Here's some things to keep in mind when a substitute teacher has been given a co-teacher.
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Greg Collins,Substitute Teachers Lounge, it is March 26 2023. You know, you occasionally walk into a room as a substitute teacher and you have a co teacher with you.Sometimes you want them in there. Sometimes you don't want them in there. What's the difference?All right, you know, I've taught middle school and high school both taught academy classes this week. So it's been a good week,something happened this week that wasn't, wasn't bad in and of itself. But it reminded me of other times when I've been in the situation. So I thought it would be good. We haven't talked about it in a long time, about how you feel about having co teachers in the room with us.Sometimes they're there to accompany students that may need a little bit extra help.Whatever the rays, sometimes there, there may be, perhaps as a student teacher, sometimes they're there just to observe,you never know. But I thought I would talk about both the negative and positive reasons that I've seen, I guess,reasons, you would say reasons for negative but the reason some of them turned out negative and the reason some of them turned out positive, that's a better way of saying it. On the positive side, there are some classes that I won't often take,I'll look for something else,unless I know there's going to be a co teacher in there. CO teachers are good to give you additional help. Sometimes I've had co teachers that actually do the teaching for the class. And again, of course, student teachers fall into that category too. We actually in our area, we have a college town, we are a college town. And we also have other colleges, as I think about it, maybe four other colleges,some small, some large, that are within 20 minutes of where we are located, you see them doing student teaching there, you can always tell with the student teacher, how much they're you know, they've gone through perhaps four years of schooling,you can hear the excitement in their voice, they're still going to have to get, let's face it,the hardest part about teaching is maybe not so much the subject, as it is to deal with some of the students that you have to deal with. Not so much.I'm not thinking about discipline. Right now, I'm thinking more about some just struggle with a topic more than others. And you have to think about how you're going to deal with that. So there are definitely some positive reasons to have that substitute teacher in there, or I should say, the CO teacher in there with the substitute teacher, it's kind of makes you feel more comfortable,you can do your thing, all that good stuff. Now, most of the show, unfortunately. And the negative topics that we do send,seem to draw a lot more attention to the podcast and the positive ones, I guess that said, reminds me of the old positive channel that Ted Turner tried to start one time for just good news. And it didn't last.It's kind of an indictment on us, I guess, as a society. But here's the negative things. I've seen some from way. I say way back, I'm talking about since I've been substitute teaching.So two or three years ago, I remember there was a situation where, in fact, I believe it was when I was either a long term teacher there or I was just there, maybe three times every week, there was a teacher, a extremely knowledgeable, good math person. I think I taught math most of the time. I was glad to have her in there for that. But there was some times that and I think this happened more to the teachers. I ate lunch with the teachers. So they would share that information sometimes. Sometimes, a lot of the teachers didn't want her in there because maybe perhaps because she's so knowledgeable,she wants to interject what she knows into the class. She's not trying to undermine the regular teacher, she just thinks she's helping out. But I have heard teachers say that sometimes they dread when it's their classes turn for this CO teacher to come in and help because she often takes over the class and they never get a chance to teach what they had hoped to teach. So that can happen on occasion. I will say sometimes I have like the one we just mentioned because she will have done this, but we actually got to be good friends. So she didn't interrupt me very much. I guess maybe the reason the other teachers might get upset, maybe she thought they were leaving something out, that would be important. It's not as big a deal in math, because math is math, you pretty much do it the same way. All the time. Yeah,there's new math and new ways of doing things. But at that point,you're probably everybody's doing the same thing. There are situations where you're put in a class for the first time as a substitute teacher. And you see,you have a co teacher, sometimes there's a good student teacher.And in class I had one day this week. And I was subbing for a teacher that was there in the building at the beginning, but was going on a field trip or something I can't remember. So he came by where I was to start off the day. And tone introduced me to this to the student teacher. And that was kind of nice, and she did a good job.There are some times however,I've gone in with a co teacher,and I didn't know how to behave,I want to pride myself in feeling like I can handle a class in my way. 95% positive all the time. 5% Sometimes my words have to be given out more harshly because they didn't pay attention to the first request,perhaps that's the best way of saying it. But as you know,everybody's personality,everybody's teaching style is going a little bit a little bit different. So let me tell you what I've encountered over the years.I'm guilty, you can tell I'm recording this at a school again. Alright, so here's one thing that I've run across and it happened maybe a couple of months ago, I thought that some of the students were treating the CO teacher a little bit disrespectfully only from the standpoint that they weren't really doing what that code teacher told them to do. And the CO teacher, for the most part,was conducting the class I really just had to walk in. To be honest, I'm not real crazy about that. I would like to be just a little bit more in charge. Yes, there are times that I'm in a subject where my goodness, I'm not going to know anybody about that topic. I did teach in high school one time,male and female anatomy. And I was glad there was a student teacher in there. She taught it very well. I learned not to be embarrassed about teaching these things to high school students.In fact, both men and women,there was a lot more women in the class, but both men and women would come and ask me questions. Maybe years ago, I might have been embarrassed about to give an answer. But it gave them an answer because it was part of the curriculum.Nothing too crazy, of course,but obviously information that they needed to know. Now, in this case, the teacher was trying to teach and she told the kids, a couple of kids just settled down and quit walking around, or I can't remember exactly how it