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I know we have some substitute teachers here . . .


Jenny in Florida
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I'm still very new to the whole subbing thing. I'm mulling over an experience today and trying to figure out if my expectations are unreasonable or if the teacher for whom I subbed today really dropped the ball.

 

 

I accepted the assignment for today about two weeks ago, meaning this wasn't a last-minute opening due to illness or something. The teacher has known for at least two weeks that she would be out today. It was a half-day assignment, meaning the regular teacher was there in the morning, and I took over from her just before the kids' lunch break.

 

When I went into the classroom a few minutes before my scheduled time, the teacher seemed flustered. She immediately dropped the lesson she was doing with the kids (third graders) and handed me the book she was using, explaining that they were about to start reading the second of two stories so that the kids could compare and contrast them. She said I should read it aloud to them. She then called me over to her desk to show me the lesson plan for the rest of the day, which she had on her laptop. She explained that she didn't know how to print it, so I would have to look at it on the screen. She then walked over to a table and began showing me the papers she hadn't quite finished getting ready for the current lesson or the writing lesson that was supposed to come later in the afternoon. Meanwhile, I was trying to interact with the students and keep them on track with the lesson she had handed over to me, which involved reading a story aloud to them.

 

I was still working on that when she called me back to the desk and said she was going to have to take her laptop with her, because she had to go to a meeting. She suggested that I write down the plan for the rest of the afternoon. 

 

Remember, I wasn't actually "on the clock" for about 10 minutes after I arrived in the classroom.

 

I hurriedly took a few notes while the teacher continued gathering up her belongings and preparing to leave the room and the kids got increasingly bored and loud. I then went back to the front of the room and resumed reading with the class, and the teacher left.

 

We got through the reading lesson and associated assignment, which didn't take up the time she had allotted for it. I told the kids that, since I hadn't been there when they read the first of the two stories, I would like it if they would read it to me. They happily took turns reading paragraphs, and we finished just in time to get ready to go to lunch.

 

The teacher had left no instructions about lunch procedures, but two of the girls in the class gave me some hints. I got them gathered up and down to the lunch room.

 

When we came back from lunch, the next thing on the lesson plan was for them to "watch a science video on Learn Zillion." When I had copied the teacher's original notes, I was aware that there were no specifics, but I assumed it would be self-explanatory once I looked around. It wasn't. One of the kids turned on the smart board and projector for me, and I found the computer that was connected to it. However, there was no link or bookmark or anything to indicate how to find Learn Zillion. I did a quick Google search and discovered that the site required a login. And, of course, I had no idea what subject they were studying or which video the teacher had in mind.

 

Since the natives were once again getting restless, I opted to skip ahead to the writing lesson, figuring I could use a couple of minutes while they were working on the assignment to try again to find the science video.

 

The plan for this lesson said that the kids were supposed to write a stanza poem, with the parenthetical notation to "explain" but no references to materials or any guidance as to what they already knew. I tried to engage the kids in a conversation about what makes a poem a poem and to explain what a stanza is, but it was clear that most of them were just lost. The teacher had pointed out the sheets she had copied for the writing lesson, which I handed out. However, when I looked at them, they didn't seem to have anything to do with poetry. It was just a sheet of paper with a sort of creative writing prompt at the top ("Would you rather live in a castle, on a houseboat or on a farm?") and some blank lines on which they could write. I tried to encourage some brainstorming, tossed out some suggestions for first lines, etc., but it was clear that most of the students were simply lost and frustrated. 

 

They were completely unable to work on the assignment independently, meaning that I couldn't steal even two or three seconds to try and resolve the science video mystery.

 

I ended up just having them work on the writing assignment for longer than the teacher had scheduled and then allowing them to start stations a little early.

 

I had carefully copied the teacher's notes about dismissal, which gave me the name of a teacher who was supposed to come collect the students who would be staying for extended day. I also had the name of a teacher whom I was supposed to accompany to the room of yet another teacher (just the teachers' names, no room numbers). And the notes said I was to accompany the walkers at dismissal and that all students needed to be in their places for dismissal by 2:45.

 

I eventually determined that the teacher I was supposed to go with to the other teacher's room was next door. However, when I greeted her and said I understood I would be accompanying her, she said that she was leaving immediately. She did give me the room number of the third teacher. I walked the kids down to the designated room, where I found another sub, who was leaving. I asked her if she knew the procedures for dismissal and what my role was. She said I should stay in the room with the kids until the bell rang, then walk them outside. She pointed out one of the girls and said she could show me the appropriate route.

 

Dismissal/pick-up was also stressful, because I had no clear instructions as to what I was supposed to be doing. I had been told I had to stay until all the kids were gone, but I had no idea what I was supposed to be responsible for doing. The one teacher who responded to my queries just said, "Just stay here, and they'll all be gone by 3:20. You can leave then."

