Monday, February 24, 2014

Tales of a Substitute Teacher: THE F BOMB

A glimpse at the books in the classroom leads me to believe that clearly these kids do not care who is The Boss.
Today was a day of firsts: the first time I subbed at Forest Glen Middle School in Coral Springs,the first time that I was sent to a class without a roster or some semblance of school procedures, and my first time subbing social studies in middle school. More monumental than any of these firsts, however, was having a student basically tell me to "F off" and then tears that ensued. Mine not hers.

It happened ten minutes into class. I asked her, for the 4th time, to please stop talking, when she responded with something like, "Why are you f-in on my case?" and then again with something like "What is your f-in problem?" As I was trying to get the attention of the teacher next door, the curser walked out of class. I made an attempt to prevent her exit, but there was no stopping her. After she left, is when I cried.

How I wish I could just suck it up, but that has never been my M.O. I get upset and probably take it too personally.  I did not want to show my sensitive side or worse -- emotional weakness -- in front of the students, but the tears came, my throat tightened. I was unprepared for the interaction and it really shook me up. I wasn't bawling, but I was noticeably upset. Some of the students seemed genuinely sympathetic.

After some pacing and deep breaths, I calmed down and called an administrator. I told her what happened. She began, "I don't know what sort of behavior management you are using..." The thing is, besides calling security to the room, there are few tactics that work in a class full of children who don't want to learn or listen.

One of my twitter pen pals Joe Iacovino suggests this as a possible response: "How eloquent and witty. So tell me, did you come up with that all by yourself?" I like Joe's suggestion and am open to any others. If you are a sub and you are reading this blog, how do you deal with a room of full-blown non-listeners and outright rude students?
Boy with Plan: Daniel expects to go to Dillard High School for the Performing Arts next year.
As far as substitute teaching goes, this was overall a pretty dismal gig (and I have a high tolerance for dismal). But the day was not without bright spots.I enjoyed some positive interaction (though challenging for sure) during 1st and 3rd period and I also loved hearing Daniel, a 5th period student, play the violin. While the incessant chattering, paper throwing, and arm wrestling kept this 5 minute concert from reaching pure nirvana, it was awfully splendid considering.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tales of a Substitute Teacher: VALENTINE HIGH

I kept thinking, "Ted."
water, please.
Perhaps my least favorite type of cookie... what they lack in taste, they make up for in looks.
I was excited to substitute teach  on Friday, February 14th because I knew that the Coral Springs High campus would be rich, not only with chocolates, but also with Valentines Day eye candy. While elementary age kids swap cards, middle and high school students raid Walgreens, CVS, and Publix for commercial sentiments such as balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, cookies, and sweets.

75 minutes of fresh air is a rarity during a teacher's day
Festive KD 6 Christmas Nikes
As far as substitute teaching went, a triple threat hampered quality work. First, the parade of hearty hoopla and flow of sugary products made for constant distraction. Second, a 75-minute evacuation due to a suspicious phone call took us (roughly 2,000 people) to the football field where we sat in the bleachers and practiced our wave on a glorious sunny day. Third, it was Friday and somehow Friday afternoons are confused with Saturdays.