Friday, November 5, 2010

Stuff Teachers Like #5- Subs Who Follow a Lesson Plan

This week is “Stuff Teacher’s Like” week on Teaching Underground.  We know the idea is “borrowed” from several other sites that have perfected the “Stuff____Like” model, but we haven’t seen anything out there from teachers.  So, in no particular order, here it is.

Subbing is hard work.  I used to hate being a sub in elementary schools.  Elementary teachers do such a great job of establishing routine, and no matter how good their plans are, the can’t write every detail of the routine.  And for children under twelve, the slightest deviation from routine spells disaster.  I don’t want to bash subs; I know how tough it can be, but…

It is far more difficult to miss a day of work than it is to show up when you are a teacher.  Creating plans to engage students is tough; creating plans for someone else to engage students is tougher.  Usually, I try to leave something we would be doing in class already that requires minimal teacher input—a video, reading assignment, self-directed practice, etc.  I try my best to 1) make the class time useful and 2) keep the class moving forward in the content area.

Sometimes a sub will judge your plans as busy work and allow students to slack, or even worse, carry out their own plan.

A few years ago, after attending an all day conference, the math teacher in the room next door came to school several minutes before the end of the day.  He peeked in my room to ask why they were watching a movie in his class.  Apparently, his sub decided that his lesson was not good enough so he showed a video on perceptions so the class could have a meaningful discussion. 

We later found out that the same sub had done this numerous times and a few students saw this video three or four times that year—instead of doing the meaningless work left by their classroom teachers.

That’s why teachers like subs who follow the lesson plan.  Any other stories about sub plans gone awry out there?

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