Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dear Substitute

I was absent from school last week because I had surgery. AND
I've mentioned that a couple of times. I usually don't miss work. I
could have gone, except for the day of the actual surgery. It's not
like my job is physically demanding. I don't dig ditches, or hang
drywall, or rope steers, or carry shingles up to the roof, or unload
the turnip truck, or fasten steel beams on the tops of skyscrapers.
I sit in a classroom. But the administration kind of frowns on sitting
in a classroom with a fresh incision held together by tape, while
under the influence of hydrocodone (or fake vicodin, as I like to
call it). Sweet, sweet, hydrocodone. Oops! My inner Homer
Simpson is trying to get out.

So...the school hired a substitute for the week. We only have
5 on our list. I think that is for three buildings to share. I know
for sure that my two buildings share those 5. Anyhoo, I was
none to happy to hear some tales my students told me. I know,
you can't always believe what kids say. And I know, if I don't
like it, I should have been there myself. Hey! Simmer down.
I've had perfect attendance for 3 years. Not this year. I need
to write a little letter to my substitute. The sub will never read
it, but I will feel better for writing it.


Dear Substitute:
Please read my list of DO-NOTS for the next time you might sub.

Hillbilly Mom's List of DO-NOTS for SUBSTITUTES

DO NOT take the students outside for a walk.
What if there was an emergency? We had drills all week. Did
you notify the office where the class would be? I think not, or
else you wouldn't have instructed the students not to tell me.

DO NOT bring a movie to show to 6th graders.
All videos/movies in this building are to be approved in advance
by the administration. There is even a form to fill out.

DO NOT let the students write/draw/play hangman on the board.
There is a reason the chalk and dry-erase markers are kept in my
desk. They are for TEACHER use only. I do not want the extra
chalk dust, waste of chalk, extra work for custodians, sayings
such as "Hunky McHunkerson is so HOT!", don't written in front
of the instructions I have left on the board, or any other nonsense
just because you let the kids play around.

DO NOT refuse to follow the plans that I left.
Sometimes a few kids work slower. I read to the ones who are
done. I left 3 books that we had been reading in the middle
school classes. When my students asked you to read from
them, why did you tell them, "I'm not reading anything"? So
they could write on the board?

DO NOT give away my pencils.
I have to buy them. Students will bring their own if you give
tardies to go back to the locker and get one. "Loaning" is the
same as "giving" if the pencils are not returned. If I gave away
6 pencils every week, that is 216 pencils for the year.

DO NOT rearrange my classroom furniture.
You were here 1 week. I have been here 262 weeks. There is a
reason my rooms are set up like this.

DO NOT let my students move the posters on the walls.
What were you thinking? That the students are in charge?

DO NOT go through my desk.
The things you need are in plain sight. There is no reason for
you to go through the papers/money under my pencil tray, or
to read through my pocket calendar.

DO NOT write on my "Pink Pet" eraser to use it as a hall pass.
The students told you where the hall passes were located. Why
did you say, "We're doing it this way"?

DO NOT tell the students not to tell me what you did.
That is the first thing they do. If you are old enough to substitute,
you are old enough to be the one in charge. You are not buddies
with the students. Act like an adult.

DO NOT tell the students I am absent because I had surgery.
Five people in the entire school district knew this. Four had no
reason to talk to you. It is confidential information. If I wanted
the students to know, I would have told them myself. If an
administrator tells you why you are needed for a week, it is
not necessary to provide that information to the students.

I know you do not have a teaching degree and years of experience.
But if plans are left telling you what to do, DO IT! These kids are
in my class because they have failed. They do not turn in work.
The purpose of my class is to give them help if they need it, and
make sure they do the work. That is why I said they should have
something to do, and to give them the math practice worksheets
if they didn't. Of course they will tell you they don't have work!
Try handing them a math worksheet, and see how fast they
remember an assignment that they need to do! But if you take
them outside and let them draw on the board and show movies
and who knows what else, of course they are going to say they
have no work! How many math worksheets did I see were given
out? NONE! Hmm...

