Substitute teachers can learn a few things from the best subs, and what not to do from the worst subs.
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This is Greg Collins,substitute teachers lounge, my apologies to Charles Dickens on that title. But you know, we talk a lot about what substitute teachers should and shouldn't do. I'm going to talk today about my observations of the best of subs and the worst of subs. Let's do it Oh, hi guys. So the sounds gonna sound a little muffled. I'm actually just using my laptop microphone today. Because I'm doing this in a classroom, it's been one of those kinds of weeks, you might even be able to hear the students out in the hallway a little bit. But that's okay, maybe a little ambiance to the podcast this week. But I apologize for that. But I think it's going to be a good one.Let's talk about the best subs and the worst of subs. It's a little ironic now because I began this podcast, recording it about an hour ago and then stopped. And then I had another class and I came back after the class because it was planning period. And sure enough, one of the students said, you know, my favorite sub, she didn't necessarily say ours, her favorite sub, but she said, my favorite subs are the ones that come in and become active with the students. They interact with them, joke around with them,maybe show them some things from their personal life. For instance, I showed a picture of that monkey that was sitting on top my head for the vacation we just took those were the kinds of subs that students like you've heard that on episodes before, so I won't drag that out too much. I will say this, I am going to make my observations as to the subs I met. What made me think Man, that's a really good sub. That's the best of subs.And then I'm going to tell you about the worst of subs. And there's been plenty of those too. In fact, let me challenge you, as you go through this, as you go through this podcast.Figure out which category you fit in. Are you the best to subs? Are you the worst to subs?Now you might say? Well, Mr.Collins is an in between two? I don't think so I think you're either the best or the worst. If you're lower than the best,we'll keep doing stuff to make you the best. Obviously, if you're one of the worst, you know, maybe you don't even care.But I think that probably that really doesn't apply to the listeners here. Because if you're going out and you're taking the time to listen to a podcast, you're probably one of the better subs. It's the way I feel about it. Unless you just want it to come out here and say let's see what this idiot is saying this week. But I don't think that's the case. Best of subs event to the point that,you know, I want to consider myself one of the best I want. I love it when the students say you're my favorite sub. I love that. I like it more. I'll be honest, I like it more when I hear that from students than I do when I hear from teachers. I even use volleyball as an example to I very rarely hear that, Mr. Collins, you're the best referee out there. Never hear that. What I hear all the time is you're our favorite referee. And it's only because some of the referees come out stiff. No personality, I'm just the opposite, maybe too much. So I like to interact with the players, I like to be friendly with them. Some of them will even as I'm walking on my stand will hold out their fists for me to fist bump both sides of the net, even the teams that I really don't know that much.There's teams that I made on a weekend that will come up to me and say you're my favorite referee. I don't even know what I'm doing to get that designation. But I will say this. Sometimes when I hear that said about other subs, and there's part of me inside that there's that little jealousy thing, maybe envy is the right word. I never can understand the difference between those two.But I'm going to describe to you some of the teachers that fall into that category that all the students they're their favorite and so on. So, one lady that I ran into, it's been a couple of years ago that subbed as much as I did. Talked right guy did talked about how much they enjoy the kids time. talked about and I did hear the students say that I'm gonna take ratters word at her word, she talked about how the kids say that she's a favorite sub. Well, I noticed something happened. One time, it was a, it was a tragedy that happened among the teachers. And there was a service because of that, she went to that service,because she thought it would be a good thing for her to show her support. And she was right now,I didn't do that. But just think about that. When you have the when you show the other members of the school that you've got the attitude that when something bad happens, I kind of like don't want to be part of your family. I want to show you how much I enjoy teaching how much you guys mean to me by attending events that sometimes are sad,but that I want to make sure that you know I am there and in full support. I've never seen this teacher actually teach. I'm sure she does a great job. She always has been very kind to me and likes talking to me as I do talking to her. So maybe that's the first time just going out of your purse to be the best substitute teacher going out of your way to show the school not just selfishly, not just from the standpoint, I better go to this or they're never going to ask me back again. But to show them you want to come back and you want to feel a part. I'm starting to think this wasn't the best idea recording in the classroom. Today. I am in my planning period, but have had several distraction. But that's okay. That's part of the job.Now, somebody else that I ran into, in fact, it was right across the hallway from where I am now. But it was at least a year ago, maybe. But it was a lady who she just had the friendliest smile on her face.And she was wheeling in a milk crate full of stuff that she was going to use in class that day,I think she might have been teaching art. And I said, Man,do you pack all that stuff in every day? And she said, Well,you know, I know. I'm teaching art today. And there's just some cool things I wanted to bring from my home to share with them.And I said when No wonder she's one of the best substitute teachers because she goes that extra mile. She looks for stuff she can bring in and share with those kids. Are you doing that?Are you going in prepared? But maybe the phrase is not really super prepared, not extra?Prepared? Maybe you're doing what you can do. I hate to call it adequate, because that's too negative of a term. But maybe you're doing enough to teach the class well, but what can you do to push yourself beyond that?Bring in the extra stuff.Tomorrow, my class is on recording this on a Thursday,tomorrow, my class is going to play some more password. I'll let them play just one clue today. And they really enjoyed it. In fact, I had slipped in told them I had a