16 Things I learned While Subbing – Parts 9 – 16

EXPO COLEX in Santos-Sao Paulo


Now for my final installment of things I learned while subbing.  These are mostly ideas that popped in my head as classroom management ideas when things started getting out of hand.  So these explanations are going to be small, if not just a couple of sentences, these options are just about how to keep life simple for the teacher. Sometimes the best way for classroom management is to bring stamps, stickers and candy…even in the High School Level.  

birthday balloons.9. Do give those with B-Days Recognition!

In High School, I resented the fact that I was not one of these “COOL Kids” who had a birthday during the school year, where I got nifty balloons and candy, cupcakes, and presents to tote around school for the whole day, being the princess.  Woe to my low self-esteem.  Now as a teacher I realized by allowing the recognition of a students birthday, no matter how small, is a great step in classroom management.  While I resented the fact that girls got balloons, I had always liked the teacher recognizing the birthdays in class, it was a nice gesture.  That hasn’t changed at all, the students listen better and respect the teacher.  Just Long-Term subbing and acknowledging birthdays made the classroom management better than classes where I didn’t.  Strange!


10. Do offer candy as a treat, prize, or Good Job!


Who wouldn’t do anything for candy (Also in sugar-free!).  For those who choose not to receive tasty sweet treats, I also offer my students snack options that range from Potato Chips to Goldfish (god bless Costco and Sam’s).  Seriously, need I say more?


245/365 - 4/2/2009

11. Do have decorations in the classroom!

I know most of us have been there, a teacher who was so dull, that all four walls of his/her (mostly his) classroom was the same stark white from when the school first opened.  While subbing, even I felt like a closet shut-in, wanting an escape from all the monotony, and stuffiness of a bare white-walled classroom.  You could see it in the students eyes too, they were bored out of their minds, they were coloring to bring some life into this classroom, and I felt sorry for them.  I also realized that teachers who did take time to create some semblance of a decorated classroom, had better classrooms in general as far as attitude went.  Again there are always exception to the rule, and it really depends on the personality of the student rather than the teacher or the classroom itself, I just noticed that a little effort went a long way.  Remember #5, the clean classroom rule?  These decorated classes had better management with mess than others!!!


12. Do at parent night, have parents sign a card themselves.

Self explanatory, since most parents try to have some contact with their child’s teacher, this idea only benefits the teacher since they have, at close hand, the student’s parental information, in case anything goes wrong.


The Ultimate School Folders

13. Do have an organized sub folder!

Geeze, this one was very personal, I cannot count how many times I had come into a classroom, where there was a sub folder with information in it from *GASP* two six weeks ago, but they were so disorganized that I couldn’t tell if their seating chart was up to date.  Worse yet, I’ve had teachers NOT LEAVE SUB PLANS AT ALL, and I had to pull out plans, along with other teachers, to fill up the whole class day!  I promised myself, and in my notebook, I even wrote “PROMISE YOU WILL NEVER DO THIS AT ALL” in the margins, with stars, exclamation points, and skull and crossbones.   I promised myself that my sub folder will contain up to date information, referrals (what sub cannot live without these), a sheet for a sub to write their notes on including an area to write their name with their sub ID# incase someone was very exceptional, and ALWAYS grade the work, I had assigned for the substitute, even if it doesn’t need grading!  How many times have I subbed and these little jerks always tell me that the teacher wont grade them, and I promised myself that would be the case.  I would also tell the sub NOT TO TRUST ANY OF THEM, THEY ALL LIE!


Ticket King Kohl Center seating chart

 14. Do have a seating chart!

This I learned from a Long-Term subbing assignment.  I had a class of talkers, and none of them would listen to me at all!!!!  THe seating chart was bogus, and they were so snotty, that they just laughed at me when I told them to move back.  I got the better of them, I stacked the chairs to one side of the room, and put their names on the floor and told them to sit on their name.  They thought it was a game and did so, then the next day the chairs were back, with their names on the chairs, again they thought it was a game, and then realized they were conditioned into sitting in their assigned seats, and if anyone tried to move back, ALL HELL WOULD BREAK LOOSE!  So, a seating chart was necessary.  Now!  I also had to install, a no excuse movement policy, if anyone tried to talk to their neighbor, they would be moved, no ifs ands or buts.  After two successful tries, they stopped.  Sadly that was at the end of my assignment, but at least the teacher got a friendlier class.


Scales of justice

15. Do TRY to be fair, the hate hypocrisy.

Back to rule #5, I have to be constantly rehydrating myself per doctors orders, so I never questioned the students eating or drinking in class, I just hate mess.  But it is not fair for me to sit there and tell them no food, when I’m sipping on water and eating a granola bar when my blood sugar lowers, they will resent that, and they would end up behaving worse if a teacher was going back on his/her rules.  Now, the same goes with the phone, I rarely have my phone out unless it’s absolutely necessary, and when that happens, the students are allowed a free phone day (Reference: My cat was in the hospital, having surgery to remove her cancer.  And they were to call if any complications arose, told my students what was happening, and they behaved with their phones).  This is also a matter of being consistent as well, if one students is talking, and you punish them, punish those others who are talking to them, or after them.  While I will never see ALL talking in class, these were the ones who were louder than most.  I know sometimes you have to go against the rules you state, but these kids are understanding, even if it takes them a while to think it.


Kitten meets dog through glass door

16. Do stand up for yourself, don’t let them bully you. Even if at times you don’t feel it, YOU ARE THE ADULT!

I would like to thank you for reading my lovely notes from subbing, with the prospects of subbing again, I hope that you at least learned something from all of this, or found real world applications as to why you need a seating chart.  If you found this amusing please comment, if not, just keep your comments to yourself :p.



The Soon to be Ex-Teacher, Oracle of Dreams


About theoracleofdreams
The Oracle of Dreams is a High School teacher, who spends a great deal of time outside of school watching movies, listening to music, and various other artistic ventures. The Oracle of Dreams is a pseudonym for reasons beyond her knowledge, and wishes to keep her identity secret...or until she makes big bucks and can leave the teaching field...one can always dream bigger right?

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