August 2008
Vol 5 No 8

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.8 August 2008

Cover Story by Alan Haskvitz
NCLB/Poor Teacher Training:
End of Gifted Education?
The most at risk students in the nation are the gifted. Here’s why.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
A Computer Teacher Shows the Way

»Tools for the Coming School YearCheryl Sigmon
»Get the Most Out of Being Mentored - Part 2:Take ResponsibilityHal Portner
»Get Set for the Best Year Yet!Sue Gruber
»UPDATE!! Hooray! I did it!Sue Gruber
»"Getting to Know Each Other"Activities, part 1Leah Davies
»School is a VerbTodd R. Nelson
»5 Classroom TipsMarvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac
»Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman

»Who’s Cheating Whom? (Part 2)
»Responsibility Equals Participation
»The Classic Pirate
»August 2008 Writing Prompts
»UNESCO Survey Finds Underprivileged Children Also Disadvantaged in the Classroom
»Good Grades Are Nice – But Mastery is Better
»A Teaching Guide for Libby Bloom
»Brain Based Learning Chat Transcript with Dr. Daniel S. Janik
»Being Mentored Chat Transcript with Hal Portner
»6 Traits Writing chat
»Make the Call!
»High School Physics - "First" or "Last" - Must and Can Be Mathematical

»What would you do...
»Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids
»A Candle of Inspiration: August 2008
»School Photographs for August 2008
»Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: August 2008
»Video Bytes: Mathmaticious, Stand up for P.E.!, Becoming a teacher and More
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration for August 2008
»Live on Teachers.Net: August 2008
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers
»Lighting a Spark About College
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Alan Haskvitz

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Alfie Kohn, Marvin Marshall, Cheryl Sigmon, Marjan Glavac, Todd R. Nelson, Hal Portner, Leah Davies, Barbara Pressman, Tim Newlin, James Wayne, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Amy Otchet, James Burns, Michael Olson, Stewart E Brekke, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Joan Masters, and YENDOR.

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Barbara Pressman

Advice for Substitute Teachers
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

"How Should I Handle an Uncooperative Classroom Aide" and "How to get a full time job?"
Substitute teachers seek Barbara's advice for dealing with an uncooperative classroom aide and how to position oneself for a permanent teaching position.
by Barbara Pressman
New Regular contributor to the Gazette
August 1, 2008

Dear Barbara - Advice for Substitute Teachers

The author of Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008) writes monthly in response to questions from Substitute Teachers.

Teachers.Net asked Barbara how she came to be interested in writing for substitute teachers. Her response:
I have subbed for many years during my teaching career. When my children were small, I found subbing to be a wonderful "free lance" job. At that time, I took on a 6th grade long term subbing assignment, which led me back to full time teaching. Upon retirement, I went back to subbing once again. Currently, I mentor college students who sub in K-8 classrooms, under a special program called SMaRT (Substitutes with Mentors for Realistic Teaching) at Florida Atlantic University. I work side by side in the classroom to demonstrate effective teaching and subbing practices.

How Should I Handle an Uncooperative Classroom Aide?

Dear Barbara,

I often sub in a second grade class with a teacher’s aide with an attitude. She sits on her chair and does nothing. The student that she is assigned to help (a boy with ADHD) becomes disruptive because he is not getting the help he needs. I’m sure when the regular teacher is in school, the aide does her job. But when I’m in the room, she decides to take the day off.

I have asked her for help, but she gives me "a look," then gets off the chair slowly, and walks to her student. It’s gotten to the point where I feel uncomfortable asking for her help.

It is not in my nature to be confrontational, but it seems unfair to the child, the other students, and me! This teacher’s aide is making my life miserable. How should I handle it?

Adam in Minnesota

Dear Adam,

I can understand how you must feel. People like the teacher’s aide you are describing have a distinct way of intimidating others. But remember, you are in charge of that classroom for the day. It’s just as important to guide the teacher’s aide as it is to guide your students. Classrooms run smoothly when the teacher controls the flow.

You need not be confrontational. With a take charge tone, you must tell her that her assistance is needed right now, and, if necessary, remind her frequently. If she gives you her "look", ignore it. Pretend you didn’t see it. If you display an aura of confidence, you leave her no choice but to do her job.

It’s important for you to feel comfortable in your subbing assignments. Establish your role with confidence each day. If an aide is with you, express your respect for her, thank her in advance, but be a clear leader in that classroom.


How to get a full time job?

Dear Barbara,

I have been working for 3 years in the same school system. I would like to get a full time job there, but I sense that it’s not going to happen. I feel as if I’m invisible sometimes. There are days when I just don’t feel respected.

How can I get the administration to notice and appreciate me?

Christina in Kansas

Dear Christina,

You are not alone. Many subs feel the same way, and you are correct in thinking that some people don’t take subs seriously. If you have that feeling of isolation and a lack of respect, there are a few things you should do.

Always leave a complimentary note for the classroom teacher. Say you would love to sub in his or her class again.

Try to strike up a conversation with the principal. Tell him or her what a nice class you are working with today. Mention that you admire the way the school is run. When you see the principal, make small talk, just as you would with any other teacher in the building. Be sure to express that you are interested in obtaining a full time position. Tell the administrations and other teachers about your goal.

If a long term subbing position is offered to you, take it! These positions are the best route to a full time job. They give you an opportunity to show your talents. Look at long term subbing as an audition for a teaching job. Administrators prefer hiring people who have proven their worth. Principals talk to one another, and often recommend good candidates to their colleagues.

Finally, if you can see that you are in a dead-end situation, put your name on the subbing list in another school system. You never want to feel as if people are taking you for granted. Get a fresh start somewhere else, where subs are appreciated!


Editor's note: Post your most interesting stories about Substitute Teaching here.

» More Gazette articles...

About Barbara Pressman...

Barbara Pressman is an adjunct professor at the College of Education, Florida Atlantic University. She has been a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, and a supervisor for student teachers for 10 years. She currently mentors Substitute Teachers as well.

Teachers.Net asked Barbara how she came to be interested in writing for substitute teachers. Her response:
I have subbed for many years during my teaching career. When my children were small, I found subbing to be a wonderful "free lance" job. At that time, I took on a 6th grade long term subbing assignment, which led me back to full time teaching. Upon retirement, I went back to subbing once again.

Barbara is the author of book
Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008), available in all major bookstores and To find out more, visit:

Substitute Teachers:
Barbara invites you to submit your question by email. Your question could appear in a future column!

Barbara Pressman Articles on Teachers.Net...
Related Resources & Discussions on Teachers.Net...