podcast episode just on past the word.And they want some of them actually listened to it while they were working. So I thought that was kind of cool. But do the extra stuff that students like you, if you come in and what interact with them, they'll like you even more, the more personal things that you choose to share with them doesn't have to be candy or giveaways. It can just be looked at this cool picture that I took in Honduras on my vacation. I joked with them that I had a pet chimpanzee and they showed him the picture of it sitting on my head. And you know, their math just dropped. They thought that was the coolest thing ever. I fessed up to him later and told him that I was on vacation. I just saw it down there. They started to ask me where do you keep it now this kind of thing. So when you're wanting to strive to be the best sub you can be, go that extra mile, bring in stuff that's going to keep those kids you know, I think part of education is entertainment,bring in stuff that's going to keep them entertained, maybe involvement, a better word, keep them involved in the class, keep them interested in the class. i Today I actually there's a seating chart and especially one class really needed a seating chart and I said, Tell you what,guys, I'm going to experiment tomorrow. I'm going to let you set where you want until you don't earn it. Once you don't earn it. We're going to move everybody back and you're going to sit where you don't want to say and you're going to do things you really don't want to do. I like you to be able to work with your friends. But if all you do with your friends is cut up and not be productive,well, we can't do it that way.So that's what we did. While we were winding down the in the class and playing a little password. So there are ways you can become the best substitute teacher you don't maybe the two stories that I shared, what are the best, bring extra stuff, to show them your personality and to get them better involved and motivated in the class, and do go out of your way to do things that makes the school feel that you feel they are important, and they'll be asking you back for more. Now, this like the title of the podcast said, it was the best to subs. It was the worst and subs Well, I've shared this story before. In fact, I'm not so sure that every story that you ever hear from me anymore.I've shared before. Maybe under a different theme about a Seinfeld book not too long ago about comedians get cars,Comedians in Cars, getting coffee that he did online that I always loved. And I said why don't I buy a book, it's just here, Marie quoting things from those conversations, but they had it theme. They had a section for movies and all the interviews that were in there were interviews where them celebrities, were talking about movies, they had a CES selection, about relationships,same deal. So I'm doing the same thing here. Other ideas that I may have shared before, but I want to reshare under this theme of this podcast, the best of times and worse this is this, by far the worst is the one that came in one day at high school,and I'm hearing this third hand but it was from the assistant principals. So I'm pretty sure that it's pretty accurate. The sub came in and was so bad, even the students were talking about him. And the word got out because basically all he did was walk in the class, turned his back to the students put his earbuds in sit in the chair and started pumping his phone. And never gave them any regard whatsoever. wouldn't have even known perhaps because of his earbuds that anything was going on in class. So word did get out and the assistant principal came to the door, the door was made,it's kind of door that there's actually a window and small window in the door. So he looked through the window and knocked on it. And no response because the teacher couldn't do the sub couldn't even hearing. So he walked he got his own key. Of course, he walked in there,started knocking lightly on the desk, the guy still didn't acknowledge them. He took a book and pounded it on the desk, made the guy job he turned around and the principal just looked at him said you're done go on home.They paid him for the full day.But obviously, he never was asked back now put that in the category of worse others because that's what that is that better not be you surely that's not you that would be that blatant about really not caring about the kids whatsoever. And just doing your own thing. Not it's not I mean,that wouldn't even be a babysitter. I don't want to be a babysitter. But that's probably worse than a babysitter because you're doing. You're doing it as negative you're doing as negative a job as you could possibly do. One other thing that I would call a negative or a a bad substitute teacher, it might seem obvious to you but don't distribute or distribute pictures of yourself. There was a substitute teacher. It's been years ago now, but he actually was in another profession. And the kids thought it was a cool profession. So he brought in pictures of himself doing that.And it was a type of athletic event where maybe the outfits were a bit on the skimpy side.I'll let you fill in the blanks.And that was a no no, that teacher did not get asked to come back. That's just a matter of common sense. Use your head.Some of the other things that I've seen teachers do is, you know this, I won't I won't over emphasize this, but some of you and it's okay. Some of you yell more than I do. I had to yell some today. I had trouble with a couple of students today. Had to yell more than I like to the ironic part is those kids know that I don't like to leave negative comments, but I did tell them listen, your teacher has given me advanced warnings that she has had Trouble in class was some of you, and she needed to give you a warning.And she wanted me to leave a warning. Well add a little bit of that. But I'm not a yeller. I would encourage you the best subs, find ways to get around yelling, and instead, do some things. The thing I did to motivate that class file I've already mentioned this morning was tell them, I would let them move around tomorrow and let them earn the right to stay there when they got there. So that's basically it. I've met the best of subs, I've met or heard about the worst of subs, I don't want to be in the worst category. And I want to do more and more to emulate those that I've seen in the best category.So that, you know, if I'm a little bit jealous of them,maybe that tells me that I could do more. So look for the things from other subs that you can use and say, Man, I'd like that, can I I'm gonna use that idea. I'm gonna admit to you, I'm gonna use it and use that in the future to make you a better sub and fall into that best sub category in a way that you enjoy it and you want to keep coming back more and more and more importantly, they want you to keep coming back more and more and teaching at their school.