I am feeling defeated. I sub in a district where almost every class is chaos. They are used to being yelled at, which I hate to do, but they don't respond to anything else. I have tried every behavior and classroom management technique from love and logic to extensive rewards, nothing works. Typically a day as a sub for me looks like this: I enter the class, I smile and say good morning, and the kids go crazy. I try first to ask the student(s) who are misbehaving to try to do something else (other than what they are doing). Typically if they listen (rare) they start the inappropriate behavior again shortly. More often than not, they start again. The next thing I do is pull them aside and say the behavior is not appropriate and that they need to stop. I'll try to redirect again at this point. However, it gets difficult when the one or two that are the ringleaders have the whole class not listening to me now. Originally if I subbed in a class often enough I would give the ringleaders a sticker or something for listening during the morning and then another in afternoon (some of these students were on IEP's and that is what the Spec. Ed. teacher told me to do. Next, I tried to give an incentive for listening during lessons, ie 5 minutes of free time, but regardless of the grade they seemed to enjoy the chaos more. Then I decided rewards were not working, because if they got 5 minutes of free time, the chaos started again immediately afterward. I tried establishing relationships with the students I saw often to build respect, but they just liked me more and kept up the chaos. I usually end up at the same point, yelling across the classroom, "Do you WANT to go to the office? It's your choice, but I am not going to warn you again!" And to the office the student will go after saying that, no, they'll listen. All the teachers tell me to just sent students to the office. I hate not being able to calm the class down. Any suggestions, because as far as I can tell all classroom management books are written for teachers, not subs.
You are not their guardian/gatekeeper..you are there to teacher those who want to learn...I've subbed in these kinds of classrooms before and understand your frustration. for me it was just 2 kids..as soon as you turned your back these two guys were up to no good (i.e.: hiding under tables; throwing pencils across the room; making fart sounds with their mouths; you name they've done it) and no amount of love or warning deterred them from doing otherwise...well I got to the point where I put one in one corner (facing away from the class) and the other in another corner facing away from the class) and I explained that for the rest of them time we were together (1-2 hours) nobody is allowed to talk to them.
I know this is a no no but when you have a class of 25 and only a few are the "bad seeds" WHAT DO YOU DO?????!!!! you do what you have to do...well for the rest of the time..it went by smoothly...when they were not looking at each other (they were paying attention to my instructions and got their work done---I gave them their work).
I then had a little talk with the principal at the end of the day and explained that these 2 students were a "handful" and he knew who I was talking about...he said the next time they act up just march them down to his office and he would deal with them....
so that's another alternative...march to the office!!!! Principals more often than not kind of expect to see certain kids in their office so it's no biggie if they're sent down that way too.
When it's the whole class that is being overly chatty, I like the 3 strikes and no recess policy. It holds them all accountable and they keep on each other. I have yet to get to strike 3. The teachers at my kids' school always tell me if some particular kid is being bad just to send them their way. Just that threat alone usually quiets them up.
Has anyone else noticed that the kids are getting harder to get under control as the year is wrapping up?
At one school I subbed at, they had an open door policy for teachers to send students who were having a problem to another classroom, just for a time-out, cool down period. You just told the student to go to "Mrs. B's" classroom and they go and sit in the back. Something about moving students seem to break up their behavior pattern, so I'd move kids within the class, then have them stand outside, then send them to another class for a timeout. The students who were either behaving very disrespectfully or unsafely I'd send to the principal's office. One day, subbing in middle school, I had to write 3-4 referrals!!! I felt bad, but all of these kids were known in the office as continual behavior problems. But, this sounds like it might be a district and/or school wide issue, so you can't solve it by yourself, especially this late in the year. You might want to consider subbing for a different district next year. We are just not paid enough to deal with these issues, especially if they are chronic.
that their punishment doesn't just cheat you out of your needed break! Go see the principal or vice principal before going to your next assignment. Get to school early, or ask fo a meeting and do it after school. Be straight with him or her. Explain this problem briefly, leave your feelings out of it, Leave the book out of it, just say that you need to know what he wants you to do with unruly students. Kids who are not, "school ready." Ask for complete direction and guidance. Ask if you can bench the whole class at the first recess, or see if he has a better idea. Ask if you can start sending unruly kids out immediately (because this is exactly what you have to do!) Ask about writing referrals, assigning detentions, etc. you have to know how to get them to take you seriously.
In older grades I tell them.
1a) Ideally, say that you have spoken to the principal and this is how it is going to be. Then state the plan for unruly students.
1) Stay seated
2) raise your hand if you need something
3) NO PENCIL SHARPENING (this is why subs bring pencils - make sure they return them, ask for collateral)
You have to assert your authority from the second you see them. I stand in the doorway, eyeball each one, and say a pleasant hello or good morning, etc. When you write them up and send them out practice saying it in a nice tone of voice. "I'm sorry, but you are not school ready, you must leave now."
