Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Not Quite Right

Seventh grade English. They were reading The Hobbit.

The day's assignment was for them to finish reading chapter eight and answer comprehension questions.

I explained the assignment to first period.

"But we listen to the book..."

Sigh. Of course they do.

The great thing about listening to literature is that they get to hear words they're not familiar with. Many are struggling readers. They might not even try without the help.

But leaving a sub the audio is tricky.

It used to be that there'd be a CD, and I'd play that on a boombox. Nowadays, all of the classrooms have installed speakers that one connects a computer to. The audio is a digital file.

The teacher can leave that all for a sub, but that means leaving their laptops and/or their login information. Sometimes it's really not worth the trouble.

So, knowing all this, I informed the class they were going to be doing things differently that day. And it's not a bad thing to have them change things up once in a while.

However, middle schoolers hate change.

Before I had a chance to give my "you can read it to yourselves today" speech, my co-teacher spoke up.

It was one of those lovely co-caught classes where a number of the students are special ed, so there's a general ed teacher as well as a special ed teacher working together. Both teachers were out, so we two subs were supervising the class. This is a very good thing as many times those classes can be more challenging behavior-wise, especially when there's a sub (or two).

The co-teacher said he could try to find the book on YouTube. I figured, why not?

After dealing with some technical issues, he did manage to find it. He got it all connected and going...

"But that's not what we've been listening to. He's not doing the voices..."


Seventh graders... We just can't win.


  1. Nope, you can't win. 7th graders are impossible.

    1. At least they're not as bad as last year's 7th graders. They were awful. (Now they're awful 8th graders.) But still 7th grade, so...

  2. Ugh... Real life is gonna hit many of the reg ed kids so hard they won't know which end is up one day. Good luck to you and them, both, my dear.

  3. I think I would've said "It's either the youtube video, or you're all going to stand up and take turns reading a page." :)

    1. Oh man, you do not know the torture of making them read out loud. It's doable, sure. It's a fairly common sub assignment. But man, is it painful! It would have been way worse than this. (This is why they were going to read on their own if there was no audio.)

  4. Liz,

    I remember in junior high I was in a slow reading class. I think this was meant to help improve my annual testing scores which I'm not sure that it ever helped because I'm one of these individuals who don't test well no matter how well prepared I am but anyhow back on topic, I remember reading along with an audio cassette and I really enjoyed that. I don't remember there ever being much problems when I was a kid with my teachers or subs like the things you've encounter which makes me wonder how accurate my memory is. Hmmm, at least you found what was needed.

  5. No, you really can't. The co-teacher should've just listened to you.

  6. What grade do you actually start winning at? It is good though with the 2 teachers in the room. Perhaps safety in numbers?


  7. It becoming tough and challenging, time to change

  8. We were all terrible kids at one point in our lives.

  9. Oh brother, I think it is important they engage their brain and read with their eyes every once in a while. By doing this they can hear the right voices.

  10. Did you have a copy of the book? I would have just read it to them, lol. But I get the whole struggle with change thing, having an eight grader of my own.


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