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Monday, February 04, 2013

Fifteen Subs...



When I started subbing, I took pretty much took any assignment that was offered. After all, the school district paid the same daily rate for all schools and any grade levels. School district officials like to pretend that everything is equal but reality is quite different.

Some schools have no problems filling substitute positions while others go begging for anyone willing to show up for an assignment. The reason for this disparity pretty much comes down to one reason.

School culture at some schools is very low on classroom behavior. It's mentally exhausting trying to accomplish anything on a lesson plan.

Three or four of the eighteen in this district keep me regularly busy enough to avoid an expected disaster elsewhere. Substitute teacher daily pay should be a sliding scale based on the degree of difficulty to remain sane by the end of the day.

That said, after 9+ years subbing, every now and again, I get curious to see if anything has changed around the district.

Last Wednesday night I saw three online postings for roving substitutes at a notoriously poor performing school in the district. This school is at the top of my scale for the stress inflicted. That alone is usually be enough for me to pass on it, but this assignment is only four hours instead of the usual six.

Half-day assignments are listed as 3.5 hrs. Anything over is considered a "full day". This meant that today would be a shorter day with full pay and probably not too much time in any single classroom.

Starting this year, the school changed from a standard subjects-based curriculum to a new projects-based curriculum. All but six of last year's teachers had been rotated out to other schools and replaced with high achieving, volunteer teachers from other parts of the district. The incoming teachers had to apply, interview and train for each position.

I was curious to see if the changes made any difference on my current negative bias.

Thursday morning was a mad house checking in at the school office. There were 15 subs checking in that morning. Each of us were called in as "roving subs" to cover two hours for two teachers spread over all grade levels that day.  The regular teachers were in training seminars for the new teaching curriculum.

I had one 3rd grade assignment and one Kinder assignment to re-evaluate this current working environment.

At the end of the day, as the mob of substitutes were leaving the building, the ones I talked with were all pretty much in agreement about classroom behavior.

They still don't pay us enough to work here.

2 comments:

The Bus Driver said...

I can completely sympathize with that! When I used to sub, there were certain schools/classrooms that i found difficult to sub in because the kids behavior was purely heinous!!! However, even with the heinous behavior, every now and again I would get put in these harder assignments because I found that i COULD handle them. Assignments such as ISS, behavioral problem classrooms, and other harder to manage issues became my specialty because I ended up having a good way of dealing with the kids and relating to them. The schools found out that I didnt mind being in some of the harder assignments and it was a break from the subs who couldnt handle the kids and who would call the office if a kid dropped a tissue on the ground.

WeHelp2Learn said...

Like you, Bus Driver, I have tried to "take on" the difficult assignments. Sometimes the "difficult" are a breeze and joyous (surprisingly). Sometimes those assignments I anticipate to be easy are very trying with mucho behavior challenges! Those wiggle worms! I do, indeed, find certain schools have a ton of sub assignment listings. One Middle School has a bunch. However, my one experience with them was the WORST STUDENTS I have had to date (I'm a first year sub). Their desire to learn in 60 percent of the class seemed missing this day. I know their regular teacher was on her 5th day out: NO LESSON PLAN was present. I called the principal's office, who arranged (LATER by almost end-of-[day) to have plans sent over by a poor, stressed out additional teacher. I felt bad for the kids who were good, and wanted to learn. I wrote a lesson plan for tomorrow's teacher, wrote the next day's plan on the board, cleaned up and left a list of the worst offenders for the principal (he said to do this via his secretary). Yes it was that bad. All-in-all, I enjoyed the challenge. I got to learn how to think on my feet, I learned what it's like to be in a classroom where teacher is gone a few days (diff't sub each day), and I think I learned some of the things not to do, also. If I go there again--It will need to be a fun activity or something. These kids have some issues--perhaps with each other, with home, with their city? God Bless them.