General Question

theichibun's avatar

As a substitute, how can I make the return of the real teacher a better experience?

Asked by theichibun (2237points) February 19th, 2010

1 – Is it better to leave discipline issues to be dealt with by the real teacher? Or should I take care of everything myself and let the teacher know what happened? Obviously if a kid is threatening others they need to just go to the office, but what about the ones who won’t stop talking when they’re supposed to? If the school has a school wide discipline procedure should I handle things myself?

2 – What kind of things are important to leave in the note for the teacher? Do you want to know who behaved well or just those that didn’t behave? Do you want to see random observations I had about the class?

3 – What’s more important: getting through everything in the sub plans for that day or getting things done well even if it means not getting something done?

4 – By default, should work done in class be taken up or left with the students? Should they be allowed to work together or should they have to work by themselves?

Of course, general advice will be great too.

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6 Answers

the100thmonkey's avatar

1. No. Deal with them yourself. Deal with them now, as far as the school discipline policy allows. There are two things to consider here:

> What if the teacher doesn’t come back when they are supposed to? You may be with the class longer than you think. They’re your responsibility when you’re there.

> What if you have problems that spill over? School administrators talk to each other – you want your reference to say “Ichibun had good classroom management skills”.

2. Before you consider which students disappoint you, consider which students impress you. Which students made progress? Which students tried? You never know, you might be impressed with the effort of a student that the permanent teacher had written off, and this might make the main teacher reassess their opinion of the student.

3. That’s impossible to say – you’ll only know that when you get into the classroom.

4. By default, you should be deciding whether a particular activity is groupwork, pairwork or individual work.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Really ramp up the discipline.
The students know you’re a sub and will push you as far as they can.
If you lay the hammer down, they’ll be easier for you to handle and they’ll treat their regular teacher like royalty when they come back.

Balance that discipline with rewarding good behavior too. No need to be an ogre but be firm

hug_of_war's avatar

Kids should be treated like puppies – you can’t effectively discipline them long after the fact. Also @Captain_Fantasy is absolutely right – don’t show you are weak and a pushover because the kids will read that and get away with stuff they would never do with their regular teacher.

sarahsugs's avatar

1 – I agree with what has been said. The more structure and strictness the better. Lay down your rules and expectations at the beginning of the day, including the consequences for not following them, and tell the kids that you know your rules and consequences may be different from what they are used to but while you are in charge that’s the way it is going to be. Then make sure you hold them to your expectations and enforce consequences as needed. The worst thing for a classroom teacher is to come back to the class after the sub has had no control over the students. Then there is lots of “clean up” to be done. Better to err on the side of too strict than too lenient. They don’t have to like you.

2. Random observations would not be very useful for me. Notes on who did/didn’t behave are fine, but usually I can predict ahead of time who will be on which list. The best notes in my opinion are about which activities/assignments were completed in full, and which students did not complete them and why.

3. When I write sub plans I usually try to put too much in the plan, to avoid the sub running out of things to do. Therefore I would rather things be done well and thoroughly, even if it means not getting other things done.

4. I think good sub plans should specify what you should do with student work and how the students should work on it. If the plans do not specify, then I would make your default collecting the student work. This is especially nice for the classroom teacher to see right away who completed what. As far as working together or not, you have to read the class. But again I would make your default working by themselves. This is easier to manage, behavior-wise, and even if they are used to working together they won’t suffer terribly from a day or two of independent work.

It’s nice to hear from a sub who cares so much about helping the classroom teacher!

Alleycat8782's avatar

Great Question! I just graduated college in December and I am subbing as well!

1. I believe it’s important to deal with discipline as it happens and follow the classroom/school’s discipline plan. I know where I am subbing, many schools use the color behavior system. For example all students start on green and if they break a rule then their card moves down to yellow, and so forth.

2. In my notes I usually tell the teacher how well the day went, any behavior issues, what was accomplished in the class, and any absent students.

3. Getting things done well is a lot better than getting through everything. You also have to think, what if there is an interruption? You are going to be so worried about getting everything done that you rush the students and everything will become chaos. Another thing is that if students don’t understand something then the regular teacher will have to re-teach it.

4 – I usually collect work to just be on the safe side.

Students will try to test you, so you have to look out for that. Lastly, use common sense in many situations!

Of course, general advice will be great too.

galileogirl's avatar

The most important thing is to follow my lesson plan. I don’t want you to get into a big thing by trying to be the disciplinarian, but I do want to know if anybody is disrespectful or disruptive. I usually leave an assignment that has to completed in class so anybody who just screws around will get dinged.

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