|Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.10||October 2008|
Cover Story by Eric P. Jensen|
A Fresh Look at
More than 20 years since it was first suggested that there could be connections between brain function and educational practice, and in the face of all the evidence that has now accumulated to support this notion, BBE guru Eric Jensen urges educators to take full advantage of the relevant knowledge from a variety of scientific disciplines.
|Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching|
|Boaz City Schools:|
Professional Learning Teams
|»||Change Isn’t Just for PoliticsCheryl Sigmon|
|»||Are you an Informal Teacher-Leader?Hal Portner|
|»||Strategies to Meet Standards, Promote Reading and Boost SkillsSue Gruber|
|»||Helping Children Cope with LossLeah Davies|
|»||The Future Votes NowTodd R. Nelson|
|»||The Brain and SleepMarvin Marshall|
|»||The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac|
|»||Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman|
|»||My Supervisor Hates Me! & Are These Kids Just Crazy?Kioni Carter|
|»||Spam! Spam! and More Spam!|
|»||FHA-Hero Program Creates Leaders|
|»||October 2008 Writing Prompts|
|»||A “Disruptive Behavior” Plan|
|»||More Than A Desk - Changing the Learning Environment|
|»||A Teaching Guide for Night Journey to Vicksburg|
|»||Computers in the Classroom|
|»||Cyberbullying Tips for Educators|
|»||The T-Netters Who Saved My Life|
|»||Teacher Starts Rock Band to Help Students Learn|
|»||Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids|
|»||School Photographs for October 2008|
|»||Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: October 2008|
|»||Video Bytes: Brain Based Education, Monday Morning, Rockin' the Standards and More|
|»||Today Is... Daily Commemoration for October 2008|
|»||Live on Teachers.Net: October 2008|
|»||The Lighter Side of Teaching|
|»||Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers|
|»||Alternatives to Halloween Party and Costumes|
|»||Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers|
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How much should I tell students about myself? & How can I keep the class quiet during independent work times?
Dear Barbara - Advice for Substitute Teachers
by Barbara Pressman
The author of Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
Regular contributor to the Gazette
October 1, 2008
How much should I tell students about myself?
I enjoyed your book, but I have a couple of questions that mystify me a bit. I'm a secondary English sub, and am afraid to introduce myself by doing as you suggest in the book, telling the class about me, as I don't know which classes I can trust. As you say in the book, much advice to the teacher of teenagers says not to smile until Christmas. I often feel that I need to be as stern and threatening as possible.
One other problem I often have is sometimes students secretively roll objects or make mouth sounds when the class is busy, and it would not seem effective to play detective. I've tried threatening to detain the class when the bell rings, but that threat never stops it. And when I move to the source of the sound, the source often moves too.
Thanks for the opportunity to communicate about this challenging job.
I’m glad you enjoyed the book!
Your concerns about subbing in secondary school are not unusual. It is a challenging age group. Let me address your questions one at a time.
As you can see, the introduction should be very short to start with. As you continue to sub, you might get more personal, but only if it feels comfortable. With secondary students, you must be aware of the climate of the group.
How can I keep the class quiet during independent work times?
I finally graduated with a teaching degree at the age of 53, and have been “subbing” for the last year and a half. I’m writing because I consistently seem to have a problem in the K-5 classrooms I teach in: what I refer to as “breakout talking.” I can have the students quietly working, and gradually the students begin to talk to one another at their tables, until the noise level rises to what I consider to be very unacceptable. (This happens while I am working on helping students who are having trouble, or trying to check student work, answer questions, etc.)
I then have to STOP the class, interrupting even those who ARE doing what they are supposed to be doing, to get order and quiet reestablished. This newly established order lasts anywhere from 3-10 minutes or so; then the whole cycle repeats itself – with me getting more and more frustrated.
I have tried having them sit quietly for 5 minutes or so with heads down on desks, to “practice quiet,” but enforcing that quiet, even for 5 minutes, is sometimes more exhausting than anything else. Invariably, someone will talk before the time is up; and we have to start all over again. In a way, this is the students controlling ME, because we are losing actual on-task working time, but I really don’t know what else to do!
Sometimes I call the principal or other administrator to come in and settle the class down, if it is too bad; however, as soon as they leave, the same thing happens! I don’t want to spend valuable class-time fighting this all day, but what do you do, when the whole class keeps getting out of control? Sometimes, nothing works! (One school I sub at is urban, lower-income, and I feel students are not really held accountable for their behavior. But this happens at the suburban schools somewhat, too.) I want to control the classroom and be the very best teacher I can be! HELP, please!
Sincerely, Christine, Newport, KY
Congratulations on your graduation and teaching degree. Subbing is a great way to get your foot in the door. The practical experience is invaluable.
I gather from your letter that students are quiet during teaching time. But when they begin independent or group work, “break out talking” begins. We all experience this problem. I have some suggestions for you:
Remember, rewards can be concrete, or verbal. Students love praise. “Thank you for working quietly, class.” The rewards for you will be worth it!