 

So, I stood in the sun for 25 minutes, then went back to the classroom (which required asking a teacher to open the school door for me, since the doors are kept locked and I had no pass card), collected my belongings, dropped off the classroom door key and left.

 

Although I've done a few days each at middle and high schools, this was my first assignment at an elementary school. Thus far, none of the other teachers I've subbed for have left me with so little guidance or preparation. My inclination is to write down this teacher's name and not pick up any future assignments in her room. But I'm wondering if those with more experience can tell me whether this is typical for elementary for some reason? Is it unreasonable for me to think that, since this absence was scheduled at least two weeks in advance, the teacher could/should have left me more detailed lesson plans in a format that didn't require me to rely on notes I scribbled down after I arrived? Were there things I missed that a sub is supposed to know without being told? Should I just avoid elementary entirely for a while?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not typical.  I've done a lot of subbing in elementary school classrooms and all had detailed  notes and any copies already made.  Well, with the exception of one teacher who just quit without telling anyone.  My job was to come in and try and make sense of the chaos that she left.  That was a joy (insert sarcasm emoji here).  

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Wow...sounds like a frustrating day! If it had been a last minute type of thing, I can easily see how the day may have gone that way. But with the teacher knowing two weeks ahead, I agree you should certainly be expecting better plans to be left for you. Was it a new teacher? Maybe she had never gotten a sub before? I'd be tempted to skip her class the next time!

 

My suggestion is to have some things planned and with you in case you find yourself in this situation again. Then you could leave a note, for example....I wasn't able to get the Learn Zillion video to work for science, so instead we read a book about the water cycle and illustrated pictures of it. I've done this type of thing often when I sub....have a lesson or activity you can alter for grade level for the main subjects. Take the idea of having two picture books that you read aloud and then complete a venn diagram on the board together...then the students could choose their favorite and illustrate it. Think of something that students could always use more practice with...telling time, working with money, writing a paragraph, summarizing or retelling a story...and have a few ideas up your sleeve.

 

Now that I'm back to teaching full time, I realize it is very stressful to prepare for a sub! To be honest though, if my substitute needed to skip any of my plans and do an alternate lesson, I'd have no problem with it at all. Usually I am trying to leave things that aren't as complicated or require as much background knowledge/experience because I want the sub to have an easy time of getting through the day. I hate to say that I just need them to babysit....I do want the time to be spent on worthwhile activities, but really, I don't care what they do (within reason, of course!).

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Not prepared, but there are easy sites to find that will help you in a pinch. For the free parts you can have your own user names and passcodes. Learn Zillion has lessons for all of math now, Learn some of the games, ask how the teacher calls things to order (our one now is Class, Class and they say, Yes, Yes)  I would just have my own list of choices.... and some games for each subject that seem to work. (Maybe my own sub bag) Not because you should have to, but because over prepared is better than under prepared. You can even have a couple of well loved books to read. 

Technically they are suppose to have some sort of written down plans, just for this reason, where I volunteer. 

:)

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The teacher totally dropped the ball. I don't believe for a moment that she doesn't know how to print off a page. It's October--off course she knows, or else she knows who to ask if she didn't know how to print from that particular laptop.

 

Most teachers have the procedural information already typed up, and just need to add specifics about the lesson for the day.

 

Occasionally I'll have a teacher who is finishing up a lesson plan when I arrive. Occasionally I'll have a teacher who gives me verbal instructions for an easy day, such as a half-day sub assignment. And sometimes materials will be delivered by another teacher--usually someone on the same team. Once in three years of subbing I had a teacher who left a blank in the lesson for one class period. The teacher was always thoroughly prepared for me so I knew it was an oversight. I emailed and texted her in case it was a matter of missing materials and then stepped to the surrounding classrooms and looked for someone who could pull up a substitute lesson. Other teachers of the same grade/subject have been excellent resources for times such as when I need more to fill the period. I prefer to turn to them as opposed to filling with activities of my own.

 

For the most part teachers have been professional and leave clear instructions and plenty for the kids to do.

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Whew, I think you handled a stressful situation very well!  I wonder if she had a serious doctor appointment or something, it sounds like her mind was preoccupied!  I have thought about subbing as a way to get back in to the system. I have been out  of teaching for 20 years and am a bit nervous about kids in the class these days. But after reading this, it's not only kids that have changed, but technology as well...use a password, use a smartboard ? Oh my! I thought I was doing myself a favor by at least having a smartphone and knowing how to use it. I think I have a very long way to go! 

 

When I subbed years ago, I tried to follow a teacher's lesson plans as best I could and felt if I hadn't, the teacher would think I was incapable of following a lesson and would be angry for putting her behind so to speak. It is nice to hear from others that that is not always expected.

 

Anyone could have filled the job she left that day, as it was just filling time. But you know, it usually has to be a certificated teacher, (a bit of sarcasm here!), as schoolchildren have to be supervised for so many hours by us to 'count' as a day of school!

