• Welcome! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

overlooking misbehavior in high school..



I'm just wondering from all of you, who mostly sub for high school, just how much you let your high school kids get away with.I sub at our high school which is about 1700 kids. (We only have the one high school in our county)I really love the kids. They're mostly just country kids- however, we have some of the same problems as every where else.They cuss sometimes before class starts(between each other)I act like I don't hear it, but sometimes do remind them that they are in class-NO CUSSING!
Also they copy each others work and homework sometimes. I see this, and usually don't say anything because I feel they are in a "learning mode". Sometimes it's Advanced Math- and they help each other out.However, I would NEVER allow cheating on a quiz or test.I also allow more bath room breaks than the teacher probably does- but I get a "feel" for the class before I do this.I sometimes allow them to finish the homework in class to turn in from the previous night IF it has a good start already.
I do let them listen to music IF they have finished their work, and have headphones,I can't hear it and they must stay in their seat.I also let the boys sometimes play cards at the end of class IF all their work is done, and again they stay in their seat. I have one main rule always in my class: Stay in your seat. Things tend to get out of hand if they don't!I'm just wondering if you other sub's of high school allow these same things.
We are on a block (1 1/2 hour classes.) There's only so much math you can do- especially if the substitute teacher can't help all that much with some of the upper math classes,or after a Physics test..
Sometimes they can read, do homework, or talk quietly.The girls LOVE this one! What are your "survival tips"? The kids like but don't love me- which is fine, and what I expect.I'm not there to be their friend.Most of the time- I don't have clear do's and don'ts from the teacher- so this is what I do in my classes.

mrs. pancake

New Member
i'm nodding my head

you sound like me! i'm much more lenient with high schoolers because they're generally mature enough to handle it. my thought is that they're in high school now and they need to take responsibility for their own actions--i'm not going to stand over them and make sure they're not cheating or cussing to each other.

also, i often sub special ed and end up in a co-teaching room, so i get the opportunity to see how the regular teacher runs the class. very often the regular teacher lets a lot of things go, too, because again--they're in high school and need to take care of themselves!


Senior Member
sounds like me, almost exactly.

Clasey, you are doing the right thing as far as I am concerned. I subbed today in "Going Through the Motions Senior High School". The teacher had their grades posted on the wall with only a number to identify them. I am not kidding you, over half in each class got "F"s. Now I ask you, what are you expected to do when subbing in a room and school such as this? Teach? I think not. I think you are doing fine, and like you say, you have acquired a feel for the class.
Just some random thoughts: Try to keep the noise down so any genuine student can do some work. Don't want them telling people that they couldn't get their work done in there, because the sub allowed too much nonsense and noise.
Also, talk to teachers and staff about what is allowed in the school insofar as cell phone policy, cussing and just generally how much they will put up with and what steps they would take to tone things down. When you find out, then fall right in line with those school wide rules.
One school where I sub requires me to confiscate a cell phone if it is even seen in a classroom. Another if it is heard.
These kids are downloading music with their cell phones. I doubt if any school allows phone calls to be placed or received during class, but if you let some kid listen to his ipod then do you allow another to listen to music on his cell phone?
Cussin' Be careful with this one as you might have some "goody two shoes" girl in your class who will go home and tell her parents. Also, I draw the line somewhere, but I can't really tell you where at any given time. For example, if I hear a boy call a girl a biotch, he is definately gone. I don't want to have her daddy come in the school and say the sub allowed it. And how can you let a guy stay in the room after that? I don't care if the girl tells me, "It is ok, mister". I let admin decide if it is ok. So what if a girl calls a guy a biotch? I don't know. I would have to hear the tone of voice and context. I mean, it is like this, I go into schools where the "F" word is flung around by girls and the teachers do nothing. What are they doing to do, call her parents? The parents talk like that.
So if you didn't hear it, then good. But if they are so stupid as to say it in front of you, then let someone else decide.


Survival Tips from Middle School

I have a few suvival tips that help me.
1. No bathroom breaks unless they are willing to serve a 5-15 minute detention for it. (if they are all done with work, they WANT to leave the room.) Those willing to serve detention, really have to go.
2. No music!! ( our district has a policy about teaching from bell to bell)
3. Bring a learning game with you. I made up a math jepordy game for my 8th graders. There are several games that can review their skills that are short enough to fill in the last 10 to 20 minutes of class. I recommend a Math fill in the blank game. Make up 26 answers to match the 26 letters from the alphabet, then draw spaces on the board with problems under each space. the first to solve the problem is the winner of a small prize (a cute eraser, a pen, a gift certificate from a local McDonald's for a free ice cream) provided by you, not the teacher. I have also found that using the teacher edition to play a speed game is fun. Spit the class in two teams or play individually. Have everyone write on their own paper. You write the problen on the overhead, then turn it on. The first one to finish gets a point. The winner gets a small prize from you or gets to leave a minute before the bell. The T.E. allows you to know the answers and provides the questions.
4. Talk time is a reward for only the last 5 minutes of class.
5. When unfamiliar with the material, ask them to write a 1 page essay decribing how what they have learned in class so far can be used in everyday life. (This works well with science and math classes)
5. If the subject is something you are not familiar with, talk to other teachers of that subject . They ussually have some idea or filler worksheet that you can make coppies of.
I hope this helps.


