Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm Mean

I got my first call to substitute on Friday. Interestingly enough, it was to sub for a gym teacher...which I thought would be interesting, especially for my first time. I was quite nervous to go, not really having any idea what I was doing, but figured I would be able to make it. :)

I got to the school and am told where to go and that my syllabus is waiting for me there. I got there, looked over the days schedule, and see things I don't understand. What is Lunch Duty? Where do I go for recess? There is nothing to tell me if kids are brought to the gym, or if I'm to get them, etc. Luckily, I had plenty of time to go and find a teacher and ask her all necessary questions.

My instructions for the day were to play Extreme Pinball. Easy enough. I had classes with 5th, 6th, 2nd and 3rd graders. The first period went well...although I learned very quickly that attempting to talk over 20-30 students is not easy...especially when they are in a gym and in to a game and yelling and screaming. I wished I had a whistle. I also learned that Extreme Pinball games could sometimes end very quickly...resulting in 8 games in a period. Ugh. My throat and legs started hurting by about the 4th period. I had a kid punch another kid in the second period...didn't see it happen, just saw the crying student. And...I had no idea what to do! No one left me any instructions as to what to do if someone punched someone else! My immediate thought was that they had to go to the principal's office...but...would they go if I sent them? And I couldn't leave the gym. So, I tried to ease everything over and we resumed play.

It was 7th period when things started to get rough. 7th and 8th period were when I had the 3rd graders. Extreme Pinball requires the use of dodgeball type balls and bean bags...none of which are supposed to be thrown at people, only at pins or slid on the floor. As I was attempting to talk in between games, a student started screaming and throwing balls at the student's head that I was talking to. I said "stop." He didn't listen. I said, "Enough!" He didn't listen. Finally, I said "LISTEN! Either you stop screaming and listen to me while I am talking and stop throwing balls at people's heads, or we will stop playing and sit for the rest of the period!" That stopped him. The rest of the period went pretty well, with the exception of the same student laying on the floor in the middle of a game and not getting up until I went and told him to get up. And then, as they were cleaning up, they got stupid. Started throwing bean bags at each other's faces. I had asked them several times to clean up...stop throwing balls, get things back the way they were and they hadn't listened. When I saw them doing this I was like "Er, what?" I slapped my leg with the papers I was carrying and said "STOP! Line up now! You need to start listening" They did. (Thing is, I know they probably wouldn't have acted like that with their real teacher, but such is the joy of being a sub). They left to go to their next class and my last class passed them in the hallway. I heard one of the students say to my next class "The substitute is mean!" I had to laugh.

I told my last class that regardless of what the previous class had said, I wasn't mean, but that we couldn't throw bean bags at people's heads and we needed to listen. Things were going well, until two kids went at each other. I had to literally yank them apart. Again, I had no idea what to do. I separated them and told them they were done for the day. They really should have gotten in trouble...but I had no clue. I had to put them at opposite sides of the gym because the one kid looked as if he was going to lose it and go at the other one again if he was still in his line of sight. It was interesting. I made sure that the assistant teacher knew what happened and she passed a long the information to their teacher, so I guess I'm glad that something got done (hopefully...at least people were informed I guess).

And that was my first experience with subbing. Not awful. Just wish they would have given me a little more information so I knew what I was doing and how to address/handle situations. Oh, and a whistle. That would have been nice. :)

9 comments:

ann ominous said...

ummm....about the time the kid was laying in the middle of the floor i would have lost it. lol! you are far far far more patient than I am!

What A Card said...

Congrats on the first day! And subbing as the gym teacher is DEFINITELY the hardest. I refused to sub for gym or art (and music wasn't my favorite, either). Kids are just harder to control there!

Something to remember is that schools can't disclose to you information about childrens' IEPs due to confidentiality issues. That makes it very, very, VERY hard as a teacher, not being aware of potential issues. I subbed once in a class where one of the kids had serious emotional issues, and didn't react well to change (i.e., the change of having a sub was ROUGH). He ended up TRASHING the classroom after I told him he had to wait in line with the rest of the class (little did I know that he didn't normally have to wait in line).

Oddly enough, I later ended up as the long-term sub for the special ed aide for this boy. After such a rough beginning, we ended up getting on really well. He's still one of my favorite kids I taught!

Good luck with the subbing! You can used to stuff, and build your "tool box" of things to bring with you (i.e., go ahead and buy a whistle right now and add it to your pack! If you're in an elementary school, you also might want to bring a few books to read at downtimes or transitions. I especially like Douglas Florian's books of poetry, as they're short so I could read one or two, or five or six, depending on the time. They're also appropriate for any of the elementary grades, so it didn't matter if I had a K class or a 5th grade!)

Mama Wheaton said...

This is why I don't want to teach Elem. I would have lost my cool, while kudos to you for keeping all together.

hellosweetworld said...

Oh my. I don't know what i would've done in that situation. I would've been so nervous. At least you got through it and can blog about it. Hehe....congrats!

ann ominous said...

the thing i dont get is since when did being able to swim fast and consume 20k calories a day make you a role model you know? you're someone i admire sure...but do i want my kids or my friends kids to be like you...really probably not. not unless you're doing some community service, maintaining your college gpa etc...

Aleta said...

Whew... You made it out of that day alive and that's saying a lot. During my college years, I did a lot of substitute teaching. It's darn hard work and it's not appreciated AND the students KNOW they can get away with a lot of stuff. God bless you through this, because I really feel for you! (I stopped being a sub when I caught chicken pox from 2nd graders! Never had pox or any of those diseases when I was little - way too much stuff you can get from kids sent to school by parents who should know better!)

Donn24g said...

You are definitely a good sub--i think you handled the situation great!!! And what gym teacher doenst have a whistle? Come on!! :)

JK said...

Wow. Way to go keeping your cool. I wouldn't have been able to. That is why I teach at a college...
You will have to go get a really loud whistle for the next time!!

Yaya said...

I used to sub. It's not an easy job if they leave you little to go off of. Luckily many teachers leave you very prepared. Sorry you felt unprepared...hopefully that's not the norm!

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