My favorite sub was already booked for that week. He would
be turning over in his grave if he heard what went on in my
class. Well, that is, IF he was dead, which he isn't. Teachers
do not choose the subs. We can ask, but they don't always
listen. I am glad that there were no problems. You really don't
have problems when you let the kids do what they want. I am
sorry that my students spent one full week doing absolutely
nothing of educational value. Next time, I will ask for someone


Blogger MamaKBear said...

That's like when I worked at a daycare..coming in after someone else had been in my classroom..I had to put everything back where I wanted it, get the kids back on schedule, etc...


9:37 PM  
Blogger jules said...

The sub moved your furniture around? OMG You should take the kids on a "field trip" to the subs house and rearrange the furniture there, let them write on the walls, etc.

6:24 AM  
Blogger MrsCoach2U said...

Did the sub sell them crack too? Seems like that was about all they left undone?

8:08 AM  
Blogger Rachy said...

you're going to need more surgery for a hernia after that, or get a semipermanent substitute for when you go to prison for killing that wench. Crikey, even my blood pressure rose after reading this post!

8:28 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

Ok I am having major flashbacks to my days of teaching high school students-you must be some kind of saint for working with middle grade students!

The sub I loved to rip on the most loved to take each of her classes outside and play jump rope. With high school students. She did this with every class she ever subbed-teachers always compare notes, as you know. It didn't matter that there were important lesson plans waiting on my desk that needed to be done that day. She would tell my classes that she didn't feel like doing those lessons, and it was important that they get exercise.

I had some exercises I could show her, however they involved kicking her butt out of my classroom!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Chickadee said...

Good grief!! If you can't control the class, you shouldn't be teaching! I hope you complain to the higher powers that be at your school. That sub needs a paper trail that will lead to a pink slip.


10:30 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I can't believe this.

I am a sub. I haven't this year, because the system isn't allowing subs (that's a whole DIFFERENT story). There is no way I would have done what this person did.

When I sub, the first thing I do is make EVERY student sign in by row so that I may actually have a smidge of a clue who they are (I leave these for the teacher). If they finish the work left for them, I like ALOT of options so leaves reams of work, then I FIND something for them to do.

What a dufus.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

You can always tell when someone else has been there, the minute you walk in. All week my kids have been asking if I'm going to show them a movie. Uh..let me think about that a minute...NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I like that idea. I really like it.

Hmm...the kids haven't been asking me for crack, so I guess the sub ran out of time for that.

I did move it back, which I figured out was not such a good post-surgery choice after trying to push my 50 year old carved-up wooden desk. Prison. Food, medical care, a job, TV, books, nobody whining for me to find the stuff they've misplaced... Sounds good, except I'd miss my children. I've grown kind of fond of them. The HH? I could get conjugal visits.

Jump rope for high school? Was she on THE CRACK? I had a sub tell a kid he needed to get a joint one time. That's long enough for a whole post. I'm saving it. Thanks for the idea.
Middle school kids are an acquired taste. I used to prefer them. Now they annoy me. The only good thing is that I have small classes, and the same kids every year.

I think they would keep her, since that would only leave us with 4 subs. As long as no one gets hurt, they don't really seem to care.

I love that signing in idea. A lot of times they think they can get away with stuff if you don't know their names.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Exactly why I do it. And once they figure out why I'm doing it and that I'm going to leave it for the teacher they usually make sure to change any "accidental" errors.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Fraulein N said...

Wow, that sounds somethimg like the subs we used to have. Now that I think about it, that was maybe not so much fun for the regular teacher when she got back.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Penny Halston said...

The major reason I drag my sick butt into school is because it's easier than spending the hour writing up detailed lesson plans. Woe to the sub that failed to follow instructions I agonized over. You NEED NEW SUBS! No wonder your attendance record is so good. Middle school? Hats off to you. I'd rather chew off my right arm.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Greek Shadow said...

Our district is short on subs so we usually have to cover for other teachers. I usually have them come to my room, but I always leave a note on the door telling them where they are in case a student needs to be reached. My pet peeve is when the teacher doesn't leave lesson plans. In twenty four years I have never taken a day off where I didn't leave three times as much work as time allows. Glad to know you actually want the sub to teach instead of be a caretaker.

8:44 PM  

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