Subbing is very hard to be good at, but you CAN do it. It takes skill and you will toughen up. See the administrators and you situation will improve. It is not weak to ask for support.
I have been having similar issues lately; actually I think even worse things going on. It can really make you sick if you let it. I sometimes have to come home and vent it all out to my husband or a friend, sit in quiet or get some nice fresh air.
I have this one school in my district that calls me most which is why I had some terrible days this year. Last week a student just started throwing things across the room and swinging at other students right at dismissal. Yesterday my class got increasingly difficult as the day progressed. I found out later that one of the students is always kept home if there is a sub. He was there yesterday and I had the misfortune of finding out why they keep him home.
This job makes me rethink what else I can be doing for work when I have these kinds of days. I have sent kids to the office before and I have had students refuse to go to the office and just stare at me with a blank look. I try to tell myself that I am only there for that day or week or whatever the assignment is. I try to do the best I can for those willing to learn. The ones that are continually defiant I just try to do my best with but realize I can't change there whole world.
It is a tiring and stressful job at times but we can only be grateful for those days that go well. I felt so happy having a wonderful day a couple of weeks ago. It makes it feel worthwhile. Some days they really get there moneys worth out of you and even double.
We all deserve more respect and you should not feel defeated if you did your best. Some of these kids are not taught or refuse respect and challenge everything for no apparent reason. We are just a temporary replacement and have to get through the days in tact.
One of the amazing things to me is that some of these challenging students you will see another day and they recognize you and are so happy to see you. It always makes me laugh.
The easiest thing I find for classroom management is reading to them. This always seems to calm them down and get them to pay attention. It is an amazing wonderful tool. The only other thing that works sometimes is the time off recess threat. I hate yelling too.
Wish we had all the answers------------- Good Luck to everyone.
Babycosmos - I completely agree with READING to them as a calming tool. I do it ALL the time. I read "Sideways Stories from Wayside High", they're short and funny stories the kids love them. I bring the book with me all the time, the classes I've been in before always ask me to read from it again. I also agree about using the 3 strike rule, and I also like to use this strategy, works well:
- write the name of the reward on the board (eg. recess, free time)
- erase one letter every time the class is unruly
- if they have a letter left they win the reward!
- this works like a charm, anytime I grab the chalk eraser the students immediately say "she's going to erase a letter, and hush", its hilarious, I had to stop myself from laughing out loud on time just b/c of the power I had. hahaha
All of you are very helpful. Today I tried to send them to the office after 3 warnings, it worked better, but still not great. The class was bored with their assignements and seemed to realize I couldn't send them all to the office. However, after a few students went to the office, the rest seemed to realize they needed to stop or they could be next.
I have tried reading, but it rarely works for me. I try the classics: "Alexander and the terrible...." (this always seems prophetic of the day to come) and similar short and fun books. But the class seems to loose interest quickly. The only books I find that really worked for temporarily calming a class down were Dr. Suess books.
I have found computers work to calm them down. They seem to be excited about possible free time and work like angels. I also hate using bribery as a tool (it doesn't work if you have to take away the free time, they they just rebel), but anything that works and doesn't hurt the students or myself seems like a good idea.
Thank you again.
I do something like Ashley 1616's method, but backwards. I let the class know that they are working towards something (extra recess, Mad Libs, etc.) and I will add letters as the day goes along. If I know that they are a rowdy class I might even make it a phrase, so that I can give them lots of letters through the day. I'll let them know that if they make it through a certain section that they will earn a letter. (this could be being quiet during silent reading, standing in line on the way to the cafeteria, etc.) Adding letters is nice because it gives them a really good incentive.
I also like to do little games with them in the few minutes before recess if they have been good. Anything so that they know that the day with the sub can be fun... if they are listening.
I also do not hesitate to send a kid to the office. Depending on the situation I might try to pull them aside and ask them whats going on and what I could do to help them out. Sometimes kids will ask to go to other classrooms in an effort to not get in trouble.
Make sure you send work with them and tell the office how long you would like the kid to be out of the class for.
I have no hesitation to giving five minutes of free time, BUT not in the chaotic classes. I have found that, whether in elementary or junior high, if the class is so chaotic, the free time will be horrifying. I've tried that with these types of classrooms and for those five minutes students will be out of their seats, chasing each other, raising their voices, etc. I've watched them, wondering, what is wrong with these kids? So, in the chaotic classes, I muddle through, and keep the work going until the end of class, recess, lunch, or end of the day.
In these classes even if I try playing Hangman, they go nuts, so I don't do anything fun.
I also threaten with one minute in at recess, adding to it as the chaos goes on, and I find it doesn't help much. I don't like punishing the good kids, and though they do put their heads down silently during recess, lunch, or after school, I really don't think they care.
Last week in fifth grade students were to take turns reading from their social studies books and I knew it would be a disaster, so I made them put their heads down while I read and explained. It saved me a bit (15 minutes) of sanity during a bad day.
