When Should A Substitute Ask For Help?
Just about every substitute teacher has worked in a classroom where one or more of the children is out of control. At times, this may mean asking for reinforcements, whether it’s help from a nearby teacher, sending a child to the principal’s office, or otherwise getting help from another adult to keep the class under control. There is no shame in asking for help from someone else, but you also do not want to be known as the substitute who calls the office for every little discipline issue. There are at least three situations when asking for help is not only acceptable but likely the most appropriate action.
Pay Attention to the Teacher’s Notes
Some students do not do well with change, including something as simple as having a different teacher in the classroom. The teacher may have left a message in the notes about a specific child or specific children. For example, it might say, “If Johnny is causing a disruption, send him to the resource room,” or “If Suzy starts crying or screaming, contact the teacher next door.” Do not wait for the problem to get bigger. Experience has helped the teacher understand the best way to handle this specific child’s meltdown. If the issue is resolved early, it may not blow-up into a bigger problem.
You Fear for Your Safety or the Safety of Other Students
Anytime a child has brought a weapon into the classroom, school officials should be contacted right away. Even a child who is throwing scissors or starting a fist fight with other children, though, could lead to injury to other children. Contact the office ASAP if you fear for the safety of yourself or any of the students.
The Disruption Has Interrupted the Learning Process
Two students talking while you are trying to lecture or a student poking another student while they are doing a math assignment may cause a minor disruption to the learning process. When possible, either ignore the issue or ask the student to stop, whichever feels most appropriate for the situation. If the disruption continues, you may need to move the student or warn the student that a call to the principal’s office will follow if the behavior does not stop.
If the behavior does not stop, send the student or students to the principal’s office. Either let the office know that the students are headed down to the office or have someone from the office come get the students. While it might be embarrassing to admit that you cannot handle a disruption in the classroom, even regular teachers sometimes have to remove students from their classroom. Plus, if the issue is getting worse, it is harming the other students’ learning.
If you would like more tips on classroom management, contact us.