I’ll admit it. I’m a bit anal retentive. Okay, a lot. However, I think it’s okay to want things my way – especially in my own classroom where the quality control is pretty exclusively under my control. Sometimes, unfortunately, I miss a day of school – relatively rarely, but it happens. When it does, I come in contact with two of my least favorite things:
Substitute Plans & Substitutes
1. Substitute Plans – I was a substitute teacher for 2.5 years before I finished my credential & got my own classroom (a rare slacky period of my life). Incomplete / vague substitute plans are terrible! I am So Clear And Precise in my substitute plans (for example, yesterday’s were 6 pages long – I know. Don’t say it.) specifically because a) I know how difficult it is to decipher unclear plans, and b) I know I am anal retentive and like things done my way.
2. Substitute Teachers – In general, there are only two types of substitute teachers (with some notable and much loved exceptions) – those who didn’t get teaching jobs & those who chose not to teach full time (usually due to small children or retirement). The former tend to be marginal disciplinarians (i.e. why they didn’t get a teaching job) & the latter over-opinionated teachers who do things their way despite the teacher’s plans (guess who I had yesterday, eh?). Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon someone who does an excellent job of following directions (basically what I am looking for in a substitute), but they generally get full-time teaching jobs the subsequent year. Since I am rarely absent, I usually don’t get to take advantage of them more than once.
I left explicit substitute plans. Explicit. You’ll have to take my word (although I am tempted to post an excerpt in the comments to show how thorough I am. My substitute decided that she wanted to do things her way, even when the kids expressed apprehension. Normally I wouldn’t have minded SO much (explaining things in a different way is good for them), but she chose to do things that I do later (like listening to the CD, doing practice book pages I save as story reviews, sending home long division homework even though it was our first day on it?!) instead of following my instructions (reading the story out loud to facilitate predictions / model how a good reader reads, doing the vocabulary / introduction practice book pages not the ones that require inferences – difficult after only one read of the story, sending home the multiplication homework that reviewed last week’s math concepts). Grr.
My poor kiddos were confused & several had notes from their parents saying their children were having trouble getting started on their math homework / were worried they had done the practice book pages incorrectly, etc. Bah!
I like to think I wouldn’t be as irritated if I hadn’t expressly spelled out each step of my lesson plans on my 6-page document that I typed at 1am (but checked today to make sure it was thorough – rest assured, it was). Honestly, I probably still would’ve been irritated, but it would’ve been at myself if I had been vague.
I need a cheerful entry soon.