Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Have Triumphed!

Okay, so some of you may have read the post I wrote about my very first day as a substitute teacher. While it didn't necessarily go badly, I didn't truly feel that it had gone well, and I was unreasonably disappointed with myself over it.  But this week I had the chance to redeem myself!  I had an assignment on Thursday to sub at the same school for another of my DH's colleagues in the science department.  I knew beforehand that each class would be watching videos.  I had mixed feelings about this, since I didn't know how well they would behave or if they would pay attention.  I was relieved to see that this teacher left me detailed instructions on class procedures (like using the restroom, etc) and she left a seating chart.  I heart Ms. B!  That seating chart made a world of difference. It's a lot easier to get their attention and let them know you mean business when you "magically" know their names.  And I was able to start the class off in a firm manner and let them know that I was the boss by making them sit in their assigned seats.  They didn't know I had a seating chart and were again "amazed" by how I knew where they were supposed to be sitting.  That seating chart made it so much easier to learn their names to!  And this time I was able to be assertive and actually speak loudly enough to be well-heard.  I was on a roll! 

When I got to the classroom and went over the notes for the day, I was very glad to see that the teacher had provided worksheets for the students to complete as they watched the video.  It was a great way to force them to pay attention to the video and for me to have a legitimate reason to make them keep quiet.  After all, they had to watch the video in order to answer all those questions!  The physics class in particular had a quite lengthy questionnaire to complete.  This was no joke, to be sure.  The video they watched was actually pretty interesting too.  It was called Einstein's Big Idea, and it was way better than any boring documentary-type stuff we ever watched in school.  I was amazed at how well they all behaved.  There was plenty of "let's see if we can fool the sub" action going on in the first class, (and I had been warned repeatedly by other teachers that this class was the worst of the day) but it was easy to see they were just trying to have fun and weren't being malicious in any way.  With the exception of two students who refused to stop talking despite many warnings and who I eventually had to separate, the class went incredibly well in my opinion. The rest of the classes were the same.  It was such a relief!  Now I can feel that my first experience was not due to a failing in myself.  I don't completely suck at subbing! 

While I was there for that sub assignment, one of the other science teachers came over to my room to ask if I was available the next day, so I ended up with two jobs in a row!  The first and last classes were to watch the movie Osmosis Jones, and the middle class was to take a test and then start on the lab write-ups for the lab they had done the day before.  Mr. M told me that they didn't have to watch the movie if they didn't want to, so long as if they chose to talk they kept the volume down enough to not disturb anyone else who did want to watch the movie.  I amended these instructions when I got to class that morning, as I felt letting them know they could talk would just be asking for trouble.  I knew I'd spend the entire day doing volume control.  They didn't have to answer any questions about the movie, and it was definitley just something to keep them occupied while he was out for the day.  I instead told them they could study or work on homework for another class, or sleep, if they didn't want to watch the movie, and that they only thing they HAD to do was be quiet.  And miraculously nobody had any problems with this at all.  Almost all of them watched the movie (and enjoyed it - it seems to be a favorite among high school students) and not ONCE did I have to ask anyone to be quiet.  Even the class that worked on their lab write-ups after their testing worked quietly with only whispers among lab partners.  I was amazed.  It was great to finish these assignments, and the week, on a positive note. 


  1. Congratulations! See, it turned out to be so easy, and here you were, all worried about it. I knew you would be fine.

  2. Fantastic! That's absolutely wonderful, and you're getting settled in so quickly!

  3. Yay for the substitute teacher! I loved when we had subs and got to watch movies. We talked through them but quietly of course.

  4. Marvin - I have to admit, I was surprised at how well I slipped into Boss Mode this time.

    Spleeness - It was certainly much different than the first time!

    Jen - I did too. That Osmosis Jones movie was really cool. I'm disappointed that I didn't get to see the ending since class wasn't quite long enough.

  5. It looks like you hit your stride pretty quickly!

    I hate when a video is left, but they don't have to answer questions or even write a summary because it's harder for them to take it seriously.

    Have you been subbing much since then?