 

She did put you in a position though that could have resulted in a lost child at the end of the day and that is not okay. I think it would have been okay for you to leave her a note explaining the need for clarified directions for the bus routine. I don't think it is worth your while to sub there again!  Best of luck!

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I went back to subbing when ds#2 began high school 5 years ago.  I always bring my "bag of tricks" with me as even if plans are left for me I've found it handy to have things that are easy to pull out if things take less time than expected or if something planned just doesn't work for some reason.  I sub regularly at a large intermediate school in town, so only need to have activities for years 7 & 8 (ages 11-12).  If I decide to put my name down at more schools I'll need to set up another "bag of tricks" with activities for younger students.

 

Your experience isn't completely unheard of, but thankfully not the norm in my experience.

 

Blessings,

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There are all sorts of teachers out there, some better than others when it comes to organization and planning.  This one is obviously not very good at it at this point in time.  I'd skip going in for her, but then again, I don't do elementary at all - not even middle school any more except in rare situations.

 

The worst teacher I can think of for leaving notes was a Chem teacher I really liked.  One time when I was in for him he left two words on his sub plan - "Charles' Law."  Fortunately, I know Chem and I'd been at my school for enough years to know everything else going on from attendance to lunch and schedules, etc.  I found where the kids were at and taught Charles' Law and compared it to Boyles, etc, all sorts of stuff that went along with it.  No problem.

 

A couple days later I went back to see him and asked him how he expected anyone else to have taught the lesson if I hadn't been in for him.  His response? "I wrote it that way on purpose.  If the person knew Charles' Law, then they could teach it.  If not, I didn't want them to touch it and I didn't care what they did instead."   :lol:  He was an old school teacher and has been retired now for at least 5 years (retired after 40+ years of teaching), so I doubt you'll run into anything like that, but it remains an experience I gauge others by!

 

I love subbing, but I've gotten picky.  I want classes where I know the subject, so can answer student questions easily.  I stick with high school - usually 10th - 12th grades.  There are teachers I like (generally because they are friends and/or let me run a class as I want to) and a couple I won't go in for (styles differ).

 

By sticking with the same school for 16 years now, I'm well known and know how the school works.  I know where teachers keep things if I need them.  I know how to use all the technology.  I have my own school e-mail and log in to access programs, rather than having to use the generic sub one.  I never take my own things in on any given day, but I know how to access things if I need to.  I rarely need to.  Most leave decent ideas or plans.

 

As you build experience with a school, you'll also know more of this.  The teacher likely assumed you knew it all already... adding to your problems for the day.

 

I wish you best as you learn the ropes - and yes - this teacher should have left you more details - definitely!

 

FWIW, at our school the head of the dept or a nearby teacher would also have come over and checked to see if everything was ok, but I'm not sure they get a chance to do that when it's just a half day (later half) assignment.

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Yeah that is definitely not a typical substitute assignment. The schools that I work at have us fill out a form that has us rate the usefulness of the lesson plans etc.---I definitely give people a lot of slack if it is a last minute emergency thing, but in this case, I'd definitely write down the issues I had---there is really no excuse for that level of disorganization. 

 

Many teachers use a "boilerplate" lesson plan, where they type up all the procedural junk (arrival, lunch, dismissal etc), and save that then all they have to do is insert the stuff specific to that day. It makes life a lot easier for everyone involved. 

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The worst teacher I can think of for leaving notes was a Chem teacher I really liked.  One time when I was in for him he left two words on his sub plan - "Charles' Law."  Fortunately, I know Chem and I'd been at my school for enough years to know everything else going on from attendance to lunch and schedules, etc.  I found where the kids were at and taught Charles' Law and compared it to Boyles, etc, all sorts of stuff that went along with it.  No problem.

 

A couple days later I went back to see him and asked him how he expected anyone else to have taught the lesson if I hadn't been in for him.  His response? "I wrote it that way on purpose.  If the person knew Charles' Law, then they could teach it.  If not, I didn't want them to touch it and I didn't care what they did instead." 

Love this! It makes so much sense.

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Definitely not typical.  And it really drives me batty that schools do not teach subs how to use the Smart Board.  I was one of three subs when both my kids were in private school.  I subbed at least 3 days a week and asked to be taught but it just never happened. 

 

When I subbed for elementary I always made sure I brought at least two different worksheets printed out that were grade appropriate - usually a word search with words for a holiday/event for the month I was subbing, and one of those picture find things. I also found this book very helpful for suggestions to fill time for any subject grades K-12   http://www.amazon.com/Substitute-Teacher-Handbook-K-12-STEDI/dp/0982165706

 

I think you did a really great job of filling in the time on the fly.  Expect to be asked back by that teacher, LOL.  Although I'm with you - I'm not sure I would be quick to accept more assignments from her.

 

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Love this! It makes so much sense.

 

Definitely.  He certainly wasn't a sub's best friend with his style, but he was a superb chem teacher - far better than his replacement.

