I’ve been out sick for the last two days, and writing sub plans was a miserable experience. I know some of it is the fact that I was sick and just completely uninterested in work. I pretty much spent three days on the couch drooling on myself.
The other part is that I’m still not sure how to make a sub day worthwhile. Part of it is finding a good sub, but that’s pretty tough right now since I’m new to high school, and a good sub in middle school is not the same as a good sub in high school. It’s also just difficult to know what a sub will actually get through. I’ve had subs finish my plans in 20 minutes, and I’ve had them only get through half my plans. There’s also the case that a sub will say they got through everything well, but the kids disagree and are totally confused. (This is definitely something they don’t teach you in grad school.)
The common default is show a video. That way the sub can’t really mess things up. Ok fine. You know what they’re getting, but are they actually learning? My default in AVID was to run a peer study group (PSG). That’s because it’s 100% student directed, and the sub doesn’t even need to be in the room. The students have issues to bring to the table, and they also have a vested interest. Best of all the students write a reflection as part of the PSG so I get an additional 30 sub reports.
What do you do in a content class though? This year so far I’ve mostly gone with read book and take notes. It’s not the most interesting day, but since the students will have a quiz on the material, and they’re getting class time instead of homework there’s some motivation to do the work. It’s not a great plan but it gets the job done.
The hard part this time was the two days in a row, and then coming back into a block day. The whole week has to be built around our block days (2, 4, 6 on Wednesday, and odd numbers on Thursday). It’s extremely hard to go into the block days with no real knowledge of what happened on the previous two days. I guess it’s one of those lovely eternal problems of teaching. I can’t help but think that someone has figured out a real solution to the sub issue though.