What are the new things teachers and substitute teachers should try as we progress through the year?
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It is January 1, the year2023. I'm Greg Collins. This is the substitute teachers lounge podcast, I thought about what to do didn't want to do just a flashback didn't want to do a thing about resolution. So I thought I'd do one about do's and don'ts. We're going to look at probably three new do's and don'ts, all of them you've heard of, in a way, but I'm gonna guess today that 90% of you have never thought about doing them this way.All right, we're not just talking about do's and don'ts.Today, we're talking about new do's and don'ts as we errand2023. What, what things can we try that maybe we thought we were trying before, and maybe they just weren't having the effect on the students were in2023. Now, so the pandemic, I guess, COVID is always here to stay. But the pandemic part of it is, most people would probably consider that that's over. It's not done, but it's over, if that makes sense to you. So we need to get our students back up to where they would be, I think these ideas will be good for both teachers and substitute teachers. So here's the first one. I'm going to take you back to 2018. When I started substitute teaching,it's funny. Our fraternity was having a reunion, my fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha,I went to a college in mineral,Kentucky they're promising here before but given the story, I'll leave them out of this. So I was just I wasn't joking around,actually. But I was telling them how they knew I was retired, I said, What are you going to do?And I said, you know, I think I'll start substitute teaching.I said, Why don't you try to jokingly and they said, and this is jokingly but sad. Jokingly,they said, I'd get fired the first day, I'll let you decide what that means. And then they said, Whatever you do, don't touch anybody. Now let's talk about that second statement a little bit. Obviously, it was done tongue in cheek, but it's truthful to how do we interact with students in that regard,should we at all interact with them, I will tell you that I never approach a student to hug them. I have a habit of talking and bumping shoulders with my fist. So I guess I do that subconsciously. But I will say this, don't approach a student to hug them. But I will say this, sometimes students need a hug. Let them initiate that if they're kind of spilling their heart out to you, if they're in sad mode, and you're standing close to them. And you can kind of tell that they turned to you.Maybe they just need a little hug. So there are exceptions,that you don't know what's going on in their home life. You don't know what's going on with them personally, in any regard. Even if it maybe it's something at school, maybe it's something with a boyfriend or girlfriend that makes them sad to maybe sometimes they just need a hug.The new do that I am going to mention to you is something that I will share with you that a middle school teacher does that I like. I don't know, probably wouldn't be once you've been substituting the same group of kids, this would probably be all right. Every Friday, she says all right, it is hug day. If you need a hug, give me a hug on the way out the door. If you don't,this just bump fist and move on.And I think that's kind of cool.She figured out a way to some kids just need a hug every now and then I walk down the hallway, I'll see you know,we've got all most of the the custodians and that's not their exact title. And I'm sorry if I insulted them, but I will see the kids come up and hug him all the time because they're just such nice people. And they like you know the interaction, then they just walk away it's over.But maybe the thing you might want to try is selective hugs.Ask them if you need a hug today. I'll hug you on the way out the door. Otherwise, I'll give you a fist pump and move on. So I'm going to guess that most of you are not doing that.That is a don't that we've turned into a do so let's let's move on to the next one. Now this this one is he might have to concentrate a little bit as I describe it to you. But I read an article about a school that is doing This. And I think it's a great idea. A lot of schools are doing it in various ways,but I thought this one was great. Think about what we should do. If grades if students are falling, if you walk into a classroom, even as a substitute teacher, you'll probably see charts on their board that actually has each period, and how they're progressing, what their scores are, how their scores have changed. It's a way to pump the kids up. It's a way to hopefully motivate I read an article the other day that the pandemic affected middle schoolers most, because they're just crossing over to the where their parents are giving them more more independence. So maybe they weren't motivating themselves to properly pay attention to those Web classes that they had to take during2020. Whatever the reason,they're woefully behind. I'll use math as an example. Math builds upon itself so much one estimate I saw that said that they didn't think middle schoolers would catch up with math until they were perhaps in their sophomore or junior year,let me tell you what one school does, I thought it was a good idea. First of all, it starts by doing activities, I guess, that help the kids to get to know each other. I know you have time to do this as a teacher. But even as a substitute teacher, if there's something out don't don't call them a get acquainted exercise or getting to know you just come up with something that forces them to interact, get closer to class than when you come in the next time have something similar playing like that. And then in ways help them get closer to each other in the class, so that maybe they're proud of the scores. But even more importantly, let me tell you what this teacher did. She might say, what is the answer to this problem today, the kids have to write down their answer on a piece of paper, and then they line up at her desk. So obviously, the I don't want to say the best student in the class, but the one that got the problem finished first, she's lined up at the desk, the teacher checks it in this case,she had a sub teacher with it.So this makes it easier. So if you got it right, you got to put your initials up on the board. I think in their case, they had one of those electronic whiteboards, so that was even cooler to do for them. And everyone ended up coming up,they're the ones that got it wrong, they were sent over to the other teacher for some help.And at time, she would have the ones that got it right help the ones that got it wrong. And then after time went by they started comparing scores. Now this one,I don't know if I would be