Friday, February 3, 2012

I don't want to sub as a career even if I am good at it

I am a good substitute teacher and I wish that kids would be given a memo ahead of time to not give me crap like they do other subs.

I spend about 10 minutes of each class the first half of the day dealing with typical "sub" nonsense and then they settle down and realize I'm cool and they shouldn't be stupid. The afternoon classes are usually much smoother because the words gets around that I'm a good sub.

I maintain classroom control and I will implement the rules of the regular classroom teacher if they leave me their list of norms. If they don't, then I do my own thing.

I'm only available to sub on Fridays. Now, I realize that kids are kids and they have to push it with a sub and since they have a sub AND on a Friday to boot, they are usually wild. Or try to be. I have a lot of tolerance and patience because I know this is the case. I'm realistic and I don't try to have some lofty expectations of how kids will behave with a sub. I know they want to pull stuff. I KNOW this and I am so flexible, as long as the kids basically follow the rules and don't act like idiots. I also work with kids every day so I know what's what.

One advantage I do have is that I've subbed enough that when the kids see me, they "know" how I operate and usually come into class without the "torture the sub" attitude. And kids who haven't had me before are usually in classes with kids I've had so they're set straight pretty quickly.

I always try and do the lesson plan 100%. If the teacher doesn't leave specifics I always tell the kids if they're quiet and work hard as a unit, then they can have the last 10 minutes of the period to talk, as long as they keep it to a dull roar. Sometimes I let the kids work in groups for half the period. And unless the teacher says otherwise, I tell the kids their assignment is due at the end of the period and I'll collect it and it will be graded and if they're "good" I reward them with making is homework- it's a good bribe and 99% of the time ensures that the kids work diligently.

I do have some of my own rules. If a kid doesn't have the supplies s/he needs for a class I will NEVER let him/her go to a locker for that. Extra homework to do in another class because they got the assignment finished, yes, but because of being ill prepared- NEVER!. They can't go to the bathroom unless practically doing the pee-pee dance. No passes to go get an ipod or to a class to see another teacher nor to the school library. I tell the kids they're in with me for better or for worse for 50 minutes. I don't let the kids sleep. I prefer they really don't talk much until the time I give them to talk. I will let the kids listen to an ipod if they are to be doing silent work or if it's non-disruptive- if I hear it then I consider it DISRUPTIVE! Other then these, and the teacher's rules, I'm easy going. They can sit next to friends after I take attendance. I expect them to not swear but they can quietly talk. It's a Friday. I'm a sub. Let's be real. I'm a glorified babysitter paid to keep order, make sure no one kills each other, nor runs away. That's it. If I can get work out of them, even better.

I subbed yesterday and one kid was a total dork. First he came to class late and I didn't mark him tardy. It's too much of a pain in the ass for a sub to mark tardies and I don't care enough to do that much paperwork, so it's a gift to the students from the subbing gods. Then he said he didn't have his chemistry book and wanted to go to his locker. I said no because he knew he was supposed to have it so he found an extra on a shelf. Then he proceeded to unwrap cough drops and then have to pass them around to his friends. Then he laid his head down and proceeded to do nothing but fall asleep. When he snored, I woke him up and told him to get busy. I'd already written down the sleeping, the no book and the being late because now I was pissed and felt taken advantage of.

He looked around and saw others listening to ipods and he asked if he could. I told "Mikey" no because he hadn't done anything all period long and ipods were a reward. Another kid asked me for help and after I helped her I walked by Mikey's desk and that little shit had his ipod out. I took it away from him and told him to see me after school. He said he thought I was kidding when I said no and I said I wasn't.

At the end of the period I gave the ipod to the science department chair who said he would turn it in to the office. He found me later and told me that Mikey was busted with his ipod earlier in the day and now his father would have to come get it and have a meeting with the assistant principal since he was in trouble for this once already. So Mikey came to me and I sent him to the other science teacher (as instructed). Dumb kid!

What was so funny is that the other kids gave Mikey grief because I told him no and he's stupid because I'm "the cool sub". They were mad at HIM because they thought I might get mad at them because of him (nice pronoun usage there, eh?)! Kids are so funny.

After I sub for a day, though, I feel exhausted. I feel like I was hyper vigilant all day long, watching for evil and wrong doing. I have to pretend like I care they have their cell phones out or are passing notes. I pretend I don't see as much of it as I can until they do something stupid.

Which is at least once a day in my presence. Gee, I just love subbing.



Bragger said...

Substitutes are the least appreciated folks in the world. You sound like one I would have felt lucky to have when I was in the traditional classroom. Maybe I'll do that after I retire...or not.

Maggie said...

Bragger- thank you. And yeah, you probably would like me as a sub... :)