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    Subbing - such a hard job.
    By JES

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    Sharon,
    First of all I want to say that I have no idea how you must feel when you stand there waiting for these kids to come into the class. I think being a sub is the most difficult job in education, and I am always surprised when I hear someone say they love it -- no lesson plans to write, etc. Because I graduated in December, I was on a sub list in a district for one semester before getting hired in another district. I would lie in bed in the morning just praying the phone would not ring. It ended up that I only subbed in 2 primary classes (I am certified for middle school math as well.) for teachers I knew from student teaching. Later I found out that someone had listed my name wrong on their sub file, and no one knew I was that person! That suited me just fine!

    That brings me to my second point.
    I think those of us who have our own classrooms have a responsibility to prepare our students for the days when we know ahead of time that we are going to have a sub. I set up the day by telling my students what to expect subject by subject and hour by hour. I tell them that IF someone tries to take advantage of the sub, everyone else will know what I've already said SHOULD be happening. I've had students say that I sound like their parents getting them ready for the babysitter -- laying down all the rules, writing down phone numbers, etc. I never promise my students a reward for good behavior with a sub, and I don't threaten them. I just let them know that there is a consequence for every behavior -- whether good choices or bad choices are made. Finally, I pump them up by reminding them how great they always are for me, how proud they make me feel, and how I expect even better from them for the sub. I end by telling them that the most important thing is to be proud of themselves for making good decisions and acting responsibly.

    Subs should not have to come in and do battle with students who feel no responsibility for their behaviors. Neither is it fair to expect your responsible students to just barely "survive" others' wild and disrespectful (and sometimes dangerous) behavior for the day without consequences for the perpetrators. (Yes, we call them perpetrators!)

    Of course there are those times when a sub has to be called in when there can be no opportunit for advance student preparation. Every now and then I remind my students that there could be a sub without advance notice (sickness, etc.). I let them know that I expect them to cooperate fully with each other and the sub to make sure everybody has a pleasant, productive (and safe) day.

    Now having said all that, do my students ALWAYS do a good job for a sub? Not always but more often than not, and not without facing the consequences for choices made--again whether good or bad.

    Sharon, is it absolutely necessary for you to sub in that school? It seems like it is undermining your confidence, and it's a situation most of us (seasoned educators) could not handle ourselves. I can almost guarentee you that it will be a different world when you have your own students who know how much you care about them. One thing is certain -- when you get your own students, you will be able to prepare them for a sub day because of the experience you've had to endure. You can tell them you know what a difficult time subs have and how proud you are to know that they will never act like that when you are gone.

    Hang in there if you HAVE to, but get out of there if you CAN!



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