View Full Version : Substitute needs advice from teachers.

11-07-07, 10:48 AM
Hello all, I am new here, though I was on an ADD forum before that suddenly disappeared!

I would like some advice for the following: we have just moved to a new school district, and I am due to begin substitute teaching any day now. (yeah fingerprints should be in). Anyway, as you can imagine, my biggest problem is keeping the kids quiet and on task. All of them, not just the ADHDs. Any hints and tips would be great. Also, I have a very soft voice so have a hard time raising it above their din. This is physical, not something I can do anything about. What can I do to help myself, short of bringing in a bullhorn? (note: I am a total weenie, but the kids thought I was "cool". I'm not sure that's a good thing for a teacher to be!)

One of the things that I used to do with some classes, after the lesson plan was covered and if we had some extra time was to read them a chapter from a Dave Barry book. They loved that. Or the younger ones got Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Then when they'd see me in the hall later they'd yell, "Hey Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!"

But that brings me to a new question--what would your ideal substitute teacher do for you over and above the lesson plan? I want to do my job the best way possible--for the teachers and the kids. Also, I was never clear about whether I should grade papers, so sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't and couldn't tell what they thought about it. Thanks in advance. Stephanie P.S. This is a great forum--I am learning a lot.

11-07-07, 11:30 AM
When I subbed it was 7th and 8th graders. There were very few times that the room was quiet. If I didn't have one student throwing something or beating up another student I thought I had done a great Between the simple less plans that were left and classroom managment I did very little teaching.

What grade level will you be teaching?

I also worked in an assistant at the same school before I subbed so I got to know the teachers pretty well too. Most of them just wanted to come back to a neat room and not have any additional work to do. My advice though is to ask a teacher before you go above and beyond. I was amazed at the teachers who got upset at stuff like that and requested not to have specific subs back.

11-08-07, 12:31 PM
My advice though is to ask a teacher before you go above and beyond. I was amazed at the teachers who got upset at stuff like that and requested not to have specific subs back.
That's a very good point, thank you. I will be teaching K-6 of regular and K-12 of special ed. Or at least I hope so. Still waiting to hear from anyone.

The biggest problem with subbing is that you have to pay $50 to go get fingerprinted, and then you don't even know whether they'll call you.

11-08-07, 02:28 PM
I am a teacher with subbing experience 6-12 grades.
Subbing is differenent in each classroom. You can tell which teachers manage their classes well, the overall attitude of the school towards the students, which classes are tougher to teach than others, and so on.

Grade papers? I never have as a sub. When is there time? Your first priority as a sub is the safety of the students. Second priority is attendance and lessons for the day. Having back-up plans is a great idea! Love the Dave Barry idea a lot. My solutions are to keep kids in their seats-one out at a time to Restroom-emergencies only, have kids help by passing out papers-choose the quiet ones or the ones who are worst behaved-yes, I said worst-you build positives with them and break barriers.

Some teachers leave plenty of work to do-others do not. and know that the kids will try everything in the book the first time you are in the class. Have basic rules that are YOURS. Mine are no put-downs like retard, the n word, gay, f*g, and so on-I tell them it is because everyone is equal and should be respected-it works. My favorite line that works at high school-not middle school----for quieting while I am talking----I feel disrespected when people talk and interrupt while I am teaching, taking attendence etc.

The other cure: get the referrals out and be willing to use them-especially for insubordination and disrupting the classroom. just getting them out often is all you need to do. You are in charge when the teacher is not there-and don't believe what they tell you-always check with another teacher next door.

Get copies of the school schedules and student handbooks so you know school policy-but and this is a big but, realize what is written is not always what is done, stay observant of school culture and admins expectations. And never be afraid to ask if you are not sure. You are in charge, what you say goes in your classroom even if Mr., Mrs., Ms., so and so doesn't do it that way-you are not so and so....being firm is not being mean-

go to the bookstore and read some books on classroom management, that will help too. Best to you, subbing is hard, but once you are in a school and get to know it and the kids things really do get easier-the kids know what to expect in the classroom. They appreciate a sub who respects them yet won't allow a few students to ruin the classroom-they respect tough, really. Weakness they feed on like chum-so every classroom is a stage-be an actor if tough is hard-play the part and it gets easier-you can smile while being tough-that really gets their attention....

Teaching with love and logic is a good book....
There are many many---I want to read one called
Reluctant Disciplinarian (

Take care.

11-09-07, 04:58 PM
I will look for those books Visual, and will keep the list of priorities. That helps a lot.

My biggest problem before was that I never really knew what was expected. The principal never even looked at me, much less spoke, and one of the kids taught me how to take attendance and meal votes. Is that common?