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Thread: Substitute teaching

  1. #16
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    Re: Substitute teaching

    I'm seriously thinking about a career in teaching. Having a pretty rough childhood, experiencing things like drugs, alcohol, parents not there when I needed them, I feel I can relate much better than some of those preps graduating with all A's in academics, and all F's in real life experience. Anyway.....special education is probably where I'm going to wind up teaching. Even though I'm not what I consider "street smart", I've wondered what it would be like to teach in a Dangerous Minds (anyone else here like that movie?) environment.

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  3. #17
    Member Stephenk29's Avatar
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    Re: Substitute teaching

    Quote Originally Posted by aerontg View Post
    I'm seriously thinking about a career in teaching. Having a pretty rough childhood, experiencing things like drugs, alcohol, parents not there when I needed them, I feel I can relate much better than some of those preps graduating with all A's in academics, and all F's in real life experience. Anyway.....special education is probably where I'm going to wind up teaching. Even though I'm not what I consider "street smart", I've wondered what it would be like to teach in a Dangerous Minds (anyone else here like that movie?) environment.
    Spent some time in East St. Louis High School.
    Good luck.


    I'm student teaching right now, the first thing you learn is easily firm but fair. The second you give them an inch, they take a mile.
    "The Hall of Fame is there to keep alive the memory of people. You don't need to do that with people like Buck [O'Niel] and Joe [Nuxhall]. Nobody's forgetting those guys."

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  4. #18
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Substitute teaching

    Being a substitute is like your first day of prison. When you go in, you have to make a decision: Am I going to beat someone up, or am I going to be friends with someone who can protect me? The thing is, you're seen as the prison guard, so no one will protect you. Therefore, you have to beat someone up, figuratively speaking.

    As soon as you walk in the class, find a kid that's doing something wrong. Even if he/she isn't doing anything wrong, you can find something. Then, punish the kid. The student will whine and try to talk her/his way out of it, but just stick to your guns, and send her/him to the corner or whatever.

    Soon, someone will try to test you. Yell. And I mean yell. Here's the beauty of it:

    When you yell, all the students want to know what you're saying. You're causing a big disruption, and instead of them going off and doing bad things on their own, they will pay attention to you because they're entertained. Soon enough, the allure of yelling will wear off, and you'll have to find something else to keep their attention.

    That's the key to being a substitute teacher. Just be entertaining. The thing is, nothing wholesome entertains kids. You have to use drugs, sex, and violence. Obviously, for legal reasons, it's difficult to stick to these themes in the presence of young people. This is when you make up stories about how a friend of yours was mobbed on the streets last night. Then the kids will think they have power as they try to inform you of why the person was mobbed. They will want to know all the details, and if they but your story (and they will), they will try to give tips. It makes the kids think they're hard and gives them a feeling of power. And if you have a class full of do-gooders, they'll just be quiet the whole time, and you can ignore them anyway.

    The term 'substitute teacher' is very misleading. You're not going to teach them anything. I hate to tell you this, but you're probably just a baby-sitter. Anyway, I hope this helped. Being a substitute baby-sitter should give you some great stories that you can tell over and over for the rest of your life.

  5. #19
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Substitute teaching

    I haven't subbed, but I've taught the rough crowd of students at the trade school/associate degree level, so if you find yourself on a long-term sub assignment, this might help. If you pass out assignments, you will have to decide whether you expect students to do their own work or not, because you will probably have students trying to turn in the exact same assignment. If you catch anyone cheating, know the school policy, tell that that you are failing them on that assignment and if they wish to dispute it, they can speak with the administration. Usually they back down because they know they were busted. Just in case, save copies of everything. Sometimes students will wait till you're gone to accuse you of unfairness or some failure on your part to follow school policy, thinking they will keep you from getting hired again. Usually, administration officials know what they're trying to do, but just in case, it's good to have your own paper trial to fall back on.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

  6. #20
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    Re: Substitute teaching

    I disagree about as much as possible with you, camisa. You are paid to be a substitute teacher, so you should be a substitute teacher. I spent five years with the worst of the worst in an inner city middle school.

    I learned to survive and thrive because my lessons were entertaining and demanding. Most often, you can stare down a student if they don't do what you want them to. If you're physically imposing, use it to your advantage. Stand close. Loom.

    But, above all else, stay calm.

    As soon as you start yelling, you're done for. They smell not fear, I think, but that feeling of uncontrolled panic that comes with yelling. It's an animal thing.

    So, to confront that and have your kids pay attention, do as Edskin does. Prepare a couple day-long lessons in each subject about real-life work. If a teacher doesn't leave leson plans, use those. Change as needed. Since you're trying to get some experience, this is a great opportunity to get it.

    If you're in a gym with only two basketballs, play Cowboys and Indians, wherein they try to catch one another while jogging around the basketball court. The person in back sprints to the front while everyone else jogs. It keeps them in shape and takes about fifteen to 30 minutes of class time.

    The most important facets of education, in any environment, are:
    Edu-tainment
    Make it interesting and they will sit. (They might not sit the way you want them to or learn the way it "should be", but they will stay relatively quiet.) Find something they can relate to or something they need to know in the real world and it's good. If you're in an English class, have them read a short magazine article on the effects of the death of Tupac Shakur or how barbed wire changed the American West. A good student-written editorial on an issue they care about is also a good mini-lesson. Above all, find something fun for them.

    Create relationships
    Don't be afraid to laugh at their jokes, if they're funny. If they're not, don't laught. Don't be fake; they know fake and hate it. Tell stories from your life if you are a good storyteller. If not, keep quiet. If you're funny, make a joke or two, but keep it low-key and dry and don't try for the Jim Carrey-esque physical humor. Try to find something to like in each kid. Smile. Be friendly, but not a friend.

    Be fair
    Be fair, but not necessarily equal. Some kids can go to the hallway and "work"; others can't. Don't yell at one kid "just to set an example". You wouldn't want someone doing that to you or your child, would you? Unfairness breeds resentment and resentment can build. Quickly. Pick the wrong kid and you're screwed forever at that particular school. Finally, the best piece of advice I ever receieved about teaching was this: if it is going to matter in five years, say something and be willing to stick to your guns. If it won't, let it slide.

    Hope these help.
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
    -- Christy Matthewson
    "Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
    -- Leo Durocher

  7. #21
    Member cincrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Substitute teaching

    So far, so good with the substitute teaching. As long as you let the kids know you're in charge from the get go, you can have a pretty good handle on them. Every now and then a kid will feel the need to test you. Mostly the reaction to a substitute is "Well, they're not going to be here tomorrow, I'll never see them again, I can do what I want." But if you squash that pretty quick it makes for a good day.

    I've also found that if they finish whatever work the teacher had for them, instead of letting them chat away (as the noise level increases) I get their attention and engage in some current event talk, whether it be about the election, or hurricanes, 9/11, or what have you.

    I asked a class the other day what grade they were in when 9/11 happened, and I was told the 2nd grade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I also asked the class what year they thought I graduated, and one girl said "1989!" Now, no offense to anyone that graduated in 89, but I graduated in 2003!!!!! And I barely look that old, so I'm not sure where she came up with that one


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