Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Parent Trap

I don't know if there were this many kids getting picked up from school everyday when I was a kid and I just didn't notice cause I was a bus kid but every elementary school I sub at there are a ton of parents waiting outside the school to pick up their kids and we have to walk them outside and make sure they get to someone who can legally pick them up. Especially the preschoolers... I don't think presschoolers are allowed to ride school buses.

Anyway where I was going with this is it's super awkward and weird to have to deal with parents when you're a sub. I barely know the kids' names and I don't know much about them I just met them today. Then when a parent comes and asks me how their kid's day was it's usually the bad kids' parents who ask that so I have to actually remember each bad thing the kid did during that day which is a lot of work when you have a class of about 20 kids you barely know.

Yesterday I had a parent basically have a mini parent teacher conference with me, telling me she's ex-air force and that her daughter is too advanced for the class she's in and she talks too much cause the work isn't challenging her and I'm just like ok... but have this conversation with her regular teacher.

 I also had one kid who's adjusting to new medication I guess. I asked him to stop making noise in the hallway and told him to either stop or he could go to the office. He decided to he wanted to continue what he was doing and walked off to the office. Since I don't know for sure if a kid makes it to the office, whenever a child leaves a room I'm in charge of unattended I call to the office to have someone find them so they're not unaccounted for. I tried to call down to the office when this happened but I couldn't get through while they were about to use the PA system to do the afternoon announcements. This child's mother was in the building and walked into the classroom and asked me why her son was out in the halls and I told her. But like I said it was a weird conversation to have to explain to her why her child walked off unsupervised. Then she started going into detail about his medication situations...

It's not even that I don't care I actually do care about all my kids even the ones I never see again, it's just that I have no say, authority, or bearing on what happens in your child's class after I leave.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

edTPA Flashback

I was sitting in the teacher's lounge eating lunch while I was subbing a few days ago and I overheard a meeting that was taking place. Then I realized it was a meeting with a student teacher and a mentor teacher. It seriously flashed me back, especially when I heard that dreaded word... edTPA. For you non-teachers the edTPA is a teacher certification exam that requires lesson plans, videos and ends up being about 60-70 pages after all of the questions are answered. And I can only speak for this state but it costs $300 to take it as well... it took me about 8 months to finish it. Sitting there overhearing this conversation flashed me back to sitting at a table across from my own mentor teacher as an undergrad student teacher having my work evaluated... just. one. year ago. It's just insane to think a year ago I was so stressed as a student teacher and now I'm working on my master's. It's an interesting feeling I'm starting to ramble because I can't even describe it.

Pick and Choose

Today's rant is about job placements when subbing in the district I work for.

For those of you who don't know, when you're a substitute (speaking only for the districts I've worked in) there are a few ways to choose your job assignment for the day.

  1. You go on a website where teachers can post their absent days. It lists the teacher's name, the grade level or subject, what school it's at, contact info for the school, and the teacher can attach their email address, attachments, or a note for the sub.
  2. The website can call you with an automated message giving you most of the info listed above and you can choose to accept or decline the job by pressing buttons on the phone.
So lately... and pretty much since I've started in this district they seem to put me in whatever spot is open when I get to the school rather than giving me the assignment I've chosen and it's really f*$%ing frustrating. And I conveniently keep ending up in special ed classrooms. I have nothing against special ed classrooms or children but it's not my department and I really don't prefer to sub there very often. If I wanted to do special ed I'd pick it and I'd mentally prepare for it. Last week I was supposed to be a 3rd grade teacher and ended up a gym teacher in the morning and a special ed teacher assistant in the afternoon.

My point is they should put subs in the jobs they chose not just whoever get to the building first put them in an empty spot.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Young Forever

It's super awkward being a young and young looking substitute teacher. I constantly have teachers mistake me for a student particularly in high school. High school I can understand, I only graduated from there about 6 years ago, I'm short and shorter than some high schoolers, and I'm sure I look pretty young. Looking young will be cool at some point but its really awkward when I walk into a classroom as a sub for a TA and the main teacher tells me to "grab a packet and take a seat." Shaking my head. Sidenote, it's October... that teacher should know her students enough to know I'm not one of them by now. She also asked a different girl that day if she was new to her class and she said no which again tells me that teacher doesn't know her students well.

One time I my old high school English teacher asked me to sub for her. When I walked into the English office another English teacher proceeded to yell at me and tell me that students weren't allowed in the office and ask me what I was doing there.

This week I was subbing at an elementary school and I had a sixth grader and a first grader ask me if I was a grown up... a grown up!! Do I look so young that even kids can't tell if I'm an adult? Does that fact that I'm telling them what to do not tip them off?

This really isn't a rant or even a complaint it's just really awkward and kind of embarrassing sometimes to not be looked at as an adult.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Teachers vs. Students

Yes I'm about to rant again...

This time its about teachers that engage in arguing with students

I don't argue with students. I'm a grown woman and I don't waste my time arguing with children. First of all if a student is talking back and arguing with you in the first place there's a problem with the level of respect in the room. Secondly a child's mind is not on the same level as yours, you're an adult you need to set a child straight calmly and let them know who is in charge.

