Friday, March 2, 2018

How to become a teacher from a long term sub position


You've been hired as a long term sub and you want to be a full-time teacher. Congratulations! We'd love to have you - and we know it is a bunch more money - and responsibility - than subbing. So let me help you!

There are school rules. You will be asked to enforce them. The students will not want you to enforce them because they are, after all, rules. Enforce them anyway.

When you don't enforce them - you make everyone's life harder. The students, the other teachers, the administrators, even the custodians. So, enforce the rules, even if you don't like them. Even if it makes the kids not like you a little.

Your basic responsibility is to keep the kids in the room. They want to go walking around the school. There will be conflicts. Keep them in the room. When you let them out into the hall, it makes it harder for everyone else in the hall to teach.

You will be given lessons to teach. Teach them. If you don't know how to teach it (which is not the same as knowing how to do it), ask. Do not say "it was too difficult for the students so I skipped it and now I am ready to test a week earlier" because you just messed up someone else's timeline.

Some courses have end of course tests. We teach to the test because the results matter. And by that I mean we have been given percentages of what is on the test and we parse the lessons accordingly. Sometimes we teach other things that are relevant but not necessarily on the test. We don't have time, when the test is 2 months away, to play movies every day, especially when the movies are pertinent to another department and absolutely will not be on an end of course test.

I have tried to tell you all of these things, but you assume I don't have a clue, that I am old and irrelevant. Ask yourself why certain things have happened lately and ask yourself if you are making yourself valuable or not to the organization you say you want to become a part of.

If another teacher steps in and repeatedly stops "traditions" you have set in place, they may be detrimental traditions. Or you can believe the other, older, actual teacher is a party-pooper. Your choice.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to cheat as a group and not show your hand

I post this as a service to my students who either think I am an idiot or never got the memo about being slick.

If you intend to cheat as a group, there are certain things you should think about.

1) If you usually get grades in the 60s, and your friends as well, suddenly getting 100% will raise a red flag.

2) So, try to miss a couple of questions. This will still raise your overall grade and not seem so out of place.

3) Talk with your friends, make sure you don't all miss the same questions. Again, it raises a flag.

4) Don't tell your mother "the test was so hard, we had to." Odds are, she might tell your teacher.

5) Don't turn in 2 different tests with the same answers (the correct answers for one of the tests) on both.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Learning for the test

A student asked me to stay after school Friday. She wanted to go over SAT questions.

Every single question was related to the unit we tested on - Wednesday.

I pointed out - with each question - how this was related to what we had been doing for the last month. I am trying to teach her how to read the questions to see the connection.

I am not hopeful.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dream 3

Yes, they are cathartic.

I dreamed, like the last one, that it was the end of the year and the principal was meeting with me to tell me what my schedule would be.

He told me he had hired the long term sub I have been working with this year and, since it has gone so well, I would be co-teaching with her.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Another dream

I dreamed it was the end of the year. I had filled out my letter of intent (to stay) and the principal called me in to say he wasn't going to renew my contract.

i told him the decision about whether or not I stayed was not up to him. And that, after the year we had just finished (this year), if he didn't renew it, I would be going to the district and talking to someone there because THEY KNOW the year I have had.

It has been interesting.

Sometime, I will talk about it. Just not now.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


This has not been a good year. I am over stressed, in large part because I cannot let things go that I probably should (easier said than done), and in part because the administration and students will not recognize the position I have been put in. I will survive this year. It will all get done. Beyond that, I don't know.

So I had a dream last night, just before I woke up.

I am in an elementary classroom – looks like kindergarten or 1st grade but the kids look to be about 9 or 10. I know I am not certified in early childhood and almost say something about that several times in the dream but know it won’t help.

I have just been put in this room and want it, even though I know my limitations.

It starts with there is an issue, the reason I have been brought in. A child, a boy, has been threatening to hurt the children and the children were removed to another place while we deal with the child (I say we but I am the only school employee there). Eventually he is gone and the children return and I am doing math. Then the boy comes back and I am trying to surreptitiously get the other children to leave the room, go to the office and let them know what is happening. They leave the room, but don’t go to the office or come back in or go in the closet where there are all kinds of toys so they can play.

Eventually the kids leave, the boy is handled, and then the room is filled with parents (mothers) who are all angry, want me fired, say I am not handling it well, their kids are in danger, etc. I cannot get them to listen to me about what I can do for their children, that the boy has been removed and is no longer a threat – they just keep getting louder and louder.

At some point I go into a little cubby area and call school secretary to tell her I need to talk with the principal because I need to know what I can tell the parents. She puts me on hold and I end up hanging up on the hold to deal with the parents without any advice or help.

Toward the end I go into a closet that connects my room to another. It is filled with toys and the kids want to play with it. A janitor brings in a big box which is some kind of play kitchen set up and the kids are now not leaving to do anything constructive.

Then I woke up.

The boy is the teacher who was in the room before. He was never a threat to the kids and is not in the room now, but his presence is still there.

The children and the mothers are the students in the class, sometimes young, sometimes “adults” but never really acting like adults.

The room is my perception of the level of math I am trying to teach.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It just gets old

I teach special ed.

I am content certified - meaning I have the same skillset as general ed teachers - but I also have special ed certification.

No, I am not more patient.

Yes, Other Teacher gets kudos for teaching three levels of the same course (same course, varying speeds as the kids are general ed, bright, and STEM).

No, I do not get credit for co-teaching in two different math courses while adapting the curriculum for three other math courses to meet the ieps of the kids I teach.

The good news, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may be closer than I have previously said.