Junior Member
Sub at small school that has major problems

It is true that you cannot control everything. It depends a lot on who the teacher is and you have the help from staff if needed. I sub in a small school where there is about 170 junior high and high school students. There are a lot of problems there. A few teachers allow kids to cheat or they give them the answers. I've tried to change those classrooms but I just figured I can't. It has been going on so long they just do it automatically. Now as far as where the students are expected not to cheat I will take papers if cheating and leave note for teacher. Also there is a lot of cussing. It doesn't help to send to office so usually leave note for teacher. I always get after them but doesn't help much. Just try to do your best. It is a really sad situation.


Senior Member
I feel your pain!

This is a toughie. I sub at two high schools in my district. I have read the school rules for each and they are pretty much the same. BOTH schools say "no headphones" but time and time again, I encounter students who tell me their teacher allows it. And sometimes I find out later that is true. However, there is NO way to know unless the teacher leaves instructions on his/her classroom policy, so I have to be the bad guy for a day. If I am subbing, and the rules clearly state "no music" then I feel like I am in no position to bend those rules unless specifically authorized. I DO wish high school teachers would mention such things in their lesson plans.

I am currently on an extended sub job in high school, which is great. The teacher is on a jury, and checks in with me. Today, after three days of students telling me they could have headphones if they had finished their work, I asked the teacher in my sub report to let me know what her policy is. I told the kids that I would do so, and promised to ease up if their teacher said it was ok. They thought that was fair, so we'll see tomorrow.

This teacher, however, did leave explicit instructions on several other things, such as no food in class and no leaving before the bell rings. They have tested me on both things, but I tell them that their teacher has been very clear that it is a no-no. I also inform them that I report everything back to their teacher - I think a lot of them are under the impression that when a sub is there, no one will know, and they can get away with anything.

Today, I had one student (who was irritating not just ME, but other students!) loudly calling out to other students, asking for answers to his homework questions. [And come ON, you can do THAT after school, bub!] I told him to stop or he would be reported. He replied, "Oh, it doesn't matter when a sub is here." I told him, firmly, that it DOES matter, that my purpose in the classroom was to ensure that he gets his education, and that I was definitely his teacher for the day and he had to respect that.

These people are going to have bosses in their very near future - some of whom they don't respect at times - BUT it will not serve their personal interests to act up. I feel like being a disrespected sub and making them do what I say is good preparation for life.

I had two couples today right before lunch - the girls were sitting on their boyfriend's laps! I told them to cease and desist. They kind of laughed at me, until I said, "OK fine. You want to sit on your boyfriend's lap? Then great. You can sit on his lap through lunch today." In one case, the boyfriend actually PUSHED the girl off! LOL!

I am definitely no prude. I KNOW kids will cheat, have sex, do all that stuff. No matter how much the teacher - or the sub - gets on them, they are probably going to do what they want. However, when I am on the clock, I have an obligation to enforce school rules. And frankly, my dear, I don't GIVE a damn what they do! But it's my JOB to enforce the rules. Take attendance, enforce rules, make sure they get through the day's work - that's a sub's bottom line purpose.

I feel fortunate to be doing this extended job - it allows both me and the students to get some boundaries going. High school is more challenging when you are thrown to the wolves for a mere day...


Senior Member
So you're a mean sub

I don't think I would want to mess with you if I was a student.

"Oh, it doesn't matter when a sub is here."

I always view those as bluffs and I call them. Let's just find out. And if it doesn't matter, then that school would not be the place for me. I have always found that just by recounting that conversation to a vice principal certain individuals become born again (education wise).


Senior Member
LOL! again! Augustus...

If I had to be (or COULD be!) in a sub union, I'd make you president!

Yeah, fortunately for the students, fortunately for the teachers, fortunately for me, it DOES matter in my district. I am sometimes a little hesitant to really write a student up, because there are always consequences. What I DO try to do is to warn the students that if they don't knock it off, I will report them. Many times this is effective, they take heed, no reporting is done. But if they ignore my warnings, well, they will pay the consequences.

And you know, girls sitting on boyfriends' laps? Well, besides the school's rules, it's just not good manners to have public displays of affection. Goodness, darlings, you think YOU invented sex? Hardly. MY generation (I am a 1971 hs grad) invented it. So shut up and sit down and learn how to conduct yourselves properly in public, young'ns!