 

We got along just fine since I knew what I was doing.  I'd have hated being in for him if I didn't know chem though.  He didn't believe in busy work - either continue the class or the kids got a day off.

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No, not typical, although my friend who does a lot of subbing says that she prefers not to do the younger ones because of this sort of thing unless she knows the teacher. Older kids know more of the routine if the teacher doesn't leave instructions. My friend also keeps notes so that she knows who NOT to substitute for. If she sees certain names come up, she passes it by!

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I only sub in one school, a very small (250 students) inner city classical Christian PK - 8th grade.  Class size is limited to 15.  Great admin support.  Even so, there are teachers I will never sub for again because of their lack of organization, both in sub plans and in the classroom.  

 

I'm sorry you had such a frustrating afternoon, Jenny.  I would definitely put that teacher on a "never again" list.  Life is too short and sub pay is too lousy to put up with that!

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Definitely.  He certainly wasn't a sub's best friend with his style, but he was a superb chem teacher - far better than his replacement.

 

We got along just fine since I knew what I was doing.  I'd have hated being in for him if I didn't know chem though.  He didn't believe in busy work - either continue the class or the kids got a day off.

 

But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a  chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

Back home, we do not have substitute teachers. If a teacher is sick, either another qualified teacher is teaching a class in his subject (so, if the chem teacher is sick and they have a history teacher available, students would get an extra class in history, not have the history guy teach chem) - or class is cancelled.

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But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a  chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

And this would be why I'm loved at my school... 

 

Few who have the science/math knowledge to be able to teach these classes are willing to work for sub pay.  I'm strange in that hubby earns our living and I like working for fun...

 

We have no other subs who can teach math/science at the high school level.  I can do all the math classes and all science except Anatomy (and before I started teaching it, Animal & Plant Science).

 

Classes don't stagnate.  They move on.

 

When I left my classes (to be a mom), I had them set up with class appropriate projects they were working on.  The sub merely had to watch over them.  It worked to keep things going and allow some outside the box creativity in my classes.  Win/win considering the circumstances.

 

And with the project I left my Bio classes (see below)... I'll also be working on adding to my anatomy knowledge!  

 

---------------------

When Homeostasis Needs Help

 

Choose a condition where medical intervention is necessary to keep the human body functioning correctly.  This can be anything from a serious illness/disease (viruses, cancers, disorders, etc) to outside interactions (venomous snake/spider bites, contact with poisons, etc).

 

Create a power point or project detailing:

 

What the condition is in both science and layman's terms (common English).  Pictures/diagrams are good. Be very specific with selecting a condition.  One type of cancer or ONE venomous snake, etc, not broad groups.

 

     - What, specifically, is out of line in the body AND needs medical intervention?

     - What does the medical intervention do?

     - Be exact with cell parts and/or enzymes affected or similar, but also explain in layman's terms.  If you have to look up a word, assume others need it defined.

 

Are there any temporary or lasting side effects due to the intervention?

 

What are the success rates?

 

Is it complete return to normal or are there permanent or lingering problems?

 

Remember to cite your sources, including pictures.

 

Spelling counts!  

 

Proper writing (grammar, punctuation) counts!

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But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a  chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

Back home, we do not have substitute teachers. If a teacher is sick, either another qualified teacher is teaching a class in his subject (so, if the chem teacher is sick and they have a history teacher available, students would get an extra class in history, not have the history guy teach chem) - or class is cancelled.

 

I was a little bemused by just how little is required to qualify as a sub here. You don't even need a bachelor's degree, just an associate's. And the required training consists of a couple of hours online (mostly about safety procedures) and another couple of hours in person filling out forms and learning how to use the online scheduling.

 

Assuming your fingerprints and background check don't turn up anything nasty, you are then told to go forth and sub. There are no restrictions on which class assignments you can accept. 

 

Thus far, I have tried to take only assignments for classes i feel competent to teach, but most teachers leave plans that don't actually require any subject knowledge of the sub. Even at the high school level, it's mostly filling out worksheets or continuing to work on assignments they've already started. The students don't even expect subs to know anything and are usually pleasantly surprised when I demonstrate that I can answer questions.

 

It's not a great system, but considering how low the pay is and how little support is offered, I assume schools figure they can't expect much of the subs who are willing to do the job.

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I was a little bemused by just how little is required to qualify as a sub here. You don't even need a bachelor's degree, just an associate's. And the required training consists of a couple of hours online (mostly about safety procedures) and another couple of hours in person filling out forms and learning how to use the online scheduling.

 

Assuming your fingerprints and background check don't turn up anything nasty, you are then told to go forth and sub. There are no restrictions on which class assignments you can accept. 

 

Thus far, I have tried to take only assignments for classes i feel competent to teach, but most teachers leave plans that don't actually require any subject knowledge of the sub. Even at the high school level, it's mostly filling out worksheets or continuing to work on assignments they've already started. The students don't even expect subs to know anything and are usually pleasantly surprised when I demonstrate that I can answer questions.

