Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Technology and the Substitute

On Monday, I had a meeting to go to in the afternoon. That meant that I would have to have a substitute in my room for my two classes after lunch. If you're a teacher, you know how it feels to give up control of your classes and your room. You really have no idea what is going to happen even if you write the world's best lesson plan. Students know all about substitutes. Enough said about that.

The really hard part for me is the technology. I teach with it everyday. SmartBoard, projector, audio enhancement, document camera. It's all there. Where do I draw the line with the subs? I want my lessons to be as close to normal as possible when I'm not there but I also don't want thousands of dollars of equipment to be destroyed or, worse, taken.

So there has to be a compromise. I gave the sub a crash course on the audio system because it really feel that will help to communicate with the students. I printed out my lesson plan on one sheet and put it under the document camera. It really was a lesson plan but it had all the directions for the students. There really didn't need to be a substitute, if the kids could have worked it by themselves.

I didn't leave my laptop. Too expensive. I didn't plug in the SmartBoard. This was a toss up. They might have just used it with markers. However, upon my return, it looks like they have learned that there are special markers for the SmartBoard and they don't work if it isn't plugged into the computer. The document camera was in one piece and the mounted projector was still hanging from the ceiling.

All in all, I guess it was a good day for the substitute. I wish the students would realize that if I'm not here, it doesn't really matter who is here. Whether it is a gorilla, a substitute or Bat Man, they can still do the work and be behaved well.

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