Writing sub plans and getting all the prep for them done (copies, seating charts, info on the white boards since the computer and projector can't be accessed, instructions on classroom discipline systems...) when you're miserably sick and just want to go home is an exhausting pain.
Coming back the next day and discovering the sub 1) did not bother with the lessons I so carefully wrote and prepared but rather "just talked about himself" (to quote my students), 2) had STUDENTS in each class period log in to my computer so he could access the internet and teach them about identify theft (WTH??), and 3) didn't take the kids to the computer lab for yet another class...well, now you're just pissing me off. YOU HAD ONE JOB! Seeeeeeeeeeeeriously. Just read and follow the &^$#*! directions.
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
I feel your pain!! I was sick all week, low grade virusy thing, and toughed it out because sub plans are more work than being there. I was trapped in the computer lab (also known as "the sauna" in our building) with 5 classes of 8th graders doing research---I bathed in germs all week!
You need to let your secretaries or sub system know that you would like this sub struck off the list. Our computerized sub system allows us to comment on a sub's overall job in our rooms, and to block subs.
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
darn, i can't get the page to load! is it all about subs? i swear, getting a sub in is more trouble than just coming in and teaching sick. :P i've only called out maybe 7 times in 4 years of teaching and each time was such a hassle i swore i'd never do it again!
My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE
Fellow teacher thought her sub had done a good job - classwork was done and the kids even had homework done the next day! Then an aide clued her in: The sub gave out the answers that the kids were supposed to read and find for both classwork and homework. Then he let them do whatever they wanted while he played on his IPhone.
We have a system where you can put a sub on the "bad" list, but on days when there is a shortage, they may still use them. Some are really scarey - dont teach, dont require good behavior, and dont even keep track of where the kids are.
At least you have subs... when more than 4 teachers are out at my high school, the classes go the cafeteria.
So if there is, say, a workshop that the entire science department has to be at, or most of it anyways, then there are like (30 per class X 5 classes) 150 kids in the cafe with a sub or two and perhaps some hall monitors going in and out.
I had a sub once who, instead of following my meticulously detailed plans, played "Never Have I Ever"with the kids. As in, "never have I ever... Had a threesome, drank Hennessy, smoked crack, slept with ____..."
But she was a free AmeriCorps worker, so they kept using her.
I feel ya! Several years ago, I had to have surgery during the school year, and I was out for 11 school days. Made plans for 11 days (which took about a month), got one sub who could do all 11 days, had used him before, thought he was great. Well....I returned to school and many of my kids were in tears (oh, and I ran into one mom at a horse show who kinda clued me in, eek!) because he decided to teach my 6th graders High School Math because he was more comfortable with that. What?? Oh, and this did happen just a couple weeks before "The Test." Surprisingly enough, my kids showed incredible growth that year, which led me to think maybe I should take 2 weeks off every April.....
"Life is too short to be a slave to the whims of others." -- RugBug, COTH
Oof. Seriously, aren't bad subs just the WORST?? Yes, this guy has had his name officially removed from my school's sub pool. Honestly, his mistakes were forgiveable--except using kids to log in to the classroom computers so he could access the internet. BUH bye.
Worst sub I can recall having was over 11 years ago, when I was still teaching 5th grade (I'm at a middle school now). He, reportedly, just sat at my desk while...lessee...some girls poured out a glue bottle on their desk and wrote their names in it; several boys ran around the room and play-wrestled; several kids helped themselves to my licorice (on my desk!); several kids took the reward marbles (used for their marble jar) and dumped them all in the jar (gee, kids, think I wouldn't notice you somehow gained 100+ marbles??); several kids threw things around the room...etc., so forth, and so on.
How did I discover this? When I came back to my practically ransacked classroom the next day, I had students privately write down their observations on separate pieces of paper, naming names, and turn them in. When I kept seeing the same things (and same names) over and over again, I had a clearer picture of the disaster of the day before. The sub was blacklisted, but I also raked my kids over the coals for going feral when the sub proved useless. Kids who held it together were rewarded; those who decided to treat the classroom like Chuck E Cheese were giving in-house suspensions the next day.
DieBlaueReiterin, the link goes to a slideshow of a bunch of FAIL! type photos of ri-DIC-ulous mistakes, like installing closet doors and school lockers upside-down, opening up a box of Coke and discovering it's full of cans of Sprite, and people having a strangely difficult time spelling "STOP" when painting it on the street at stop signs.
My favorite sub story:
Guy was subbing for 7/8 Language Arts. He was quick to let all the teachers know that he was an engineer. He decided that job was "too much stress" so he was going to be a teacher because he knew that teaching really needed "professionals" like him. Okay...
So during the day, students are not all being respectful. I am in the next room and am hearing him ineffectively yell and threaten. Then there is a large commotion and other adults are entering the room (I couldnt leave as I had a class). It seems he got very upset with students who were talking. He reportedly threw a book in the direction of the students and, when that made things worse, he picked up a desk and slammed it down. Unfortunately on the student's foot, breaking a bone in his foot!
Yeah, teaching is not a good choice for someone who doesnt handle stress well!
I am a sub. There seems to be something in the air lately, because it's fair game to trash talk subs and say that none of them do any work. They all apparently just do nothing.
A few weeks ago, I worked in a classroom where I had to watch a movie of a student production 5 times. It was dark and I could not read. I was so bored, I thought my eyes would bleed. The next day, I worked in the same school and the head secretary did not want to give me a sub login for sub plans because, she told me, most subs just sit and read and don't do their job. It was the most condescending tone I have come across in several years of teaching. As a certified high school sub, most of my jobs are to sit and watch and maintain order. It can be extraordinarily dull.