 

It's not a great system, but considering how low the pay is and how little support is offered, I assume schools figure they can't expect much of the subs who are willing to do the job.

 

We're a little different.  One needs a bachelor's degree.  Now there is required training (a 3 day class I'm told), but I didn't need that when I started, so that's hearsay except I know there's a class.

 

Background check is a must - as is a physical (which merely checks to see that you are, indeed, alive).

 

Sub opportunities are first given to teachers certified in that subject, then "favorite subs" (which is where I fall since I don't have teaching certification).  If no one accepts the job from those, then it's open to any warm body willing to come in.  Since there are so few certified teachers, I can usually work every day if I want to (high school only), but I generally don't care for full time, so stick with 3 - 4 days per week and I'm choosy with what I'll take.

 

Student and teacher expectations are the same - expect no knowledge worthy of the subject.  In some cases, wrong knowledge is given.   :glare:

 

Most of the time at the high school when a sub is in, a day (or more) is lost teaching-wise.  That's why we get creative with projects and similar.  

 

My project was designed to work 3 topics in - homeostasis, bio-chem, and cells/tissues/organs, etc.  I want the kids to relate what they are doing to the real world.  They're intelligent enough to think and work independently.  Many (literally) have aspirations of becoming doctors and nurses.  I figure I'm training them to fit what I want to see!

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But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a  chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

Back home, we do not have substitute teachers. If a teacher is sick, either another qualified teacher is teaching a class in his subject (so, if the chem teacher is sick and they have a history teacher available, students would get an extra class in history, not have the history guy teach chem) - or class is cancelled.

 

Money......... subs don't get paid much, and people who might be qualified won't take such low pay or are already working. You've got to have someone supervising.... With the method you describe, with the extra history lesson, is it assumed all of the chem students are also taking history?

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But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a  chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

Back home, we do not have substitute teachers. If a teacher is sick, either another qualified teacher is teaching a class in his subject (so, if the chem teacher is sick and they have a history teacher available, students would get an extra class in history, not have the history guy teach chem) - or class is cancelled.

Well, there isn't always a sub available with expertise in the subject.

 

You can't just ask another teacher to cover the class because they'd lose out on their prep or lunch or whatever. And that teacher probably doesn't want to give that up/do a spur of the moment lesson. And you can't cancel class because students have to be in school.

 

Pretty much the only thing you can do is have a sub run the class as a study hall or the teacher leaves a generic lesson plan (a movie, word search, or other busy work).

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This is only sort of related, but I'm a grad student and the teacher of record in an algebra class at my university, and we had only a five-hour orientation that focused entirely on administrative details before we started teaching. We also have a one-hour class on teaching once a week, so by the time I've finished teaching my first quarter, I'll have received a whopping ten hours of instruction on how to teach. And even then, it turns out that the one-hour class once a week is also mostly focused on administrative details. It happens that I have the experience of teaching this material to just my own kids, but none of the other new teachers had even that. Our students will be expelled from the university if they don't pass our classes, and these are almost exclusively under-privileged first-generation college students. I feel the weight of 25 futures and their effects on their communities upon me, and I think these students deserved much better than what they received (i.e., us). 

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Tell me more about this learn zillion. Can anyone use it? Would a homeschooler find it helpful?

Yes, homeschoolers can use it...I imagine you might find quite a bit there helpful. I use it in my 2nd and 4th grade math classes--great instructional videos on things such as regrouping ones as tens. Kind of like a khan academy type of thing, yet more visual. The videos are linked to the common core standards which is a huge benefit for me. I'd highly recommend checking it out. And yes, it's free.

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But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

Back home, we do not have substitute teachers. If a teacher is sick, either another qualified teacher is teaching a class in his subject (so, if the chem teacher is sick and they have a history teacher available, students would get an extra class in history, not have the history guy teach chem) - or class is cancelled.

I remember having a substitute fir French that didn't know the language. I can't remember what busy work was assigned (there must have been something or we would have just left).... I would have assigned us watching a show in the language at least...

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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I remember having a substitute fir French that didn't know the language. I can't remember what busy work was assigned (there must have been something or we would have just left).... I would have assigned us watching a show in the language at least...

 

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Language teachers often assign films in the language or projects on countries that speak the language in their absence.  Now there are also online practice sites kids can use.  The Spanish teachers at my school are some who like having me in and often make personal requests... but I don't speak/read Spanish.  I can do French, so "get" the language a little since they are similar, but... those still aren't my favorite assignments to accept.  Nonetheless, I do it sometimes due to their being friends and personally asking.

 

As with many other subjects, there just aren't subs who can do it better (so they tell me).  Part of that is merely my knowing the kids and having a good rapport with them so they are willing to do what the teacher left.  That doesn't always happen with subs - and some subs do their own thing rather than what the teacher had planned.  This irritates many teachers.  The research on the country or work on the computer really is more helpful than showing magic tricks for the whole class instead (yes, that's a real thing one sub liked to do when he was in - skip the lesson - practice his magic tricks and teach those to kids).  I'm not sure if he's still working or not.  

