I knew I was in trouble when I saw the stack of work and the note from the previous sub. The teacher I was to cover had been out for a while, and I was the next sub. All I could do was to take a deep breath and hope for the best.
I found what I thought were the lesson plans. I wrote that assignment on the board. Then first period told me they had done that already. Uh boy...
As it turned out, the previous sub had left something for them to work on. It just took me a few minutes to figure out that's what he had done. After switching gears, I transitioned them into that assignment. At least they had something to do (and I didn't have to figure out what they should be doing on the fly).
They had workbook pages that went along with a story they read with the previous sub. I vaguely recall reading that story some time in the past, and the workbook pages were mostly about vocabulary, so I knew enough to fake it. But they were 8th graders. They didn't really want to work.
I had one boy beg me to just tell him the answer to number one. It was a fill-in-the-blank with a word bank. But the words were "too hard" and he didn't want to look them up. There were only four of these questions. I wasn't going to give him that one answer. (I was going to tell him he was correct, but he started guessing randomly, and that's just cheating.)
When I told another boy that he could look up the vocabulary words in the dictionary (which was conveniently under his desk), he told me it was too late in the day to use a dictionary.
One girl couldn't find her notebook. So, it had to have been stolen. As retaliation, she took another student's notebook. This student wasn't even in class, so he couldn't have stolen her notebook. When I pointed this out, she informed me that someone had to pay. Then I saw her notebook under the desk behind her (probably left there by her yesterday). She returned the other notebook.
I had another boy spend half the period looking for his essay. He was sure that the previous sub had stolen it. The essay wasn't due today (if they turned it in, they got extra credit), he wasn't planning on turning it in today, but it was an excellent excuse to get up and roam around the room. I put a stop to that real quick.
And finally, the girl half of this pair was in class today. She referenced the last time we had met. (I remembered her instantly.) I asked about the boy. They no longer sit next to each other.
The joys of 8th grade...