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Monday, 28 May 2012

Questions Students Ask Teachers-On-Call

I read a great post over at Sub Hub about questions TTOCs get from students. The questions are the same as the ones I hear day to day but my answers are a little bit different....
No matter if I am subbing for an afternoon, a whole day, or an extended stay, not a day goes by that I don't hear these questions. I have gotten to where I have some fairly standard responses to them.
1. Where is Ms. So-and-So?
I usually say, "I am not sure, but they should be back tomorrow (or whenever I am scheduled until, if I don't know I say "soon") Sometimes it is fun to use a silly response. Here are some I read on another blog:
She's visiting Candyland today; she's spending the whole day doing nothing but eating cotton candy; she's auditioning for American Idol... anything crazily outlandish, and the sillier the better. Sometimes the students even get a kick out of trying to figure out if I am kidding or not.
2. What time is recess/lunch/specials?Usually I tell them how long, but I like this response:
It doesn't seem to matter whether it's kindergarten or fifth grade, someone always asks about times for standard parts of the schedule. In that case, I always have the same response. "It's the same time it's been all year." I know, it's sarcastic. But I always follow it up with a correct response.
3. Is this for a grade?I always tell them that their teacher asked me to collect it, so I would guess it is for marks. This is because if it isn't for marks, they tend to not put forth any effort.

4. Can we use markers? (or some toy, game, book)I ALWAYS say, "what is the usual rule?" Generally I try to stick to the regular classroom rules, if they aren't sure if they are usually allowed, I say no. Here is the subhub's response to this question:
Oh my, how those elementary kiddos love their markers! It makes them positively giddy if you say yes to that question. If it's something I know is a graded assignment, I ask what the normal rule is in the classroom. If it's something I know is enrichment or extra practice, I might say yes just to make them happy.
5. Can we work in partners/groups?
Depending on the class, I usually say yes, but that if it becomes too loud/off task/disruptive, the privilege is lost.
I also hear this a lot:

Ms. So-and-so does this....
I often look around and ask if I look like Ms. so-and-so... with younger children I usually start my day letting them know that while I love to learn how they do (this and that) in their classroom, that I go to a lot of different classrooms and I may do things a little bit different, just for today. Calendar time tends to be the thing most Primary classes need to be "exactly the same" every day, every teacher, no matter what.

I think it is important children learn to adapt to new faces and routines, but also to keep them feeling safe and comfortable. I try to have a helpful student run the show. Luckily, most primary classes have a "special friend" of the day who gets to run calendar and they usually know EXACTLY how it is done!

What questions do you hear often? How do you respond to those questions or any of these questions?

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