Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I subbed for a middle school band teacher last week.  It was mostly a pretty good day.  I've discovered this year that I LOVE subbing for music classes.  I've always been intimidated by the conducting part of it, but I can just make a kid do it and all goes well (enough)!

The first hour was 7th grade band and they were WILD and LOUD but when they started playing they were fun to listen to.  I asked a kid to direct who had an especially loud voice and when he came in to the room that morning, he played the piano brilliantly so I guessed he had some big talent and would know his way around the music, which he did, but there was another kid who I thought was his friend, who was endlessly needling him and would mess up just to make noise and give the kid a hard time.  I think he was trying to be funny, but it wasn't even funny the first time he did it and after that it just got more and more and more annoying.  Eventually he yelled out something about Bill Cosby to the kid-director and I didn't really get it, but I think it had something to do with the fact that the student-director was black. I told the yeller he crossed a line and to sit down and be quiet or go to the office, and he chose to sit down.  Later the principle came in and asked me about it and I got the feeling he thought I should have reported it as harassment right then and there, but like I said, the kid was SUPER obnoxious and was trying to get a rise out of his friend and make his classmates laugh, and he failed miserably on both counts.  I feel bad about it now because I think maybe I should have written the kid up right then.  Little jerk. 

Second hour was 8th grade band and although I'm not the biggest fan of 8th graders, these kids were fantastic.  Again, I chose a student-director that seemed to have some musical know-how and a loud voice and let him have the reins.  He was fabulous.  The kids had recently gotten music for the high school song and were just starting to learn it.  They were supposed to practice it and it sounded horrid.  The kids were so cute because every single one of them was reading the music and blowing into their instruments with utter desperation, but it just sounded like they were tuning up.  The student-director stopped them and very dryly said, "I think it's important that we play more of the notes right."  I just about died laughing. 

Throughout the day the kids came in for lessons and luckily I had a DVD that gave guided instruction for lessons and they all did really well. 

Towards the end of the day I had General Music and was warned that there were a few extreme behavior problems.  I appreciated the warning, but within a half a second of the first kid coming in, I could have figured it out myself.  They were like posturing apes in a zoo.  I couldn't even get them to sit down and finally I had to gong the gong and tell them that they got three strikes and then they were going to the office and "you, you, you and you all have one already."  That at least got them seated.  Then I told them their assignment for the day and passed out a few more strikes.  They got relatively quiet and about 70% of the class was working diligently, but there were four boys who were decidedly more obnoxious than the others.  Thankfully it wasn't too long before two of them had earned their third strike and I sent them to the office with discipline referrals.  For a long time I was wary of doing that, but I don't know why.  Now my go-to discipline method is to give them three strikes and they are out.  How do you handle discipline as a sub?

Aside from General Music, it was a pretty fun day! 

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