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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Three classes at two schools in one day?
That was not the intent when I took a half-day 4th grade assignment yesterday.

When I started substituting nine years ago, I took any assignment at any grade level. Over time, I gradually discovered which schools and which teachers seem to have better control on the classroom environment. By "classroom environment", I mean classroom discipline. By classroom discipline, I mean the general behavior of students. My experience with this particular school has rarely been positive.  Nevertheless, every so often, I will take an assignment just to see if my bias should remain unchanged.

That the assignment was for a half day helped sway my decision to take it. If the class was as I expected, I'd be out of there before lunch and not have to endure another three hours.

Let's just say that my bias is still validated for at least another year. The teacher arrived at 11:30am to take over. I was honest with him and he wasn't surprised. He's having much the same control issues with this class.

As I was checking out, the district office called to see if I could take an afternoon assignment in P.E. at the middle school. Since it was on my way home and I hadn't had any assignments at the middle school all year, I agreed. 

It was not much of an assignment as all I had to do was take roll call for 5th period, hand out locker assignments and P.E. schedules. The P.E. teacher unexpectedly returned for his 6th period class.

After three hours of utter chaos with 4th graders this morning, a one hour assignment was just what I needed to balance out what started out to be a pretty crappy day. That was until I went back to the office to check out.  

There, the office decided to have me take over the combined 7th & 8th grade ELD (English Language Development) class for the last period of the day.  

I'm not sure what qualifies a student to be dumped into ELD as I could identify only two actual students that were not fluent with the English language. The other seventeen seemed completely fluent as they demonstrated by doing nothing but complain in colorful English the whole 50mins.  

Adding ELD classes to my "not preferred any time soon" list.



Anonymous said...

I worked in the corporate world for 20 years, subbed for 2 years then became a teacher for the first time this year. I have three classes that are good (nice, well disciplined kids) and three that are utter chaos. Do you have any advice for getting them under control? I don't understand how I can do the same thing for all classes, and it only works for 50% of them. At my wits end..almost!
They are 9th graders.

Nate Lee said...

Sounds like you had on tough yet interesting day. I used to sub two years back and initially had discipline problems with the students, especially 5th and 6th graders for some reason. I remember having to take a 6th assignment half day, and then music the 2nd half. Boy was it a challenging day to say the least. Music was never really one of my strong points.