is a pattern to be considered.

Some years ago I worked with a fellow who simplified problem-solving. He said the first step is to figure out who actually "owns" the problem. He thought the way to do that is to figure out who is in pain. It is that person who owns the problem and that person who can resolve it.I think it's more true than false and I use it with behavior management. The kid who is not doing his work doesn't have a problem by this standard. I actually have the problem because I'm the one troubled... the solution lies with me.

Sometimes the solution to a problem is to "let go" and not be bothered by it. Some of the things about substituting fall into that category. I'm reminded of the quote attributed to Lincoln. "Most people are about as happy as they've decided to be."

There are some teachers at school I can have a very open conversation with... and there are others I'm a bit more conservative. Just last week I walked into a teacher's room after school and said to her, "Please restore my faith in public education." Since her day hadn't been the greatest we had a fairly soul-cleansing conversation that ended up with us both laughing and agreeing that we do a pretty good job in spite of everything we complain about. Another teacher will occasionally hear me ask, "Don't you wish we could bring back corporal punishment?" She knows I'm kidding. Sorta. But there are some people who, if they heard it, would express concern to administration that I want to beat the kids. I always look over my shoulder before I say it.

So yes, this is a great forum... I mostly enjoy it. But I do wish, frankly, we put more energy into solving problems and addressing classroom issues and sharing ideas. I also wish there were more regular teachers on the forum so we could develop a better understanding of their perspectives and issues, particularly as pertains to subs in their classroom.

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:45 AM
 
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Since it is not always possible for direct one on one exchanges with teachers, and such exchanges in person could put one on the defensive if a day did not go as planned, I would like to see teachers try to contact the substitute if they were not happy with the sub, instead of write a formal complaint.

The most logical course of communication would be through e- mail.

This will allow the sub some introspection, and the ability to correct some errors that they might not know that they made.

This would benefit both the sub and future teachers if the issue is easily correctable, and also keeps the information out of the subs personnel file.

With regards to the feedback I received about the complaints about me, it is my opinion that one of them is nearly 100% the fault of the teacher, and the other two are about 80% the fault of the para and the teacher respectively.

One of them did not offer feedback that I requested.
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Old 06-01-2017, 07:48 AM
 
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sirsubalot: I'm with you. I completely understand how you feel.

I've had the same situation where a para, for instance, went to the principal and complained rather than talking to me directly. In other cases, I've had people falsely accuse me of some pretty ridiculous things (usually due to their own agenda). Sometimes I had a chance to address it, while at other times, I've been left completely in the dark.

It's not a matter of being a "bad" sub. It's that in general, substitute teachers are easy targets (even the kids are aware of that). We are in a very vulnerable position because we lack even the minimal employee rights and protections.

It's not legitimate to victim blame and say it must be our fault. The problem doesn't lie with all the substitute teachers. The problem is everybody's. It's systemic. When employees are treated as interchangeable parts and not given any protections or rights, it invites all kinds of problems and issues that impact all of us, including the kids.
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normally I like having the teacher there
Old 06-01-2017, 06:16 PM
 
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I have been fortunate in that I have found it helpful to touch base, and then can ask for feedback on my pacing of a lesson, etc. if they are finishing things up while I am teaching or observe how they do those things while I am there. And it has often led to my being on preferred sub lists, and being encouraged to apply for positions at a school with a reference...

Sometimes if I am in the groove of it I just am another teacher in the room, and that is always nice.

It does help establish rapport too, especially because the teacher and students usually get along. I'm sorry you had the exception to that rule.

A couple of times I have had that "really tough" class. I tend to establish a good rapport with the kids because I don't yell a lot. Honest, this is what they tell me! I have had the conversation multiple times in multiple schools. Me: "Oh, well what usually happens when the substitute teacher just yells?" Child:"We get mad and want to be bad."
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Subbing
Old 06-07-2017, 10:21 PM
 
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Who are these teachers who keep popping back in? When a sub has my class l can't wait to leave so someone else can be responsible And I really like my class!

That said, I was a sub for 4 years and if a teacher came into the room I assumed they were there to support me, but I did also feel a little uncomfortable. Can't have too many sheriff's, I guess.
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Communication between teachers is the Key!
Old 06-19-2017, 07:30 PM
 
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At this point in this thread. Luv2Teach2017 and Teabag both seem to be on the "same page." Educators need to work together for the sake of the kids.

As a sub and guest teacher I like the autonomy of helping the students and the absent teacher. If there are sub plans I try to follow them. In the case of a lack of sub plans, I follow the lead teacher's advice or use my emergency substitute kit.

I work at elementary schools in which the majority of the teachers are very appreciative of subs.
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:48 PM
 
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I hope I don't make subs feel this way. I have a super rough class and if I am in the building I check in..There's been times when I was subbed out for testing and I may even be in the same room. I know this sucks but I tell the kids time and time again.. I'm not here.... ask ...Mrs. XYZ.

It's good to hear from subs what they need from us.

I never really thought of it this way because as a sped teacher I am constantly co-teaching. Lots of times the sub I am co-teaching with 1-2nd period is my sub for 4-6th period. So I just walk and talk with them..

It made me sad to hear some subs feel like pariahs .. no wonder we have sub shortage problems.
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