As I was subbing the other day, and lamenting the behavior of the terrible chorus children I had in those classes, I longed to have my own classroom. Then I thought to myself, “why would my own students be any better behaved than these? If I can’t get a sub class to behave, how can I get mine to act like human beings instead of primates?” The answer: structure.
I must say that I do enjoy being able to go to different music classrooms throughout the county to work with the students, explain things differently, work the music in a new way, etc. and I like not having the responsibility of paperwork. (I also love teaching private lessons!) Despite all this, I think that I would like to have my own classroom. I’ve come to realize that these sub classes are like experiments for the day when I get a long-term position, and for helping me develop my classroom management skills. I feel that I am not particularly good at behavior management; I feel either too strict or to lenient. I HAVE noticed, however, that the students who I sub for regularly have begun to get used to me and to the way I do things, and that is the key: structure. Students usually enjoy having a set routine, knowing what to expect, and being aware of their responsibilities and what is expected of them. Writing the schedule on the board, doing the same procedure at the beginning of each class, and having everything in its assigned place will help students to feel calm and ready for the day. It’s when something different happens (a sub, power outage, fire drill, etc.) that they go bonkers.
To my fellow new teachers: it does get better! I was terrified out of my mind when I got thrown in as a long-term sub (all of second semester) for the orchestra and piano classes at a magnet school. I had literally no direction and very little info, but over time it did get better. I got used to being the teacher, and the students got used to how I did things. I can’t say that I am particularly experienced or an awesome teacher, but I definitely feel much more comfortable now than I did at the start. If anyone has any stories they’d like to share about their new teacher experiences, please do! Also, I recommend reading “Finding Mrs. Warneke”. Very inspirational and encouraging for new teachers.
Have a wonderful and musical day!