 

Sometimes the school is desperate for a warm body supervising kids.  The pay is not high enough for anyone to do it for a living IMO and many can't handle the kids so get that typical "how kids treat subs" actions in class - which makes them not want to continue.

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But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a  chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

Back home, we do not have substitute teachers. If a teacher is sick, either another qualified teacher is teaching a class in his subject (so, if the chem teacher is sick and they have a history teacher available, students would get an extra class in history, not have the history guy teach chem) - or class is cancelled.

 

The sub pay in our district is $80 a day and they haven't raised that rate in almost 20 years. Consequently they attract a lot of people but can't keep most of them, unless they're like me and have other considerations (I stick with it because it matches my kids' schedules). It's not a priority for the district to have qualified subs in every classroom to fill short term assignments. For short term, most teachers I know greatly prefer that they have a responsible substitute who will follow their directions over one who is qualified in the subject.

 

The district does strive to find people who are qualified for longer term leaves or leave replacements, but even there they don't have a lot of repeats because of the pay scale. I'm filled a maternity leave in physics and biology (which I'm qualified for) and made $80 per day for the first 20 days and $100 day after that. Add in all the extra prep hours and I was making the same amount per hour as my teen who was flipping burgers. 

 

I was just asked to fill a maternity leave in a computer applications class. I was her first choice for the reasons creekland already mentioned, and because it's a course where the primary mode of instruction is via computer and not teacher delivered.

 

When I was teaching I wouldn't have wanted classes cancelled simply because a qualified sub wasn't available, because that would have meant my physics classes would always have been cancelled when I was gone. I wrote lesson plans with that in mind, for instance, typing out detailed handouts of the lecture I would have delivered that day and/or assigning good explanatory reading that I wouldn't have otherwise used. Or I might have left an exploratory lab with safe, reliable equipment. Or a video I kept aside for that purpose. The kids were fine for a few days and I didn't feel like their time was wasted.

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But there simply should not be a sub who does not have subject expertise. What benefit does that have for the students?

I have never understood that system. How can anybody who does not know the material be expected to teach a class? (I can see subbing in elementary, but random high school subs? really, nobody without chem knowledge should be teaching a  chem class. (replace 'chem" with any other subject.)

 

Back home, we do not have substitute teachers. If a teacher is sick, either another qualified teacher is teaching a class in his subject (so, if the chem teacher is sick and they have a history teacher available, students would get an extra class in history, not have the history guy teach chem) - or class is cancelled.

 

 

There aren't even enough teachers for many subjects in the larger PS districts, so there absolutely cannot be enough subs trained in the subject areas.

 

The years I didn't worry about a sub were the years I had a dear friend who was a retired teacher.  I called her every time I could and knew I didn't need to worry about the classes.  Other than that, most of us had worksheets or something that didn't require a lot of work for the sub to figure out.  For one thing, the subs we worked with rarely even did the lessons we left anyway, so it wasn't worth putting together something that required a lot of work.  Sometimes the subs did their own thing and sometimes they did absolutely nothing.  

 

Now, I do realize my experiences were very different than the norm.  I was in a very inner-city high school where we had up to 45 students per classroom and a lot of the subs time was simply classroom management.

 

I don't ever teach elem. school, but I would imagine it would be a lot of work as you have to have the same kids all day and teach all of the subjects and keep them busy.  

 

I am sorry that your experience was not the best, but yeah, you do need to have your own stuff available just in case.  Sit down games that will engage the students, worksheets or board work that will keep them busy, etc....

 

It will get easier.

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I am sorry you had such a horrendous day!! That is definitely not typical for subbing in an elementary school. I wouldn't accept anymore assignments for this teacher, unless I had my own backup agenda.

 

The elementary school I sub for always has detailed instructions, with everything I need.

 

I am sorry for your day, but I feel even more pity for her students. Their education seems to be lacking and they will be the ones to pay the price for it.

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Money......... subs don't get paid much, and people who might be qualified won't take such low pay or are already working. You've got to have someone supervising.... With the method you describe, with the extra history lesson, is it assumed all of the chem students are also taking history?

 

Our sub pay is based on education. At the rate I was being paid I would have made more than a teacher assistant if I wanted to work as a full-time sub, because very little is taken home after all the deductions (health insurance, teacher retirement, etc., ad nauseum) is taken from regular employee pay.

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Our sub pay is based on education. At the rate I was being paid I would have made more than a teacher assistant if I wanted to work as a full-time sub, because very little is taken home after all the deductions (health insurance, teacher retirement, etc., ad nauseum) is taken from regular employee pay.

 

Ours is based on education too. The highest rate for short term subs (less than 11 school days for one assignment) is $98. That is for subs that are certified to teach AND RETIRED from our county within the past three years. It's $91 if you are currently certified in our state but did not retire from our county. It's $70 if you're certified in another state. $65 for a bachelors but no certification.

