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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lack of Planning...

Whoever said: "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" wasn’t a substitute teacher. Lacking or getting the plan last minute certainly DOES constitute an emergency on my part.

Arriving for my classroom assignment, I have exactly 30min before class to go over the plan for the day, locate all the materials indicated and try to make sure I know when the recess, lunch , dismissal important stuff is supposed to be happening.

This class assignment was arranged more than two weeks ago, so I wasn’t expecting the teacher to be in the room hacking away on his computer when I arrived.

“I’m just finishing up your lesson plan for today. Just a couple more minutes…”

I’m polite and say: “Sure no problem…” but quietly, I AM concerned. Last minute plans even if nicely data processed aren’t going to be checked for accuracy and that’s guaranteed to cause an emergency problem for me.

The “couple more minutes” actually lasted more like “all the minutes”.

He printed off the plan and got it to me about two minutes before the first students hit the door. As a result, I messed up the very first student assignment after the roll was taken.

xx:xxam “Handout worksheets for Mountain Math & Mountain Language. The kids know what to do”

I dutifully handed out worksheets and the kids started working on them.

Then hands started rising and I was informed that they had already had these two worksheets yesterday. That’s when I checked page two of the plan and found:

“Before the students enter the room, please turn over the colorful cards on the wall”.

Not knowing that “colorful cards” was part of the “Mountains” assignment and not having advance time to figure out exactly what “colorful cards on the wall” was all about, I of course lost about 15mins of class time flipping the f-ing cards and having the kids erase the part of the worksheets they had partially filled out.

xx:xxam “State capitols test”

Before handing out the test papers, I checked farther down the plan where I found a last minute note

“also, have D. roll up the United States rug with all the capitols listed before handing out the test”.

I’m beginning to catch on quick to this stream of conscious lesson plan format.

The day progresses and we have a break a few minutes before dismissal. I ask the kids if they had ever had a sub in this class before me. They inform me that I was the first one for a whole day. The last sub was only in to cover for an hour.

I met with the teacher after school and went over some of the disconnects I had with the lesson plan. He profusely apologized numerous times for the last minute planning and some of the not so clear plan directions. Evidentially, I was his first “real” substitute.

I’m sure this experience will benefit the next substitute in his class.

It might even be ME!...


Anonymous said...

I can totally feel your pain on this one. Very accurate assessment of our under-prepared brethren. I would like to make it known, however, that I carefully type out and color-code folders and lesson plans to make things crystal clear to my subs (unless it's an emergency oh-my-God-I-didn't-realize-my-arm-was-going -to-fall-of scenario).

Still, they cannot find the blue folder underneath the directions sometimes.

I wish all subs were so conscientious as you.

Fred said...

I've scheduled a sub for next week. After reading this, I'll make sure I'm clear when I write my lesson plan.

You must be a very patient person.