went. But after a couple of tries, it wasn't very successful. I don't know as if the in this doesn't have anything to do with male or female teachers. But some teachers just talk more loudly than others. Sometimes some people's personalities and attitudes may be inflection of their words, have a bigger effect? Well, this wasn't have any effect. So I finally in my loud voice said, Guys, listen to your teacher and go back to where you're supposed to be.Now, guess what happened?And then let me tell you what I thought about a couple of hours or maybe even a couple of minutes. I can't remember what I thought about after that happened. Those kids as soon as I raised my voice, tell them to do what the teacher is saying and go back to their chair. They did. So I've got one side of the argument, where I'm thinking,all right, I help that CO teacher out. I'm sure they're thankful. And then I'm thinking later, you know, what do they really have to be thankful about? Did I just undermine them their authority? Because I felt like the CO teacher wasn't doing an effective job of getting the students settled down. Or did I do the right thing to help out after what that CO teacher was saying?Didn't work. Now I don't know how you feel about that. I guess maybe I took it too personally or overthought the situation,but still, I'm thinking,Alright, here's what I do. Every time I question myself, when I get home, I do this with volleyball referring to there's some two situations that will cause me to maybe feel bad when I leave, maybe I could have done handled something a little bit differently. And I could feel bad about it. And often I do.But then I, after I've had time,maybe the next day and things have settled down a bit, I think, all right. Rather than feel bad about it, rather than dreading if that situation ever comes up again. What can I do to improve myself? So I got to thinking about this teacher situation, the fact that they could not get the kid the CO teacher could not get the kids to settle down. And I'm thinking, all right, how would I handle that differently? The next time. And so the only the best thing I guess, is when I walk in sometimes now I've never met a teacher, or especially like, if it's a, you know, maybe even especially a student teacher, because I know, they're only there for a limited amount of time. I know that I've never met them, I know that this might be the last time I see them. So they don't know what kind of person I am. They can probably tell I'm friendly, that I'm pretty laid back. But I noticed there's been times when I'll walk around and talk to the students more than the CO teacher even though the CO teacher is teaching, especially if it's students that I've had before, they want to talk to me to see what I've been doing lately to see what they've been doing lately catch up on their sports for their school just for a few minutes and that type of thing. Maybe assist them with their work, all that good stuff.So I think what I'm going to start doing is when I walk in and meet a new co teacher, I'll tell them, Listen, I have a loud voice. If you ever want my assistants helping settle them down. I don't want to undermine you, if you have chosen not to speak with a louder voice to settle them down. And if you want to do things differently,that works for me. But if I sometimes I'm sure in my past, I have first I had students to sit down when the CO teacher was really the one teaching the class. Maybe they didn't want me to do that. And I've got to be cognizant of that as I go on as a substitute teacher, I've got to think of ways to do that kind of thing better as the school carries on, and the teachers carry on. Now. So here's what I want you to do.Think about the times you've been with a co teacher, Did it go well? Did it not go? Well,think about the times that you want to always have a co teacher in there with you that it helps you that there have been co teachers that I know have a lot of years of experience. In that case, I'm never going to walk in and say,Do you want me to raise my voice if the students aren't doing what you say I wouldn't ever do that to them, because they're The experienced teacher. They want to handle things most likely the way they want to handle things. younger teachers,I would say that to them, I would just say if you want my help getting them back in seats,if you want my help here, if you want my help teaching, feel free, most of them, you'll find that most of them really appreciate that. As opposed to,if you just go into a room and start interjecting into the lesson plan, getting off topic,creating a situation for that code teacher or whoever the teacher happens to be that's in there with you that they really didn't want to deal with that day. Well, then you kind of it's not really a matter of losing respect. But you've kind of put the teacher in a situation that CO teacher where now we're off topic, we didn't cover the topic they really needed to cover that day. And you put yourself in a situation where maybe they might even choose to talk to you about it after the class is over. So think about your good co teaching situations. Maybe you've been a co teacher before.Think about situations that have turned out bad. Think about ways that you've handled it that you wish you hadn't raised your voice too loudly. I've had situations where students you say things to him a couple of times and an hours like this in high school too. So it's not like they're inventing things to do bad and it's not really bad things but just distracting things. And then I really have to re use my voice loud the third time and I tell them later I said,Listen, guys, it wasn't what you were doing was so wrong. It was that I had to finally raise my voice so loudly that everybody in the room can hear what I was saying to you, because you wouldn't listen. Otherwise, most of the time, you'll find out that the students understand that they won't particularly be crazy about be raised a voice to, but you know, they'll get over it. So I would leave it at this, when you have a co teacher in your room, just walk up and say, I will do as much as you need me to and as little as you need me to. And I think that is a perfect way to start. If you have some background in particular subject, and that's the subject you're teaching today. Well, tell them that and they may love to have you jump in at any opportunity. So co teachers, sometimes you'd love to have them there. Sometimes you'd rather just do it on your own. And we all understand that.And I think they do too. And as they get to know you, as the school gets to know you, they're going to give you more opportunity to start interjecting your own thoughts anyway. And a fun little game for you to play. Totally unrelated. You've heard the bells of the school ring at least two times during this podcast. See if you can figure out what notes are being played.I know because there's a musical class here and I asked the director so see if you can figure that out and post your answer in the substitute teachers lounge group page on Facebook. Have a good week.