What Is Making Me Mad Today? (part two in a series)

Today I am mad because I caught Larynx Leprosy and was out of school for three days last week, and on the last day, my classes got stuck with the Rogue Sub.

For those of you who are not familiar with this stereotype, let me explain.

The Rogue Sub does not follow the teacher's lesson plans. She sometimes complains to the class about the worthlessness of the teacher's lesson plans, and then she picks and chooses what to share with the class. She ignores the teacher's request for notes detailing her classes' behavior and work ethic, and she rearranges the teacher's desk so the teacher cannot find anything when she returns.

I hate the Rogue Sub.

I planned this week's lessons around the expectation that my students would have completed the work I left for them, but apparently my directions were too confusing for the Rogue Sub to follow, and yes, that is what she told my students, that my lesson plans were unclear and she didn't know what I wanted her to do.


Here is what I sent, and I know she got it because it was on my desk this morning with a note from a student in my fourth period class.

Please write the following on the board.

Schools should/should not switch to digital textbooks.
Schools should/should not do away with Homecoming Week activities.
The Harry Potter books are/are not better than the movies.
(could also be Lord of the Rings, Narnia, or Twilight)
It is/is not easier to be a teenager today than when your parents were young.
"With great power comes great responsibility." (Stan Lee) True or false?
"All good things to know are difficult to learn." (Greek proverb) True or false?
"Love is all you need." (Lennon/McCartney) True or false?

Students should choose ONE topic and write a speech, either supporting or opposing.

Please read the following to the class:

Today you're writing a speech. It's practice, so that by the time you write your giant five-minute speech, you'll know exactly what you're doing. You'll need to write an introduction, in which you state your opinion. Are you FOR digital textbooks? Then you tell me that in the intro. Do you AGREE with Stan Lee? Intro. Is John Lennon right? INTRO. An introduction, of course, needs to consist of MORE THAN ONE SENTENCE.

Before you even THINK about writing the introduction, however, you need to come up with AT LEAST THREE reasons why you're right. And once you've brainstormed those three reasons, you'll need to decide how you're going to support them. Remember, "because I said so" is NEVER a good argument. Given your lack of resources today, you're going to have to rely on yourselves as sources. THIS DOES NOT MEAN that you can write sentences such as, "That's my opinion," or "That's what I think." But you can use your personal experience to provide support.

For example, if I wrote a speech titled, "Teaching is Awesome," the first paragraph might say something like this, "One reason that teaching is awesome is that I get to meet so many wonderful people. The perfect example is my 1B class, which is the best class I have ever taught or will ever teach in my whole life. This class has the most amazing students, who always turn in their work on time, never complain, and come to class eager to learn. They make my life worth living."

Once you've got your three reasons SUPPORTING your opinion, you'll need to think of one thing that other people might say in opposition. Address that opposing opinion in your paper.

Example: "Some people might say that teachers don't make enough money. While I do agree with that statement, I will say that teaching offers other compensations. I may not be able to put gas in my car, but when I'm walking ten miles to school, uphill, carrying a hot potato to keep my fingers from freezing off, I think of my 1B class. When I see their smiling faces, I forget all about my negative bank balance, because the privilege of being their teacher is the only payment I need."

Finally, you'll need to conclude your paper and, as you know, your conclusion must consist of more than one sentence.

P.S. You'll be presenting these speeches on Tuesday. And since I will be dragging myself off my deathbed to hear them, THEY HAD BETTER BE GOOD.

I don't see what's so confusing about "Please read the following to the class." Is it because I didn't include the word "aloud"? Should I have defined the word "read"?

Not only did she NOT read anything aloud to my students, but she also wrote only four of my speech topics on the board, and then she told my students to write one paragraph about their chosen topic. ONE PARAGRAPH.

I had planned to use tomorrow for speech presentations and critiques, but apparently she also told them to go ahead and read their speeches PARAGRAPHS to the class. Which was clearly NOT part of the lesson plan.

Oh, but it gets better.

She also taught one of my world history classes, and by "taught," I definitely mean "completely ignored my instructions."

Once again, here is the lesson plan:

Please write the following on the board:

geography skills pg 759
history and arts pg 760
section review pg 761 (not #8)
geography skills pg 763
science, technology, and society, pg 764
infographics, pg 766
connecting to the united states, pg 769
section review pg 770 (YES to #8, but downgrade to a paragraph; and by "paragraph," please explain that I mean NO FEWER THAN FIVE COMPLETE SENTENCES THAT ARE PROPERLY SPELLED, USE CORRECT PUNCTUATION, AND FOLLOW CONVENTIONAL GRAMMAR RULES.)
analyzing visuals, pg 771
standardized test practice, pg 785, #1-9, 19, 20

Students may write all their work on the same paper, as long as each section is clearly labeled. This work is to be completed individually. ALL WORK MUST BE TURNED IN WHETHER IT IS COMPLETED OR NOT.

And here is a text I got from one of my students on Friday afternoon:

Student: I hope you get better soon. Because these subs are getting freaking crazy. haha but besides that you are an awesome teacher. [Ed. note: sniff, tear]

Me: Haha, nice afterthought. How was class today? Were you good?

Student: I was very good. However, the sub was crrrrrraaazyy. Like she gave us her own lecture about current events with palestine and stuff for some reason. And she was like i don't know why you have to learn about world war one. And then a lot of illegible [sic] things that took 45 mins of class. So no one finished the work because she didn't know what she was talking about and made her own thesis about what to do in class all day until someone asked to read your instructions. She also talked about her husband who went to vietnam and how she didn't really love him. And how he died from medical problems. Twas crazy.

And so, once again, I am screwed in regards to what I had planned to teach, because the Rogue Sub has some sort of comprehension issue. My kids have NO idea what's going on, because they're more confused than ever. Meanwhile, I can't find ANYTHING on my desk, so I don't know what work my classes have or haven't done.

Sigh. This is why I will die at school, because I can't subject my students to another day with the Rogue Sub.


Jude said...

I would have loved to have subbed for your classes. The classes that drove me crazy when I subbed were those where I was just supposed to stick in a movie and babysit. Your sub plans would have been not only easy to follow, but fun to teach. We seem to never get rid of the bad subs at our school--in fact, perhaps because they're desperate for jobs, some of them show up more often than the better subs. I once subbed where I was supposed to have them watch a movie, but the video the teacher left behind was blank. After that, I prepared a "sub kit" which had movies on many different topics, prepared lesson plans, and other information so I could better wing it. Your lesson plans, on the other hand, are a beautiful thing.

waddachutz said...

Wow, I have also had subs like that. Needless to say, the kids loved to complain about the crazy sub. In fact, there were a few times I knew I was going to be gone and they were like "Who's going to be the sub? It better not be ___!" Why do we bend over backwards to make sure subs have good plans (and I feel for the subs who come into classrooms that don't have plans, like Jude mentions, which is why I'll never do that to anyone). I make sure to spell out things that I think should be obvious and most subs will write a note thanking me for the detailed plans, but we have one or two who just don't get it. In fact, there have been two times when I was sick that I instructed our principal NOT to call a specific sub because the time before had been so horrible (and I explained why to my boss). It's harder to be gone, anyway - I'd rather go to school sick! Loved your example to the class with the speech, by the way! No wonder your kids think you are "an awesome teacher"! :)

teachin' said...

Though I'm sorry you had such a crappy sub, I loved reading this post. :)

Ryan said...

We had a sub leave a note for one of my math teachers saying that the teacher didn't understand what subs were there for, and asking a sub to introduce a new concept was asking too much.

That particular gentleman is not welcome back in our district.


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