First Grade Substitute

I picked up a two day assignment as a First Grade substitute last week.  The students were all polite and they were doing their work and then I told them to line up for lunch.  I saw some pushing and shoving and they were all talking, so I told them how to behave while they were on line.  Any teacher working with elementary-age students knows that getting students to line up quietly and safely can be a daunting task and this is even more difficult when you are a substitute.  Teachers are responsible for picking up and delivering children to and from their classroom when going to lunch, physical education, recess or other activities.  Getting students to line up several times a day and move through their school safely, quietly, and in a controlled manner will be difficult if the students are not under control.

I told my First Grade students that their behavior outside of the classroom is a direct reflection on how well of a substitute teacher the school will perceive me to be.  I told them that if they are disorderly in line that the other teachers in the school would say, “That Mr. Adams is not a very good teacher, because he cannot control his students.”  I told all of them that they must form a straight line, keeping their hands to themselves, and most important they must all be quiet.  Most First Grade students are looking for any opportunity to talk, so I blew my cheeks out and I told my whole class to put a bubble in their mouths.

We had a short walk to the cafeteria and they did not do well in their line walking skills, so I knew that we would have to do some more practice after I brought them back from lunch.  When we got back to the class, I told all of them how disappointed I was with the way they were walking on line.  I reminded them that after a short time of Reading that we would be lining up again to go to the Media Center and that if they did not do better, than I would cancel recess today and we would all be practicing how to walk in lines.  I am not a strict substitute teacher, but this is a lesson that they needed to learn.

I told them that walking in a line is much easier than rocket science or brain surgery and that all they really had to do was listen to the commands that I gave them.  When I told them to go, they should start walking and they should stop at every intersection.  They did much better going to the Media Center and back to the classroom, but we still had two more trips to make (PE and recess) and I knew that they could still improve.  They stopped when they were supposed to and then I told them to proceed.  They gave me a funny look and asked me what proceed means and I told them that it means that they should continue walking.  I told them that if they did good while walking to and from PE, that I would teach them a song to sing while they were lining up for recess.

They did better again and I knew that all of these students were smart and then they asked me about the song.  I told them that the song was called ‘Heigh Ho’ and that it was from a movie called ‘Snow White’.  I let them know that this song is the Dwarfs’ Marching Song and that these seven little guys would sing it every time they went to and came home from work.  Then I taught them the lyrics and we sang it on our way to recess and on the way back to the class.

Well, we dig dig dig
Well, we dig in our mine the whole day through
Dig dig dig, that is what we like to do
And it ain’t no trick to get rich quick
If you dig dig dig, with a shovel and a pick
Dig dig dig, the whole day through
Got to dig dig dig, it’s what we like to do in our mine, in our mine
Where a million diamonds shine
We got to dig dig dig, from the morning till the night
Dig dig dig up everything in sight
We got to dig dig dig, in our mine, in our mine
Dig up diamonds by the score
A thousand rubies, sometimes more
But we don’t know what we are diggin’ for, yeah
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho
It’s off to work we go
We keep on singing all day long
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho
Got to make your troubles go
Well, you keep on singing all day long
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho

8 thoughts on “First Grade Substitute

  1. It sounds like you found that making a game of it (Bubble in mouth and Snow White song) was much more successful than a lecture about how you appear to other teachers. (That said, you are right, we DO notice chaotic sub situations)

    I will preference this by saying I teach intermediate, but when walking the “littles” one or two successful tricks have been:
    “Let’s see if we can sneak up on the PE teacher” – Walk with exaggerated tip-toes
    “Let’s pretend to be quiet little mice” Walk with hands shaped like ears on head…
    And the kindergarten has them grab a bubble and put it in their mouths.

    Liked by 1 person

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