Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Prereq: Substitute
I think it should be mandatory for teachers to substitute before they teach. It is not fair for teachers to expect exactly what to give to the students if they have not acted in the position of a substitute.

Today I was at a middle school. I was tired of high school because of the busy work given out and I wanted to try out middle school because I have not subbed at that level since moving here. But I found the same problems here as in the high schools. It is so ironic. You think of the kids that need to be babysat as being small children. But when substituting, you are able to teach the small children and can only hope to babysit the middle school and high schoolers. This has been my experience, anyway.

I realize that the teachers cannot trust substitutes to actually teach a lesson on the middle/high level. (Although the elementary school teachers do pass on their lesson plans with no issues.) But if the substitute is doing something that is just passing the time for the students it needs to be done in the right way.

1. There needs to be enough work to cover 150% of the period. The students need to have so much work to get done, to be turned in at the end of the period, that there is no "free/homework/talk/play cards/leave class/whine/whine/whine" time.
2. The work needs to be something that is taken seriously by the students. Ideally this would happen by the students knowing that their work will be taken up for a grade. Also, in a perfect world, the work would be regarded as something more than just busy work.
3. I realize that there is a delicate balance between having enough work for the capable students to keep busy and having the work not be so overwhelming for the lower performing that they give up and do not do anything at all. Yes, problem acknowledged.

I don't know. I am just rather frustrated today. I know it has to be better having your own classroom, but this substituting thing really sucks. I even brought a book to read to them. But I couldn't even do that, because it was only a 45 minute period and some students didn't finish the worksheets until the end of the class.

I know that any experiences I am having will be valuable to my future. I hope that I will learn from this how to best equip substitutes in my classroom.

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