How To Treat A Substitute Teacher


upsidedownbook_LargeI am sure there are many jokes that can be made out of the title/subject line of this post. That is not this posting.

Today, this is for the normal classroom teacher.

The next post will be for the subs! Teachers, do not fret. Not picking on you, but there are things that are forgotten in the rush with all you have to do.

TEACHERS

  1. Do not assume that the sub knows ANY of your procedures, unless you know them/they’ve been in your room before.
    1. From A to Z: lay it out. No confusion for the kids, no confusion for the sub.
    2. If you write up daily procedures ONE TIME, you have that ready to go.
    3. This is  true with Picking Up Students in the am (where they are; what row; etc)  and especially Dismissal: these procedures vary from school to school, and if a sub works more than one district, it can be confusing, and the safety of your students should not be left up to chance.
    4. If you have “special” names for something, please explain it (i.e. “Switch-a-Roo”: I had NO idea what that was, and it was only between two teachers who used it in the same grade).
  2. Don’t treat a sub like they are stupid, though.
    1. All they want are detailed lesson plans, things lined up for them to use (they don’t’ know your room, know where the copy room is, break room, etc.), and what your signals are for classroom management.
  3. Do NOT say “Just make it a Study Hall” or “Have them do independent reading” unless that IS what YOU would do during that time period.
    1. Study Hall or Independent Reading instead of actual work is futility for a substitute, and the kids normally take advantage of that fact.
  4. Have the sub collect the work you assign so the students DO SOMETHING and are held accountable for it.
    1. Telling them to do work and then allowing them the choice to finish for homework? Another disaster for the sub.
    2. Homework is homework. Classwork should not be interchangeable.
  5. Lay out your plans carefully, step by step, so that when you return, your classroom was run the way it would be if you were there.
  6. Do not expect the sub to be proficient in all core subject matter.
    1. If there is an answer sheet, please provide it for them.
  7. Please provide times for all subjects (when the change is, bell is supposed to ring, etc.). Simple, yes, but not everyone does it.
  8. If the students need to be brought to another room, please provide that room number, not just Art or Music, or that teacher’s name.
  9. If your school allows you to give a heads up on who has an IEP, please provide that. I know this is a tricky one, as things should not be left out that a student could read. There should be a way to let the sub know, not for judgment sake but for a heads up, to be aware who needs modifications for, who might do something that appears disrespectful to the sub but is normal for that child, etc.
  10. If you have an Aide/One-on-One in the room normally, please give them a copy of your plans as well to help the sub out (as well as make it easy on themselves}.
  11. Please make sure your Sub Folder is current with students attendance sheets, allergies, dismissals, etc.
    1. When you have a change in the classroom, please update your Sub Folder.
  12. Please find out, if not automatically given by the office, which usually does NOT have the info, a Substitute log-in so they can use your Smart Board, etc. This will save time and frustration all the way around.
  13. Please indicate who can help the sub out if needed by teachers you are surrounded by/work with on a regular basis.
  14. If you encounter a substitute in the school, at lunch, etc, please be welcoming. It goes a long way to be made to feel welcome as opposed to being dismissed as “just a sub”
    1. Some of your students will do that already; don’t do the same, please.

     

    Again, I will write out something for Subs, as I’ve heard enough stories about what subs shouldn’t do in classrooms, but do anyway.
    Thanks.

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Save The ARTist (Creativity Plus)


There is a great deal of concern and hand wringing over saving the arts. Recently, the Westchester County Arts Council sent out a plea for us to write to our congressmen about major cuts to the arts. I did is they asked, knowing that in even the smallest way our voices have to be heard.

I got an answer back not from the congressmen but from his assistant. there was a lot of blame and finger-pointing in this letter, it still talking how great Westchester County is in comparison to other locations. I will copy and post her letter, but before I do: I have something to say. Yes, big surprise.

With all the talk about saving the parts one very important component seems to be forgotten:

WHAT ABOUT THE ARTIST?

I am a performing and teaching ARTIST. I make my primary living from working in the Arts. My discipline is Theater/Drama, Storytelling and Creative Writing. I do not create “lasting” art in Fine Arts, but I DO perform a service in the Performing Arts.