Last week, I worked in an inner city middle school. The teacher gave me excellent sub plans. The sub plans detailed which students from every single period would need to be sent out of the room either to a buddy room or to the office. For the last class of the day, a teacher had to come pull students out and, finally, the principal had to come stand in the room because the students were totally unmanageable. Many students and even another teacher, who shared the same 7th graders, told me that these students were beyond control. The students were actually nice kids, but they had no boundaries. So tough.
I am not stupid and I am not a bad teacher.
To all you teachers out there: I have a master's degree attached to my teaching certificate. I also have a master's degree in my teaching area. I also really like the kids. I just can't find a job.
Now that my vent is over, I would like more information about the sub system. I work through aesop. Is it possible for teachers to review the subs in the system? I have a friend who is a teacher in one district. Could she sleuth and find out if I've been reviewed in all districts? How is it possible for me to get feedback as a sub? I feel as though I am in this middle land where I can't get information and I am invisible. Yet, I do have teachers who consistently request me!
Calvin-- I work in your area, but not sure if I work as far east as your district. Very good school districts.
I am also a teacher and have had some bad subs and some great ones. My subs usually leave me their card and want to be asked back because my students have boundaries. This year, however, I have one class that began with low enrollment, so it has become a dumping ground. It was a great class last semester, but has sadly turned into a zoo of kids who walk in and out at will. I have a great sub right now (off for a few weeks for shoulder surgery) but even she is struggling.
But the point I wanted to make is that some of the worst subs I have other had are my fellow teachers when they are called in to cover one class. They seldom look at the plans or even take roll, which we get audited for and then have to go back and guess who was there that day. A colleague of mine was out for first period, and left detailed lessons. When the teacher covering realized she had huge overlap with her AP students, she turned the class into a review for AP. Sorry, I didn't see your lesson plans. Yeah, right.
Last edited by Bristol Bay; Feb. 24, 2013 at 04:23 PM.
A helmet saved my life.
2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!
We love and appreciate good subs! Of course the rants are about the bad subs.
We can have "favored subs" through Aesop. Also have a "No" list but they may still get the job if the need is great. There is a place for feedback, but beyond that, I dont know how it works.
As far as finding a job: Working as a sub a lot in a district helps. Even better is doing the really thankless job of long-term sub if the opportunity arises. Also any coaching-typpe activity is also attractive.
It was a great class last semester, butbhad sadly turned into a zoo of kids who walk in and out at will. I have a great sub right now (off for a few weeks for shoulder surgery) but even she is struggling.
Most of the classes I get like this are either seniors who think they're too funny or freshman who are goofballs Last year, I picked up a bunch of classes from a mostly IB teacher who was interning as an admin. He had two classes of freshman. One was all male students and the other was all female-- very weird scheduling. The first couple of times I worked in the male freshman class, they asked me if they were going to make me cry. They had apparently made a previous sub cry *twice.* I told them, I didn't think so! Subbing definitely requires a sense a humor and some of the classes that keep you on your toes can be a lot of fun. I enjoy my job when I get to engage with students and get to know them.
I always follow lessons. I have had to make the best of some situations, but I always try to follow the teacher's plans.
Subs can also tell when a teacher has been sick and is just trying to make some kind of work plan to barely get through the day. Or if there's been a series of subs and the kids are bored. Those can be long days.
I subbed for eight years before becoming a teacher, so know the job. If you can handle it, you can handle about anything. Most subs are adequate to excellent, but there are a few bad ones. I write plans meticulously and make sure they have enough resources to handle issues because I KNOW what kids will try.
We all fight over one sub that I LOVE because the kids have done exactly what I asked, the bad kids say she's "mean" and the good kids like her, and she knows what to do. MAybe every year I take an extra weekish off for vacation, and she's the one I need to have. The only other reason I'm ever out is I'm on the brink of dying--got crushed by a horse, vomiting uncontrollably, or poison oak so bad my face is unrecognizable.
We have Aesop now, and it asks for feedback on every sub and has you rate them.
From what I remember from high school (about 15 years ago) they were pretty much glorified babysitters. We would have a period like study hall. They might read us a book or show a movie or something semi-educational. I can't remember one ever doing any actual in-depth teaching of any particular subject.
I am a sub and I approach it as my job. That my job is to follow the lesson plans and create a situation where the teacher does not lose a whole day just because he/she can't be there. And I tell the kids that first thing, here is what your teacher left and that is what we will do. Now, there are times. Like the other day when reading a story about George Washington, the kids had so many questions we never got to making the little flip books that were to follow the read aloud. (Teacher told me later, no big deal.)
Then the second part of my job is leave the teacher with a clear idea of what we did get done. I leave notes about each subject, sometimes with a simple "as planned", other times with more detail if there was confusion or specific kids had problems. And a "Behavior" section listing any major problems or positives.
Now, I do limit myself to elementary school. The older kids are all bigger than me and tend to be far less respectful, so I decided I didn't need to deal with that. At this point, I have one school in the district that keeps me busy most of the time.
But whenever I get frustrated by really simplistic lesson plans, I remember some of the sub stories I have heard (like the ones here) and understand why the teacher might do that. I had one teacher friend complain to me about a sub for her algebra class - she needed one test for the end of marking period, so she left it for the sub (real easy, pass out test, monitor students, collect test). The students convinced the sub that it was okay to work in groups, let those that didn't finish take it home, etc., She won't trust a sub with anything anymore. Whereas, when I was doing upper grades, I loved when the teacher left something like that was being graded. The kids had to settle down and do it. Especially when they noticed me taking notes on who wasn't doing.