Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Last night I was busy writing up my note for the teacher.  He'll be back tomorrow, and I'll be off to another assignment.  That's the way subbing goes. 

Since it was a seven-day assignment, I typed up my note on the computer.  I think better when I'm composing on a word processing program, probably because I get such awful writer's cramp when I use a pen.  This way, I also get to keep a copy of what I wrote (all but what I add at the end for what happened today). 

This is not usually the way I do notes to the teacher.  After some time subbing, I came up with a way to streamline the process. 

What I usually do is to "grade" the class.  I have my own system.  I made up a grid and a "grading rubric".  I found that it goes so much quicker to jot down a number and a couple notes rather than trying to compose a full on note every day. 

My grid has four columns.  In the first column I give the class three scores.  The first score is for behavior.  For example, a class that was silent and on task for the period gets my highest score (some teachers reward this).  A class where "some made better use of their time than others" gets a middling score. 

I use the second score to rank the classes best to worst (although some days I skip that one).  And the final score is the answer to a question: did they cooperate with me?  (That answer is usually "mostly" or "somewhat".  They are teenagers, after all.) 

As for the other three columns, I list who left the class for whatever reason (to office, to restroom), any names that I need to list (good or bad), and any miscellaneous stuff that isn't covered in any of the other columns. 

I found that my system cut down on the time it took to write a note.  I can usually have the period noted in about a minute. 

But when I work a class for longer than a day or two, I like to leave more detail.  So, while I didn't need to list a lot of misbehavior this time, I did want to give a sense of what the classes were like while the teacher was away.  I think I captured it nicely. 

Then again, tomorrow I'm only going to be a couple doors down from this class, so I could just tell him. 

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