I was subbing in a fifth grade classroom once, p.m. half day so the teacher was still in the room when I got there and when I walked in the room she was arguing with a little girl. She was speaking SO disrespectfully to this teacher and the teacher was arguing back instead of taking control of the situation and I was just standing there like... where am I?? She warned me about her disrespectful kids on her way out. The minute she left the room I let them kids know immediately I was NOT the one and they would speak to me like they have some sense or they would be sent to the principal's office. There were a few kids who still tried it but they were sent out like I said... I also don't make empty threats to kids because they pick up on that stuff and eventually know you won't do anything when they act up. Most of the kids were in line for the rest of the day.

My point is why argue with a child? I don't have the time. I tell the kids I'm subbing for all the time if they try to start with me "Sorry, I don't argue with children" and the conversation is over. I'm in charge and whatever I said goes there's no debate about it. If you have something to contribute about how things are usually done in your class you can raise your hand and tell it to me nicely but don't try to tell me I have to do it how your teacher does.

Special Ed/Special Teacher

Lately when I talk to people about wanting to become a teacher a surprising amount of people go "So when are you adding special ed.? That's where all the money is." I'm just like "uhhh yea no". A special ed. teacher I talked to about this told me they only make a small percentage more than the regular teachers and even so, everybody knows teachers are grossly underpaid and you don't go into teaching for the money! My current certification is birth through grade 2, and I'm working on adding literacy birth through grade 6. Everyone always was telling me I'd never find a job if I didn't make myself more marketable and at least add up to grade 6. So I decided I would add up to grade 6 even though I prefer to deal with younger children, I convinced myself that having the grade 6 certification would at least get my foot in the door and hopefully I could work with younger children anyway. But as far as special ed.? Not gunna do it. It's not that I don't think children in special ed. are deserving of my time or that they are less than or anything. I just feel that special education deserves a certain kind of teacher, a teacher that has the passion and patience to tend to children with special needs. I know that I am not that teacher and if I was to become a special education teacher I would be miserable and the children would suffer because of it. You always see those teachers who you know should not be teachers... I don't want that to be me.

Bathroom Blunders

Ok I'm about to rant real quick

Am I the only teacher who knocks on a closed bathroom door before I walk into it??! I was subbing in a school the other day and the door wouldn't close the right way. The first two times I used the bathroom I was able to push the door closed enough to where I got the lock to lock. No one knocked or tried to come in. The third time I went to use the bathroom I couldn't get the door to shut enough to lock it, it was the end of the day, the kids were gone and I had to pee again before I left. Of course this was the time another teacher needed to use the bathroom, but did she knock? Nope just walked on in and said "oops sorry!" I'd rather hear a knock on the door rather than an oops after the fact. It's just common courtesy for anyone to knock on a bathroom door before just walking in.

My other issue occurred when I was on the other side of the bathroom door. I needed to use the restroom. The faculty restrooms are locked, I had a key but before I used it I knocked on the door several times and waited to listen for an answer. When I didn't hear one I started to use the key to open the door. The lock was difficult and I was struggling with it, then I hear "hold on a minute!" I'm just sitting here like... b***h... no you didn't just cop and attitude with me. You were given ample warning that someone was trying to come into the bathroom and you chose to remain silent. Don't get buck when I start to come in open your mouth or give some sort of indication that you're inside.

Alright rant over. But my point is I feel like there's 
certain bathroom protocols people should follow.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Worst Nightmare

So I consider myself an early childhood educator. I'm good at dealing with younger children and I have a lot more patience and tolerance for little kids. I don't really know how to deal with high school kids so much. Mostly in the sense of discipline and keeping them in line. With little kids the "I'll call your mommy" still works or when you try to confiscate something they still give it to you.

The thing that irks me the most with high schoolers is everything is about being cool and "frontin' on somebody" or embarrassing the teacher or whoever you can and most of all proving how little you care about any and everything.

As much as I feel like I can't handle high school kids, I accepted a substitute teaching position for a day at a high school... for emotionally disturbed children with behavioral problems... If I could show you the face I was making inside my head when I realized that's where I was. When I accepted the position it didn't have a grade level on it and the name of the school didn't give way to the fact that it was a high school.

When I tell you it was slightly not as bad as my worst fears... yet really it almost was. I was a teacher assistant and the main teacher told me she had a few of her worst kids suspended at the moment so I guess I lucked out?

The kids that I was there with were pretty bad too. This one kid was high out of his mind and eating the whole day, talking back and disrespectful as hell. The teachers couldn't get the kids to put away their phones or take out their headphones. This one girl actually did her work... then when she started playing music on the laptop she was privileged to use and the teacher was asking her to turn it off so he could continue with class... she tore up her completed work and threw it in the teacher's face. Then there was a girl who walked in and looked like she was older than me! Apparently almost 19 and not even close to graduating.

And lastly the kids were being basically spoonfed the answers for their work and just don't do it because they don't want to. The teacher was giving a test and to study she gave the kids a study sheet which was the test but she took the word test off the top. Then when they came to class the day of the test she gave them time to study again and they were still too lazy to want to do the test. Shaking my head.

I understand having emotional and behavioral problems means that their behavior isn't 100% attributed to laziness but... it was a rough day I'll just say that.