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I think it's unrealistic to want subs who know a subject. It would cost a lot more to have a larger pool of experts on hand for each subject. Even if a potential sub is knowledgeable about a subject, say, history, it doesn't mean they'll remember all the specifics fresh in their mind for any history topic in any history class. I mean, even history teachers have to brush up on all the massive amount of stuff they have to cover.

 

But that's why teachers should leave things that subs can actually do. I mean, a video can be good - it doesn't have to be busy work. A practice sheet can be good, having extra time for a group project can be good, reading something can be good... there are plenty of assignments that students can do that a sub can just guide and not teach.

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I had very little busy work handed to me to do as a sub.  Most of it was "do the next thing" stuff - ie. the next reading lesson and the next math lesson etc. in the elementary and middle school grades.  Even high school was continuing the subject being taught.  Since most of the calls were new classrooms, it wasn't assignments prepared just for me.  

 

Sub supervisors do try to match subs to the best classrooms for their skillset.  I got a lot of music/dance assignments even though that is not my certification because my resume showed that I was briefly a music major and did have the background.  Most of those assignments were piece of cake ones where we just continued learning the song or theory etc.  I did have one though where I walked in to find that I was supposed to teach violin.  I blanched a bit on that one and picked up the violin for the first time in 20 years.  The kids told me that I played better than their teacher, which didn't say a lot for their teacher's ability!  (It was elementary so we were working on something like Baa, Baa, Black Sheep so don't be impressed.)  I also got a lot of calls for the classrooms that no other subs would enter because of behavior.  

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I think it's unrealistic to want subs who know a subject. It would cost a lot more to have a larger pool of experts on hand for each subject. Even if a potential sub is knowledgeable about a subject, say, history, it doesn't mean they'll remember all the specifics fresh in their mind for any history topic in any history class. I mean, even history teachers have to brush up on all the massive amount of stuff they have to cover.

 

But that's why teachers should leave things that subs can actually do. I mean, a video can be good - it doesn't have to be busy work. A practice sheet can be good, having extra time for a group project can be good, reading something can be good... there are plenty of assignments that students can do that a sub can just guide and not teach.

 

Part of what I like about subbing is that it keeps my mind fresh on a variety of topics, but I still prefer those I truly know deeply.  ;)

 

Pay in our district appears to be quite good comparatively.  It's $95 day/regular - works out to $70/day take home after deductions (including a bit to a mandatory retirement fund) and $140/day for long term - from the beginning, not after X days.  That works out to just under $110 day take home.

 

It's still hardly a "support a family" income, esp when one considers the work year is just 9 months and subs usually don't work every day.  Doing what I enjoy with the flexibility it offers means it's worth more than anything that might pay more - and the pay isn't bad for part time work.

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Yes, homeschoolers can use it...I imagine you might find quite a bit there helpful. I use it in my 2nd and 4th grade math classes--great instructional videos on things such as regrouping ones as tens. Kind of like a khan academy type of thing, yet more visual. The videos are linked to the common core standards which is a huge benefit for me. I'd highly recommend checking it out. And yes, it's free.

Thanks! I'll check it out. Brainpop videos are pretty limited.

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Long ago and far away I was a sub in our school district.  I only wanted Elementary (I was very young), but got called for High School often.  I tried to say no, but sometimes they run out of subs!  THe worst class I ever subbed for was Industrial Arts.  THe lesson plans included going into the shop part and welding stuff!!!  It freaked me out- boys age 15-ish, forgetting to wear their safety gear, with metal torches.  I refused to ever teach there again, and I was appalled that they allowed me to supervise.  If I were the teacher, I"d have just let them watch a movie or something!  As it was, I was going around making them put on goggles,  and safety gear, making sure they weren't joking around- I seriously was terrified someone would get hurt! 

 

OP, the teacher you subbed for did not prepare for a sub.  Most teachers in elementary would have a list of stuff ready for you- written out if she can't print it, and all of the papers set out for you in advance.  I subbed for a lot of elementary teachers, and the only times it was ap roblem was if the teacher was sick for several days, and even then the other teachers in that grade would get her stuff ready for the sub or you could ask them.  If I were you, I wouldn't sub for her again. 

 

Subs here aren't paid well, and where I live not a lot of people with a degree of any sort would agree to sub b/c they have jobs.  Most subs are retired teachers (who are wonderful!), but there are also lot of sorry subs out there, too.  Our school has a shortage of subs this year (I quit when I had kids, but know quite a few people there, and some who still sub there). 

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The sub pay in our district is $80 a day . . . 

 

Which is more than we are paid in my district.