uncomfortable, and saying how an individual student changed in front of the class. I'll leave that up to you. But one thing she did do, she kept track of how they overall, let's say for that one question. Let's say it's a 30 person class, and let's say 22 of them got it correct? Well, maybe the next time she puts that on the chart next time, 27 of them got it correct. And since she's developed those exercises, to allow people to help each other out and be friendly about it,that it's not somebody that they feel like as a stranger, because they'd done the Get Acquainted exercises. I kind of like, this is a side but it's not, I kind of like messing with the seating charts. Maybe you're sitting here because the teachers told you to sit here, but maybe I want you to sit over here. You might get to know those kids,the more we can get to know kids, the better this idea works. But the idea of the students helping each other out,the idea of the student seeing the progress as a class and being proud as a class. I know she said in this class, every time she would flash up a score,they would say, either Ooh, or oh, just to kind of motivate them to do better the next time.She said it resulted in test scores. That, you know, the test scores were woeful, when they went from 2019 to 2021. There was no test and 2020 just did terrible. But this lady's class was one of the few districts that improved almost back up to where they were in 2019. And probably because of the way she did things, so whereas maybe the don't before was we didn't share information like this. Now let's change it to a do figure out ways to get those kids closer together. They're as a class,and then make them proud as a class, figure out questions that you can give them that just in the way they turn them in, they can see who's doing better than them. Maybe that will motivate them more. And even if they need help, they can ask one of the students that one that got the question, right, to help them even if you don't have that extra teacher in there, you can ask another student to help them. So the dome before was was maybe not getting as close as we could. The do now is getting closest students becoming proud as a class and getting excited about the grades going up each now weeks or whatever period you have. Now this last one is going to be something that some of you are not going to do regardless,because you just don't believe in it. It has to do with handing out candy. I will say this, you know, it's about 85% of teachers keep candy in the room. Now,I'll be honest, when I first started substitute teaching, I still bought cheap candy didn't cost me that much. We're talking about, you know, even just a starburst or a Jolly Rancher,that's not going to set you back too much. But I was handing that out. Sometimes I felt guilty about not giving every student one. So I found out a way to give them well, that's not really accomplishing anything,because then the students that need to do better know that they're going to get candy,whether they do better or not.So here's what I've come to the conclusion works really well with me. Fact, one of the last times I substitute taught before the break, the math teacher told me, here's the topics we're testing on tomorrow, would you mind, I know you've got certain game systems that you'd like to use, would you mind just looking up the topics and playing games with them so that it's in an entertaining class period. And I said, that's great, I did Kahoot. Although I am finding out that students like some of the others better, we'll have lessons on some of those as we progress. You know, in the new year, we'll have lessons about some of those so that you all can learn to use those I use Kahoot, I looked up the topic.And here's what I'm doing now with candy. It's just two pieces per game, okay, obviously, you give a piece of candy to the winner of the game. Now that could if you do two or three based on the topic, could be the same student every time now what I'm finding out is a lot of times when that happens, they give the candy away. Or maybe I'll say if the same person wins, we'll give it to the second place, and all that good stuff. So but we got to figure out a way to keep all the kids participating. And if they know those really smart students are going to keep them from ever finishing high enough. Here's what I do. They know that Kahoot generates a report, I will tell them that in addition to the winner of the game, one other person will get a piece of candy, all they have to do is participate. So I glanced at that report, you gotta get comfortable with that you glanced at the report. And I just turn it upside down, run my finger over it and whatever name my finger lands on that to gets the extra piece of candy. So what that does is it keeps them motivated. Maybe they only got five out of 20. Maybe they weren't anywhere near the top of the board. But they still stay motivated to answer the questions because they know as long as they do that they are in the running for that piece of candy. So I hope that helps them to stay motivated and get again get that class motivation up. So that's what I've been doing with the candy. I don't sometimes I'll bring candy for special occasions. And of course,philosophy of teachers might be a little bit different than substitute teachers. You have to decide what you're financially able to do. You'll have to decide how if you're into it enough that you want to figure out how to keep all the students involved. Think of it that way.But I think that's a great way to do it. You don't is don't just give everybody a piece of candy do it from a most motivational standpoint. Don't just be so stubborn that you say I'm not giving those kids candy they should participate anyway.Well, as adults we get bonuses sometimes as adults, we might win a prize and and our work so what's the difference? So think about that as we go through that. Now, what I want to do is just mention that as we move along in 2023, I'm going to try to look for new topics, we'll do more on tools that you can use in the classroom, not so much,maybe we'll try to get away from more of the philosophical discussions, go to substitute teachers lounge, Facebook group,obviously, we have some great discussions there. Sometimes it's heated, but as long as it's not directed at directly at an individual that tends to to fly,I don't censor a whole lot. I sometimes don't like the language that you use, and I will remind them that when they joined the page, that was part of the stipulation, but I want everybody to feel free like they can discuss anything on there.So what should have a great 2023I hope these do's and don'ts,maybe new ways of looking at that have them helped you as we progress, getting better at our teaching and our substitute teaching