Whenever I go into a job I am hopeful that the teacher is well organized. All teachers are required to have Lesson Plans but there are Lesson Plans and there are Lesson Plans. (Sound repetitive?)
A basic lesson plan can be simple journal entries in a Common Core calendar. Unless the teacher also leaves print outs/hand outs to work on these Lesson Plans require a lot of intuition from the sub. I do like a challenge but this is completely UNFAIR to do to a substitute.
So, what is preferable?
When I arrived at North Jefferson Elementary School this past Wednesday morning I was there to substitute for a Special Education teacher. She had classes in her own room where she had to go and get students from various 4th and 5th grade rooms and there were classes she went to as a co-teacher.
When I arrived at the school she was there to guide me through what she left me for the day. Aside from the 1 page schedule which included times, classes and room numbers she had what really made me happy… As you can see in the picture above, she had handouts, answer keys labeled for each class along with notes as to what she hoped I could accomplish with the students.
I was told, when I first became a substitute, that they just want to be sure that I can engage and nurture the kids but what I actually get done is not that important. I remember this every time I enter a school and sign in for the daily job.
BUT WHEN A TEACHER GOES TO THESE LENGTHS TO HELP ME, I want to do everything I can to get done what she/he asks.
I spent the day at one of my favorite schools, Shepherdstown Middle School. OK, I admit I love all the schools I teach in, but SMS is closer to my heart since my oldest son went their part time and many of the current 6th graders grew up with my daughter.
I was subbing for a Special Education teacher who teaches various subjects to a small group of kids with 7th Grade English/Language Arts (LD) and another for 6th Grade Math (LD). The rest of the day she co-teaches in mainstream 8th Grade Science, 8th Grade Math and 8th Grade English/Language Arts.
Today, being the last day before Spring Break, they decided to modify the schedule as if it was a 2-hour delay so most classes were only 30 minutes long. At the end of the day, there was a basketball game between the students and teachers to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
The teachers won by 1 point on a last second 3-pointer by the basketball coach.
DAILY SPECIAL – In my 6th Grade LD Math class one of the students finished his assignment way ahead of the rest. They were working on 2 digit subtraction requiring borrowing. Most of the kids just could not get it. This one boy approached me and asked if he could help his fellow students. I gave him access to the Smart Board and he conducted a 20 minute interactive lesson with his fellow students and I swear at least 2 of them understood how to do the problems after his help. The most amazing thing is that this particular young man is one of those kids who is constantly getting in trouble. Before I left the school for the day I filled out a card for him to be considered for what is called the Hoop Award for going out of his way for the school community.
PROOF POSITIVE that you need to give kids a chance to prove themselves, even the trouble makers.