Be a "Stand-Up" Teacher
OK-- so he is sitting on his deathbed. I'll bet he usually stood up when he taught.
What is your position in the classroom as a classroom teacher?
I am reminded of the story about the job applicant who responded to the space labeled "position desired" by filling in the word "sitting".
Sitting down on the job, especially if you are a sub teacher, is not a good idea.
As a substitute teacher in control, you will rarely find yourself seated-- at least not for more than a few minutes. It's a job that keeps you on your feet.
There Are Times to Sit
1. When you are working with small groups and an assistant is monitoring the rest of the class.
2. In the "story time" chair when a lower grade class is seated on the floor in front of you.
3. During student oral reports or other presentations when you are behind the class or off to the side.
4. When the lesson is a movie, video or telecast.
In cases three and four, I try to put myself on a high perch so I can still oversee the group.
From painful personal experience I have to give a warning here: I once "perched" on the corner of a large table during a sixth grade TV lesson. As I perched, a table leg broke.
Ignore the Pain
The edge of the table had hit the outside of my left ankle and though I was in considerable pain, trying to suppress a primal scream, I managed to leap quickly to my feet before most of the class looked toward the source of the terrible crash.
Though I didn't know it, the leg on the table was loose, and I crashed to the floor, along with the items on the table-- clattering cans of pencils.
"Oh, don't worry," said one student matter-of-factly,"Mrs. Michael did that once, too."
I was glad that the room had been darkened for the program. Besides hiding the involuntary tears that brimmed in my eyes, it kept me from being seen in the embarrassing position of falling down on the job.
My ankle was swollen and blue for a week, but it served to remind me to test even the sturdiest-looking support from then on.
Staying on your feet is is important for many reasons. Some may joke that a moving target is harder to hit, but there are a lot of other good reasons to keep moving around when you are in a classroom.
A veteran teacher once told me that she rarely, if ever sat down in class during the first few weeks of school. "You can't really know who is actually listening, understanding, and working from behind your desk.," she explained.
Substitute teachers are almost always in a new situation. It's like being in the first few weeks of school.
Constant observation can tell us who followed directions, who isn't listening and who needs extra help. it also helps us notice the good, cooperative workers that are usually unnoticed.
If you stay in one place, you will never see the student who is silently struggling but too shy to ask for help.
When you move around you are also helping students to keep on task by reminding them of your presence.
As you come into the proximity of those who are prone to waste time of visit with neighbors, you can usually exert natural control, wordlessly.
"Don't you ever sit down?" I've had more than one child ask me that.
"Yes," I say, "after the bell rings."
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