Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaching is Hard

I'm still substitute teaching, and I had a classroom of 30 students today where:

five students did no work and stared at their worksheets.
five students did no work and ran around the class horsing around with their friends.
five students tried to do the work and asked for help.
five students spent the whole period on the worksheet (target audience?).
five students finished the worksheet in ten minutes and got all the answers right.
five students finished the worksheet in ten minutes and got all the answers wrong.

If I was their teacher every day, I could put some plans in motion to get the students not doing the worksheets on track. I might call parents or have one-on-one conferences with the students to figure out why each student isn't trying, and try somehow to tailor a lesson to that student's strengths to get some involvement. I would be able to add extensions to the lessons that challenge the students who finish and get their answers right--and not make it seem like extra busy work or extra credit. I could also follow up with the students who zoom through the worksheet and get all the answers wrong--and know to check those students' work in the future before accepting it.

As a sub, I spend most of my time focused on the behavior of students. When a student asks a genuine question based on the lesson of the day, I enjoy giving them advice or pointing them in the right direction to find the answer on their own. When I stand up from helping that student, I find that a few of the behavior students have gotten up out of their seats and have started distracting other students again. I get them back in their seats and try to help them get started, when a few other students hop out of their seats. The combination of behavior police and helping students with their work makes it extremely difficult to notice the kids who need help but don't ask for it--whether they are kids who don't start writing, or kids with confidence, but not the correct answers.

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3 Comments:

Blogger The Wife said...

You chose a hard profession.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Katitude said...

Plus, you're dealing with the "let's push the sub teacher and see how far we can go". Ugh. Teaching by worksheet isn't really teaching...the kids know (for the most part) that it's make work.

*hugs...here's hoping you get a permanent gig!

4:31 AM  
Blogger GeneGinny said...

Sounds like a rough day. Hopefully they're not all like that!

12:04 PM  

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