As I mentioned in an earlier post regarding when to, or when not to, report something to Child Protective Services, it is ALARMING to me the lack of information provided to me, as a short term substitute when arriving for a job.
Disclaimer – when I came to my current 30-day job, the IEP coordinator came to me early on to make sure I read through the IEP binder kept in the room (under lock and key of course) so I am aware of learning disabilities and behavioral concerns of the kids.
Today was a 1/2 day. The kids were released at 12:45PM. Teachers then went into Committee Groups from 1-1:30PM. We all met in the auditorium at 1:30PM for a Teachers Council meeting. The administrative discussion was of no interest to me but they had a guest speaker from Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (BRCTC) who is a foster parent. She gave a 10 minute speech on what teachers need to be aware of when relating to students who are also “foster” children. She spoke about some very important things but what I took away most was the concept that CHANGE is a foster care child’s main enemy.
SHORT TERM SUB = CHANGE / INSTABILITY
As she left the auditorium, I followed her out to ask her some questions since not a single question was asked from the audience and being a short term long term sub I did not want to be the only person asking questions.
My question was, do teachers KNOW if a child is in foster care? Is this noted on a child’s IEP, assuming they have one? She told me that there are kids in the program who do have IEP’s but whether or not they’re being foster care kids being noted on the IEP’s is something that is not guaranteed as there is a great deal of secrecy involved in foster care management.
I had a chance to speak with the Special Education co-teacher in my classroom who did tell me which kids in our classes had issues similar to foster care if not directly. This information is NOT noted on their IEPs. Rather in the case of our students, their foster parents made her aware of their situation. In some cases the kids told her directly. After she shared what “unofficial” information she had, I have a much needed background on a bunch of MY STUDENTS that will make me a better, more concerned, educator for the rest of my short tenure at this job.
Back to my overarching question, should short term subs be informed of children in their rooms that have “concerns”? Considering the CHANGE issue, and the fact that I represent change and instability in the room. I have been told that as a substitute I should contact the office whenever their is an issue and not make it my issue to deal with. Perhaps this rule is important as I will imagine most substitute teachers have NO training to deal with these kids. Perhaps regrettable is, that in hindsight, the damage is already done when a substitute unknowingly mismanages a situation before being able to get help.
But I feel that it would be helpful to inform Subs of serious concerns with kids, not only for the benefit of the children, but also for the SAFETY OF THE SUBS?
Follow Up: I spoke to the principal of my current school who confirmed that Foster Care status is completely classified and teachers (much less substitute teachers) are NOT informed of this status.
Since starting substitute teaching last December, I wanted to get a long term sub job because of the 50% increase in pay. The additional moneys DO make a difference, but it is NOT THE SAME experience!
As I am in the middle of my 30 day stint, I am definitely enjoying myself and dont mind waking up early in the morning to get to work. The kids are all OK as well as the rest of the experience…
BUT, it has become a JOB! Like any job I have ever had before it is just that, a J-O-B! The difference perhaps with other J-O-B-s I have had in the past is that teaching is very much the same day-in day-out. The subject matter changes according to the Next Chapter, but the audience never changes day to day, the room is the same, the school is the same.
What I am asking myself now is if I am here for the same reasons I did this the first 4 months. It really isn’t. Sure, I will look forward to the extra money but honestly it is still less than 1/2 of what I typically made in business. It is still very rewarding knowing I am teaching kids something knew, but the stagnation is starting to set in.
Back to the short term?
It was exciting coming to a new school each day. A new environment. A new subject. NEW FACES! New craniums! Lots to write about.
That must be it. With long term teaching there is nothing NEW TO WRITE ABOUT. Long term substituting is no different from teaching other than having lower pay for the same amount of work.
I will have to think long and hard over the summer what I want to do next school season.
As much as I love teaching the little kids I came to the realization that I am happier with older kids. For this reason I changed my status with the County to only accept jobs in Middle and High School. If I had to pick one, it would be High School.
I am in the middle of my 1-month stint as a substitute science teacher at Washington High School in Charles Town but am already looking forward to what I will do when it ends. The school year ends soon after my final day but there is always summer school and next fall.
Teaching will continue to be a supplemental job since the PAY IS LOUSY and does not pay the bills, but it is great for my positive energy.
Disclaimer (May 13, 2016) Today may very well be my final day on my current job. Since students have read this post and not understood it, I want to stress that this is not meant in any negative way. I am simply new to this concept and wanted to make note of it as another learning point as a substitute.
Original Post – When I was a short term sub in Middle School and High School there were days when kids would come to class looking for the teacher. Some times it was looking for food but most of the time they were athletes on teams and the teacher was a coach. This did not happen that often but when it did it was one or two kids.
My 30-day stint is replacing an athletic coach and my co-teacher (Special Education) is also a coach. Since starting this job last Wednesday I have learned from my co-teach that when the regular teacher was here as many as 50 kids would come to visit during the day. FIFTY in addition to the regular kids who came for classes. In most cases they came and left when the bell rang to get to their own classes. Others however came with passes from Study Hall who prefer to spend the period in this room.
One reason for writing this post is so I can get this off my chest here rather than making it an issue in class. If I wanted I can change the rules of the game during my time here and insist that no kids are allowed to visit the room while I am the head teacher. But why do this? Besides it gives me something else to write about.
Lots of the kids who come by have a special relationship with their coaches. This is a safe zone they can come to during the day where they know the teacher (“coach”) will always be nice to them; a friendly adult connection at school. Seems a lot of these kids who visit are needy and this helps them.
(To be continued)
Note: A student told me I had no right to write about this subject. I asked her if she had read my book about IEPs. If you have the same concern I welcome you to read my Best Seller, https://www.createspace.com/5309922
As a short term sub it is hard to know what concerns individual kids have in the class. If there are severe issues hopefully the office will tell you about it in advance of the start of the day but not always.
As a long term sub, reading the book of IEPs was a major priority by the IEP coordinator. In my particular case there is a Co-Teacher for Special Education and IEP students in the room. Still, it is imperative that the main teacher have a good understanding which students have the types of issues that could lead to a bad situation if handled wrong.
You can guess that the reason for this entry is because I was not aware of the possible reaction by a student. While going through a PPT a group of students were congregating in the corner and I asked them to disperse. One particular student was standing up talking. I asked him to sit. He talked back and I made a stronger request to go back to his seat. He stormed out of the room. The Co-Teach chased after him.
Since this is high school, I decided to talk about what happened with the class. I told them that they were aware of his possible reaction and could have prevented it by not inviting him into a conversation that never should have happened in the first place. I also reminded them I am a substitute and there are many things I dont know about them.