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Be a "Stand-Up" Teacher

Updated on December 16, 2017
Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle worked for 20 years in elementary schools as a sub teacher, eventually presenting teacher training workshops in Orange County, CA.

OK-- so he is sitting on his deathbed. I'll bet he usually stood up when he taught.

Socrates, the teacher, stood up for what he believed-- even when he was sitting down.
Socrates, the teacher, stood up for what he believed-- even when he was sitting down. | Source

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.

Keep Moving

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.

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.

Keep Circulating

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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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thank you, Lord. Amen. We get used to it, we learn to deal or we find something else to do. I rather enjoyed it most of the time, even with the challenges.

      Thanks, Cardisa. I guess I should have been standing.

      You are right, shellyakins. It's always better if they don't know how much (or how little) you know.

    • shellyakins profile image

      shellyakins 6 years ago from Illinois

      I'm a sub and I circulate the room constantly, even if I'm teaching High School AP Chemistry which I have no hope of helping the students with their assignment. But it keeps the kids on task.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Wow, hitting your ankle really hurt me! This is really good advice for any teacher. You are right about maybe missing the student who has trouble catching up or has a short attention span.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 6 years ago

      I remember my classmates making fun of them or cracking up nasty jokes...Knowing the limits and getting away with that. Now that I'm older, I really feel for these substitutes. The more lay off, the more they will be around. Thanks for this useful hub!


    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      It keeps them more focused and the teacher more aware of what is happening. Thanks for the comment, LearnFromMe.

    • LearnFromMe profile image

      LearnFromMe 6 years ago

      Great advice for subs and new teachers! As a teacher, I always found that being on the move in the classroom was best for monitoring students and keeping them on their toes. To activly listen, they had to follow the movement of my voice! Voted up!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thank you , beverlydenise22. Yes it does show that you care, and that you care about doing a good job. The regular teacher will usually appreciate the effort. Are you a sub?

    • profile image

      beverlydenise22 6 years ago

      I really appreciate this advice because I don't feel that too many people know the importance of walking around the classroom and interacting with the students. It certainly helps the kids to see that you have a personal interest in them and that you are not distancing yourself from them. Kids love for you to be visible and approachable.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      It require a little more stamina, but it really helps you to know what is going on.

      As I mentioned in another subbing article, the odds are sometimes 35 to one. There's no way you can see everything, but you have to try.

      Thank you S.D. Stephenson, I think I know where you are coming from.

    • S.D. Stephenson profile image

      S.D. Stephenson 6 years ago from Brooklyn New York

      Good advice, walking around the room is one way to ensure good classroom management.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks, RGraf. Keeping an eye on what is happening, really helps.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very good advice. The sub needs to be always be in a "control" position.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 9 years ago from California Gold Country

      When i am doing a Saw-Whet Owl program at a school, I do stand for the program, but in these cases, the regular teachers are present with their classes, so I don't really have to deal with misbehavor. I think when youu are presenting, as a guest, there is not the same dynamic-- but it's still a good idea to test where you lean or sit. Pratfalls are ok for comics-- but we are SERIOUS . . .right?

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Good advice for we visiting authors, too! thanks.