 

Honestly, I decided to start subbing because I had always wanted to give classroom teaching a try and because I wanted another income stream with flexible hours. However, I am not sure I will stick with this very long. First, I'm running about 50/50 so far with good days and bad days. (My husband says that's not true: He says it looks like I'm so far running 50% tolerable and 50% sheer hell. He may be closer to right.) Too often, classes are unruly, students are unpleasant/rude, teachers' lesson plans are inadequate and/or the administration makes it difficult to do a good job and feel good about it.

 

When I was in the teachers' lounge at the elementary school on Thursday, I witnessed a drama playing out as the school frantically tried to juggle classroom assignments to cover a fourth grade classroom. A sub had come in that morning but had left before lunch, because she was too exhausted and upset to continue. Apparently, a couple of the students had decided they didn't like her and had -- openly and vocally -- set about trying to run her off as fast as they could. They succeeded. The chatter among the regular, full-time teachers in the lounge suggested no one was surprised. 

 

Also, while I appreciate flexibility, the actual scheduling process is stressful and intrusive. There are really only so many days a week I'm willing to set my alarm for 5:15 a.m. so I can jump out of bed and check the website to see if there are jobs and/or have my phone ring repeatedly with an automated voice asking me if I want a job today, only to find there are no openings for which I feel I am a good fit. (No one wants me teaching AP calc, for example. And I have, for the moment, sworn off accepting any jobs at a certain middle school.)

 

Both the staffing agency and guidelines at various individual schools make it clear that subs are expected to circulate throughout the classroom frequently and not sit down when there are students in the room. (It's supposed to make us appear more authoritative and also encourage students to stay on task.) Constant walking around a classroom for seven hours is tiring. And I've yet to be in a classroom that is actually kept at a comfortable temperature.

 

Subs here make just about $10 per hour, which is less than I make at either of my other part-time jobs, both of which allow me to sit down comfortably and work with a single student at a time.

 

Even for someone like me who isn't depending on this to make the rent, it's highly questionable whether the hassle and stress is worth the paycheck. In fact, as I understand it, there already aren't enough subs to go around some days. The staffing agency is still running ads saying it's not too late to sign on for this year. I cannot imagine that the district would have much success insisting that every sub be qualified to teach the subject before accepting an assignment, at least not for the money they are offering.

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I had one "emergency" sub job where I had to go in and retrieve the first sub's shoes first.  She had left them in there and was too traumatized to go in after them.  I was with those kids for a couple of weeks.

 

I had another sub job where I was attacked with a knife (not injured) and I refused to go back in that classroom.  But I knew walking in that it was not a safe environment.  Honestly, the teacher's desk looked ransacked.  And the office was very slow to respond to my call for help.  So, nope, not going to do that even though we are paid ok wages here.  

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Here in NZ relief teachers (subs) are paid quite well when compared to what you have mentioned above.  When I did a bit of subbing back in 2000 before I began HS/ing I remember taking home about $200/day.  i returned to subbing when ds#2 went to PS for high school as dh had been laid off a few months before & we really needed the extra income.  I didn't question the amount I was paid as I considered it to be quite good, much more than I was ever paid for subbing back home in the States.  When we got a new payroll lady at the school she questioned my pay rate as she said it looked quite low for my experience.  Well after 3 years of letters back & forth to the ministry of education I am finally on the correct pay scale & today was paid 4 years of back pay :-D  Relievers (subs) pay is 1/190th of what our salary would be if we were working full-time + holiday pay, so it is quite good.  The only draw back is being paid by day worked we get no income over the school holidays.  

 

For me, now that dh is over 65 & on the NZ pension, subbing is ideal as I have the flexibility as well as some extra income.  If I went teaching full-time, I would be able to depend on making my full salary in the year, but the work load would be about triple when you add in planning, meeting, assessments, fundraising, etc.  2-3 days a week on average works for me.

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Here in NZ relief teachers (subs) are paid quite well when compared to what you have mentioned above.  When I did a bit of subbing back in 2000 before I began HS/ing I remember taking home about $200/day.  i returned to subbing when ds#2 went to PS for high school as dh had been laid off a few months before & we really needed the extra income.  I didn't question the amount I was paid as I considered it to be quite good, much more than I was ever paid for subbing back home in the States.  When we got a new payroll lady at the school she questioned my pay rate as she said it looked quite low for my experience.  Well after 3 years of letters back & forth to the ministry of education I am finally on the correct pay scale & today was paid 4 years of back pay :-D  Relievers (subs) pay is 1/190th of what our salary would be if we were working full-time + holiday pay, so it is quite good.  The only draw back is being paid by day worked we get no income over the school holidays.  

 

For me, now that dh is over 65 & on the NZ pension, subbing is ideal as I have the flexibility as well as some extra income.  If I went teaching full-time, I would be able to depend on making my full salary in the year, but the work load would be about triple when you add in planning, meeting, assessments, fundraising, etc.  2-3 days a week on average works for me.

 

I'm glad to hear that the job is regarded more highly somewhere. Substitute custodians and beginning bus drivers make the same hourly pay as a substitute teacher in our district. 

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