First, the kids must know that the following day, their teacher will DEAL with them. I sub for 3rd graders most of the time, and restrict myself to more than 4th grade. We don't get paid enough to deal with the older kids. The class has a very strict/experienced teacher. I tell the kids "I will be speaking to __________ tonight and need to give her my report of the day." This particular teacher DOES follow up with the problems I presented in my note to her at the end of sub day. If the kids have such a teacher, they generally know they're "in for it" when he/she returns. I don't need to send anyone to the office... I just stop what I'm doing, and "WAIT." They realize I'm quiet and then they stop because I do tell them that for every minute I am "silent," the ENTIRE class will loose from recess but not "today"...TOMMORROW, when your teacher is here!! And I list the names in my note of those who were problems.As the other posters mentioned, this usually works because it's the class, against the few problem kids. I also post them on the board @ end of day so they don't erase them on me. I do play round the world with multiplications, etc, a few mins before lunch and just prior to dismissal..I tell them if they are good and we get through all the work the teacher has asked, we may play a game...this helps....somewhat.. ... The other thing I do once I know the class is difficult, is not sub for that class anymore, even if teacher requested me. I simply refuse to take the class. Nothing is worth the aggravation. If I get a bad class by chance, I will stop down at the office during recess, and ask the Principle to do a "walk through." Most are happy to do this because they can't get good subs. I've been subbing for 8 yrs, same school pretty much. Kids and staff get to know you and respect you. Don't threaten w/Principal....go the other direction and when you come in first thing, just stop and ask the Principal (or even the secretary) to take a few minutes and stop in unexpectedly. Sometimes, I will tell them their teacher is in the school at a meeting and may be in and out of the room from time to time, or that the Principal is doing "Spot checks" on the classroom and on "me", being a sub to make sure i'm doing what I am asked to do by their teacher. If you pull this on a day you've asked the Prin. to stop in, they'll actually believe that you were "spot" checked!! (They don't need to know you asked Prin. to come in. For what we get paid, pick/choose your classes and your teachers. Nothing's worth getting a horrible class. If you don't know the class and you get stuck, don't go back again to it..Hope this helps a little. I also write a word on the board like "afternoon recess" and start to delete a letter if I have to repeat something more than 2X to them. Don't give up your recess break, free period break, lunch break etc, to "discipline" the kids and keep them indoors...Let the classroom teacher deal with it the next day.. You need the break, and they need to get outside. I also will just hand the difficult kids a sheet of lined paper, and tell them they need to write a note to their teacher, starting with Dear so and so, and tell the teacher why they refused to do their math paper, or to do their reading..whatever it is ...even if they were "bad," I just hand them a piece of paper and tell them they owe their teacher an apology for acting badly in her absence, and to start writing (at least 6 lines). If they refuse, I advise the teacher of this in my note, and then it's up to the teacher to deal with it...If you leave the notes for the teacher, they generally respect you enough and will act on things. Its not easy and very few acknowledge the jobs we do. Good luck and hope this helps some.
Next time you do the reading with a group, try doing "BUZZ." I start with one kid, and I tell him to read one paragraph and then say the word, "BUZZ" and choose another kid w/o looking at anyone...The kids have really enjoyed this in all grades, and it keeps them on their toes. If the one doing the "BUZZ" takes too long to "BUZZ" someone...I tell them I'm going to do the "Buzzing" and I do! They do enjoy this...so give it a try and see what happens. Jimmy may be the first reader, and end of paragraph, says "Buzz, Sally, or Joey." If Sally or joe aren't paying attn, then I give 30 seconds and say, "BUzz John" and John may not be paying attention, so I do another Buzz to someone.. Don't tell them to do boy/girl....let them buzz to anyone, but no one can be buzzed twice! Not sure 5th graders will take to it, but you never know..something different and it generally works well. Good luck.
Sub Teach - I do the same strategy as you when reading as class, except I call the activity "popcorn" - when I say the word the student must stop reading and immediately choose someone else. If that person is not ready and on their toes to begin at the exact spot, we choose someone else. Like you say, the kids love this game!!
the only thing with that game - sometimes it takes away from comprehension b/c the kids are so concerned about getting chosen. Although, I find that it works well to keep most entertained and following along.
Hi guys I realise you are probably teaching on the other side of the world but rest assured you are not alone. I teach in NZ. I have worked full time in this particular school for the last 3 years and after the birth of my baby 3 months ago I have gone back relieving (sub). This class of 8 and 9 year olds consistantly have relievers in tears and refusing to come back, I feel I constantly yell. Nothing works even though I am an experienced teacher. They are rude, often swear at students and myself throw pencil cases and even chairs in bad moods/anger fits. I am at my wits end I dread going! I can send them to other class rooms but think this is just an easy way out for these children. I often think there is not enough consequences for actions today and that teachers/principals have little control. Reward systems seem to have no appeal to these children , neither does staying in at play or lunch. There has to be something we can do???