When you cut the funding for the arts, you are not just cutting out a sculpture or a painting, or a dance or theater piece, or a choral work, you are taking money out of reach of PEOPLE who are trying to pay their bills and survive. by making these budget cuts to save organizations, you are also then putting more people on unemployment. This fall, I have been unable to find a job, mainly because in my field there’s much less work. There are also more people out looking for any work, so even jobs that I could fit into are inundated by other people looking for work.

Where would we be without ones like Van Gogh?

Is it just me, or does this just not make any sense? A good friend of mine has put it  very simply: at this point in time, if everyone across the board and that means the big boys in the middle management boys played fairly, more people to keep their jobs. It’s part of what I’ve been saying in that we need creative solutions and problem solving in place of the reactionaries.

I do not want to be on unemployment. I want to work. I feel there are ways that more people can work and keep their jobs. Today on the news from NPR I heard that more than 28,000 postal workers will be laid off soon. What jobs will they be able to get to support their families?

It’s very easy to cast blame and point fingers. As a country, we seem to excel at that.

Wouldn’t we be better off if we were creative problem solvers?

As stated above, here is the letter I got today:

Thank you for writing to County Executive Robert P. Astorino regarding funding for the arts.

Please be assured that Mr. Astorino has read your message and he has asked me to respond to you on his behalf.

The county executive understands and appreciates your concern for the arts.  While developing the proposed 2012 county budget, Mr. Astorino and his administration have given the arts the same consideration accorded to every program, service, agency and facility supported by county government.

As you know all too well, this is a very challenging economy.  There is a critical need to balance a $114 million county budget deficit with a responsibility to provide essential services and property tax relief, protect Westchester’s neediest residents, promote structural financial reform and reduce government spending at all levels.  One of the major roadblocks to maintaining the funding level for Arts Westchester and many other worthwhile programs and services, is the failure of the public employee unions to agree to make a reasonable contribution to their healthcare premiums.  Westchester County’s union employees are one of the few groups left in the nation that contribute nothing to their healthcare costs.  This ever-increasing financial burden necessitates reductions in other portions of the county budget.  The county executive, since taking office two years ago, has attempted to get county workers to agree to the same level of healthcare contributions state workers make.  While there is a reduction in the allocation to arts programs, the County Executive’s proposed budget includes funding for the arts at $750,000.  This action is in no way a reflection on the outstanding quality of exhibits and performances presented by the arts community nor the talents and efforts of all who labor to bring these offerings to fruition.  It is instead, a part of many across-the-board measures which must be taken during these difficult times.

Your views and those of all who live and work in Westchester are very important to the county executive.  Your input is both welcome and valued.

Again, thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

Janet Lokay
Assistant to the County Executive
148 Martine Avenue
White Plains, New York 10601
(914) 995-2127

Here was my response to Ms. Lokay:

Hi…
it’s not just the exhibits and performances.

You forget a very essential part: the artist has to live, pay bills, and be part of the economic structure. By cutting the arts, it’s not just the end product but the people who live through the process. Two very different things.

I am a Teaching Artist and a performing artist. My entire life is creative and my livelihood depends on schools, libraries, community centers and more have funds to hire me and others like me. I live for the educational process that is part of the learning process…and it does not seem politicians realize this.

Schools may not hire a full time Theater Teacher anymore (I have my NYS Certification in Theater), but they SHOULD hire me as a consultant, which is what a TA (teaching artist) really is. I integrate my work into the school core curricula, and it enhances, not wastes, the teachers’ lessons.

I would love to have a conversation  about this. Yes, many of us produce art that is seen; there are many more of us who produce art that is part of the educational process, for ALL ages, and we’re hurting, trying to make a living.

My thing: instead of telling me why something isn’t working, why are we not doing problem solving around the negatives out there. I’d rather know what has been attempted, or will be, instead of what is not working. I  work a lot with my students, when I get them, on problem solving.

I’m serious about talking with Mr. Astorino.

She gave me her phone number. If I don’t hear from them, and if you know me at all, they will hear from me. I will let you know what happens next. I’m tired of the excuses. Let’s get off of  unemployment

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