Respect is Expected from Teachers, Also! — We Were Meant to be Teachers!

I’ve shared this post from J. Jenkins earlier this year but I believe it’s worth re-posting. Why? Because I’ve heard teachers hollering at their students again! We hear even today of a teacher who has “lost it” and berates a student in front of his/her peers and gets featured on local TV. Is there a […]

via Respect is Expected from Teachers, Also! — We Were Meant to be Teachers!

This is why I’ve made it a habit when I feel myself getting to the “blow-up” point of stepping back, closing my eyes and taking several deep breaths before speaking and when I speak I do so in a purposely quiet voice. It keeps me from yelling and it also is a great clue to my students that my frustration level is high and it’s time to stop whatever it is they’re doing. I’ll often hear the students as my eyes are closed say to one another “guys shhh she’s mad.” Some students don’t know what respect is and what it should look like as they don’t see it at home so they need us to model it for them. This is not to say I never lose my top and yell at students or my own child but I will step back and apologize afterwards for losing my temper and explain what led to that level of frustration. It’s just part of a teacher’s job.

 

My stress level is through the roof right now

We’re getting ready to move, and it was a sudden thing so I’m trying to get all of the utility and insurance stuff worked out in my small amounts of plan time.  There is all school computerized testing occurring in my district right now, in my building that means I’m traveling to classrooms while teachers use my room/computer lab for the testing.  This wouldn’t be so bad except there are almost daily changes to the testing schedule due to teachers not checking their plan books when they sign up for testing.  I then have to notify grade levels every day of the changes meaning some of them have to move their PLC meetings, some have to find somewhere else to get their planning done, and I have to let the others specials teachers know bc the music teacher has to adjust her lessons as we share a wall and she has to keep her classes quiet during testing.  The PE teachers have to know where to meet me between our classes.  I’m just worn out, my shoulders are tight from stress, and I feel like screaming or tearing my hair out.  I know none of this is done on purpose but it’s still so incredibly frustrating.  One more week of testing hopefully it will go better than this week but we’ll see.

One of my biggest pet peeves

I’ve faced this more times than I can count in the past few weeks alone.  I e-mail others to let them know of a change in schedule that effects them and not only get no response which I realize has become standard though it would be nice, students/classes show up when I can’t work with them or in a place where I am not.

It’s just so frustrating when I make a point of letting people know of the change and they don’t acknowledge the change or write it down or something.  I understand when it’s a last minute change but when I let you know a week in advance please pay attention to that.

I know in the past I have been guilty of this myself so I try to be extra diligent about letting others know about changes and making sure I note changes in my plan book.

My maternity leave sub experience

So when I was pregnant with my son I was teaching a small rural district.  Up until that point I had taught in larger districts and maternity leaves were covered by certified teachers often new teachers, retired teachers, teachers returning to the workforce after having children and getting them off to school.  In my small district and I would guess most small districts maternity subs are any substitute the district can get, sometimes certified but more often not.  This year in my building several teachers have gone on maternity leave (I think it may be in the water, yeah I’m bringing my water from home LOL) the sub shadows the teacher for a day or two then takes over and they do all the planning for the time they sub.  When the teacher comes back they shadow their sub for a day or two then take over again.  Oh how different life is in a small district.  

My principal had me prepare for the sub, I wrote out an entire 8 weeks of lesson plans for the sub, at the time I was teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade communication arts, mass media, and storytelling.  The sub came in to meet me and see the plans, she was not comfortable with what I had and asked me to go ahead and make copies of the worksheets and other things needed for the plans.  So I spent several days making 8 weeks worth of copies and organizing them neatly in file drawers.  The sub cancelled on us, she was just not prepared to work with middle schoolers.  Now I give her credit, I’d rather she not take on my classes if she thinks she’s not up to the job, but we were a bit worried at this point.

Then my principal found someone we thought would be perfect.  My new sub had taught college English classes, I was excited, this was someone who I knew could teach the material and work with the students.  With all the preparations made I went on leave confident that things would go well.  Yeah well…

When I returned from leave I came back for a half day to see what had been happening while I was gone, catch up to where they were and get ready to take over again.  When my sub saw me he thought I was back and got up to leave, I had to tell him no I was only there to see what was what.  My principal called me in and told me I’d need to go in and get control of my room again as the sub had let things get kind of lax.  Now at first this made me rather angry because the principal had not stepped in however I got over that and was glad he hadn’t because that could have easily undermined my authority in the classroom.  Right after I got back progress reports were due.  I began to calculate scores to find that there were students who had only two grades for the quarter so far when there should have been 12-15.  I looked everywhere for work that wasn’t graded yet.  Nothing.  I asked the students if they had gotten work back.  NOPE.  Apparently the sub had told the kids that I just left them busy work, and yes I know kids exaggerate but I heard the same stories from all of my students so I believed them.  Work was not handed back, not required to be turned in, parents were not notified of missing work.  I had to type up a letter to go home with all of my students explaining that their grade may rapidly change as I was calculating grades based solely on what I had proof of as there was no graded work and no stack of work to grade. I think he must have just been throwing assignments away.

I tried e-mailing the sub, to ask about the missing work, no answer but he did reply to the students who e-mailed him.  I was livid, but it was a challenge I faced and then felt more confident in my teaching abilities after that point.  I got control of my classroom again there was no more playing, no more hackey sack, no more songs not appropriate for school, and yeah the kids were upset but they got over it.

I tell this story not because I’m upset over it, though I was at the time.  I have learned from it.  I learned to write plans better, I learned to better prepare my students for subs, I learned to check in if I’m out more than a day or two.  I learned that I am strong enough to take back a class that has gone into the party zone for weeks and weeks.  I learned to appreciate even more the experienced subs that I have had since then.  It also helped me to appreciate even more the advantages and privileges that sometimes come with a large district like certified subs.

How about you?  What’s your best or worst sub story?