Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Subbing Reflections: Supplies

In continuing the series on Subbing Reflections, which started here.  I wanted to talk a little bit about supplies.  This is probably an area where I failed the most as a substitute.

I was always told that a good substitute always has a "Bag of Tricks" which to me sounded awesome!  I wanted to have a Bag of Tricks.  But one thing led to another and I found myself going to school with things to entertain myself with rather than the students.  It seemed like they were more busy than I was.  Which in all reality the students having work is far better than me working but still.  My mind quickly forgot about the need for a Bag of Tricks.

A couple of times however I was reminded of this.  The first was a day when I was doing some sort of project with the students and they needed to use a stapler and tape.  Unfortunately the teacher locked up all of her things and forgot to leave out the stapler and tape.  It was a mess.  At first I just kept telling the students I didn't have one.... that did not last long!  After about the millionth tenth person came to ask me for these things, I realized I needed to find some.  I sent a student next door to ask the very generous teacher in his nicest kindest voice for some supplies.  Thankfully the teacher let us use her things so the students could complete their project.

Another time I had to cover a the latter half of a Friday afternoon for a math teacher.  She was going home because she had an awful night/day etc, which is fine, but she had no motivation to plan for me and just wanted to go home.  So she said the most dreaded words a substitute can hear (especially for high schoolers on FRIDAY) "Just give them study hall."  I wanted to pull my hair out and scream NOOOOOOOO!  But I held it together, smiled, and said "Okay." ugh.  Once she left I quickly pulled up Discovery Education's Free Puzzlemaker and began working!  I made a handful of activities for the students to occupy themselves with.  And thankfully it worked!  There were only a couple of complaints but I can handle that much better than a group of chaotic, loud, always trying to find something to get into teenagers!

So my tip for substitutes is always have a bag of tricks with you.  Essential every day use items are essential to have with you in case the teacher doesn't provide them.  Also have things to keep the students busy in case the teacher doesn't provide anything.  Teachers... leave your subs supplies!!!  I know it may be a pain to leave things out but it helps subs out soo much.

Do any of you have special things you leave for substitutes?  Do any of you substitutes have a bag of tricks? If so, what do you have in it?  Finally,, does anyone use the free puzzlemaker?? It is one of my favorite tools and can be used for so many different things.

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