I survived!

I survived my first day of substitute teaching! And my first week of graduate level classes!  WooHoo!

I survived my first week of grad school and my first day of substitute teaching!

I survived my first week of grad school and my first day of substitute teaching!

Grad School:

My grad school classes look like they will be a mixture of reading amounts and paper lengths, but they all look to be reasonable.  I think I already which my favorite class, but I have not spent enough time with the professors and the reading material to be sure.  Added in to all of this, one professor let us go early and another brought brownies… Now I have to wonder if I can be bribed!

Substitute Teaching:

I took my first substitute teaching shift today and subbed for middle school.  Once again, I was WAY too early!  The office staff wasn’t even there when I showed up!  Anyway, most of the day I taught a 6th grade social studies class.  The students were learning about geography and cultural differences.  And I covered the last half hour of a 7th grade math class since their teacher needed to leave early for a doctor’s appointment.  I think it turned out alright, all things considered.

Once I located the room where I would be teaching I started looking for the lesson plan… it was nowhere to be found because she had emailed it to her teammate teachers.  I had to wait for them to get to their rooms before I could get my hands on it.  BUT!  I did figure out her normal “warm-up” exercise for her classes from the papers she had on her desk, so I was able to do her regular warm-up with the students!  YAY! (I felt accomplished)

The students and I read aloud from their textbook and then they were supposed to answer questions based on the reading.  A couple of the classes did not want to settle down and actually do the work, so I got to experience that, too. (One class was an absolute dream!)  About half of the students wound up not being able to finish the assignment before the class time was over, but I collected what they had and placed it with the attendance sheets for each class period. (I thought it would be better to have them organized like that rather than have one giant pile of papers for the teacher to sort through when she comes back).  So I am a bit worried that I did not accomplish all that the teacher was hoping for… but all in all, I don’t think it was a bad beginning.

I did get several questions and responses that I was told to expect! Here are some of them:

But I don’t have any paper! (Out comes my binder with extra paper)

But my pen broke! (Once again, the binder makes an appearance)

Do we HAVE to write the questions? (About 10 times in each class)

I need to go to my locker/ bathroom!  (All day long)

You’re pretty today! May I go to _____?

But Mrs. ____ lets us go!

Which questions do we have to answer again?

It is clear to me, however, that I need to learn some more classroom management techniques.  I did keep walking around the classroom so that the talking would be reduced to whispers when I walked by, but I feel like I raised my voice quite a bit today.  And that’s just doing damage control, not management.


What are your favorite classroom management techniques?

Thanks for any advice!

Ms. Turner


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Paul MacLean
    Aug 15, 2013 @ 21:39:20

    Congrats! Patience is a cup. Keep it full. Be as inspirational as possible and tweak the impossible. We are so bristling with information and we are out to save the world. Middle school students are there for the here and now and have difficulty seeing the future. We will makes mistakes and learn from them. Discipline is an issue, but love them in spite of themselves.

    A technique I share with my subs is this:
    Say, “Your teacher has asked me to record the successes and good works of the class today, and any other issues that arise. Please assist me in making a great report by cooperating to the extra degree.” or something to that effect. Then actually let them see you taking notes. I have always appreciated my subs for doing this. It shows a connection between the sub and the teacher. By doing this, you insulate yourself and put the onus on the students. It is their responsibility to be productive. Never lose your cool! Follow the discipline plan and be highly familiar with protocols. You can do this with a smile and cooperative modeling. In the long run, subs are fair game because some students think they can pull a fast one. There will always be one… Don’t get yourself worked up about anything because you know a student will receive a consequence sooner or later. They will get the message. You should also have someone on the teaching team you can send a student to for a “Time Out” without it looking like a time out. Another technique is to give a person a job that will help you help them. Passing out papers, running an errand, etc… Tons of stuff!!! Call anytime if you would like to rattle it around some. That’s what we do best: Help each other!

    Foundations: Safe and Civil Schools is one place you may find info of what you seek. They basically use the CHAMPS system but entails much more. I am on the Foundations Committee at our school and I know it works when applied properly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No (Sub)Teacher Left Behind. Check with a Guidance Counsellor at one of the schools to find out what system is being used for Classroom Management. Usually, each school has a Pro Library in the Media Center so the Media Specialist will be invaluable. Like cooks, the Guidance Counsellor and Media Specialist are people to know.


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