Idiocy from teachers - They should be fired

I was substitute teaching in a junior high math class today. It was a last minute thing because the regular teacher’s grandmother died yesterday. There was no lesson plan or seating charts which always makes it hard. It was made even harder because the children in these classes all had behavior problems. I guess somebody thought that it was a good idea to put 30 children with behavior problems together.

The last class of the day was the worst. I had to have someone from the office come down because one student would not stop talking. Then the whole class decided they would not stop talking. The vice-principal came down and apologized. He said this class had a lot of problems.

So where does the math idiocy come in? During the first period, the office found the worksheet I supposed to be teaching the students. On one side of the sheet, there were a few stories, and the students had to draw a graph to match the story. On the other side, there were graphs, and the students had to write a story that went with the graph.

These were very simple graphs and stories. One was a graph for a lemonade stand. It showed the profit starting below zero and then going up into positive territory and increasing over time. The profit then went straight down before it started climbing again. One of the stories was about having to cut grass. The person cutting the grass cut it at a constant pace, stopping to take a break halfway through the job. The students had to draw a graph to match the story. They also had to write a few sentences where they made-up how much grass there was to be cut at the start , the pace it was cut, and the length of the break.

The students had a lot of trouble with this assignment. This understandable. If I was on all the behavior altering drugs they claimed to be on, I doubt I could think straight either. I did my best to help them and try to keep order.

After all hell broke loose during the last period, a couple of other teachers came in to help. One problem, they were not math teachers and could not understand the assignment - even after I explained it to them. One of the teachers said, “Sorry, I am not a math teacher.” Well, I am not a math teacher, either. Not being a math teacher is not her problem. Her problem is she is a complete moron. She, and the other teacher, have no business educating students if they cannot understand basic graphs.

I have complained before about an English teacher that was not aware of the writing of Flannery O’Connor. Some posters felt it was a little extreme to fault an English teacher for not knowing the work of O’Connor. What do people think about this situation? Am I overreacting, or is it just unacceptable that a person that cannot read basic graphs is a teacher of any subject at any level?

Let me see if I understood your story correctly.
You were hired as a substitute teacher. You came unprepared with work for the classes you were assigned, and relied upon a worksheet found in the office.

You had no control over the classes, and the last class of the day was when “all hell broke loose”.
After administration came to help, you were still unable to regain control over the class and other teachers, of their own free will, decided to step in to help.

You didn’t think to thank anyone for the help you received. Instead you decided to insult your saviors for not understanding a math worksheet?

Of course, you’re right. Idiotic [substitute] teachers should be fired.



People like you make me scared to go into teaching.

Geez, you sure seem to complain about subbing a lot. Are you sure teaching is the career for you?

I have no idea why a teacher from a different subject would need to understand a math assignment. Maybe you weren’t explaining it very well, or she was trying to talk to a kid or get everyone settled and she wasn’t really listening to you/looking at it because she thought it wasn’t important. In any case, it hardly seems like a firing offense.

Also - you really had a full day of math classes entirely made up of kids with behavioural problems? Is this a school just for kids with problems? If not, where the hell did they find that many of them?

Former (and current, technically, though I haven’t been active in over a year) substitute checking in. How exactly would you like us to “prepare” for a class that we may not be aware we’re covering for until 6am that morning? Yes, we DO rely upon worksheets that the teachers leave. We DO rely on their lesson plans. If they don’t leave any, we improvise, but we can only do so much. There’s only a certain amount of preparation one can do for the job.

Classes in which the students have known behavior problems are my least favorite to sub for, especially at this time of year. By April, the students have become quite comfortable with their regular teacher, and know what he/she will and will not approve of. But there’s really no alternative. The teacher has to be out, and a sub has to be called. We do our best, but without knowing the specific circumstances of each special needs child, there’s only so much we can do without help from the administration. It’s easy to point fingers and say “you had no control over the class,” which may be true, but I invite you to try to deal with 30 special needs kids you just met, and will only know for 90 minutes.

I agree with you here. I always thank anyone who comes in to help out with a class. But I won’t jump on the OP for ranting after a long, tiring, thankless day (though this might have done better in the Pit).

I was wondering the same thing.

It is not a substitute teacher’s responsibility to bring assignments to class. The teacher is supposed to leave lessons plans and have lessons already prepared for emergencies. I got a call yesterday. The substitute teacher coordinator did not know the subject of the class I would be substituting for or the exact grade level. What exactly should I have done to prepare?

I did lose control of the class and this is the fault of the administration. This school has a policy that if a teacher gives a detention that teacher supervises the detention. A substitute teacher cannot give out a detention without also agreeing to come to in on his own time for no pay to serve the detention with the student which basically means a substitute cannot give detentions. The students know this and will not listen a substitute. I will not be going back to this school.

Actually, I did thank them.

It was a very simple math worksheet that any educated adult should have been able to easily understand it.

Not that I’ve read all the posts you’ve ever made, but for a teacher, you seem to have a lot of contempt for kids. have you noticed that this could be a huge problem that would make you and your students miserable?

Reading graphs is pretty easy stuff, I agree. But I don’t know how much general knowledge teachers are supposed to have.

I don’t know of the requirements in other districts, but where I sub, you have to have a minimum of a high school diploma. I imagine the standards required to be a full-time teacher are a bit higher. Reading a graph is something I learned in middle school, and continued to learn through high school. I use those skills at least a few times a week.

I wouldn’t say “reading a graph” is beyond the scope of a high school teacher. Especially if this is the subject matter being taught in high school.

I could be wrong, though, depending on the exercise.

Here are a few graphs that are pretty representative of the graphs the teachers could not understand:

Anyone think an educated adult should have to have these explained?

I have utmost respect for substitute teachers (being one myself for 3 years before teaching full time over the past 20 years). It is a thankless job, and subs usually are treated with contempt. That being said, I usually tried to have at least something with me that could be used for different classes/subjects. And, not everything needs to be from a worksheet (literacy/math/history baseball was always a favorite). Sorry, off on a tangent - just to reiterate that subbing can be hellish.

I deal with violent behavioral problems every day - there are days I wish I did drink. However, the OP wasn’t complaining about the children, or the size of the class. He was complaining about the teachers who came to help him!
Junior High students are hormonal and deranged - moan about that, not about those who came to help.

Sorry, just that people like the OP take away from real problems faced by subs.
Perhaps it is the wrong career for him.


No. And now I’m all disturbed and shit because I found something you and I agree on. People with a college degree should be able to do that. I have no more than a high school diploma and a couple of certificates, and I can do it. I say this after posting my idiocy in the maths thread.
Alternatively, maybe they could do it, but had no incentive to do so.


Never heard of him.
-silenus, who has more credentials than you can count. Including English. :eek:

You do not think it is a real problem that there are teachers that cannot graphs like the ones I posted above?

My complainant is that someone who cannot read graphs like the ones I posted is not going to be able to read any sort of research. Both of these teachers were history/social studies teachers. What do they do when they read a research paper on wartime production (or some other subject)? What do they do when they come to graph in a history book?

Flannery O’Connor is a woman. She is one the most important American writers of the second half of the the 20th century. You will find her work in any decent anthology of American literature such as The Norton Anthology of American Literature - Literature Since 1945.’Connor

Unfortunately, some educated adults grasp math quite easily, some don’t. Fact of life.

The problem is there is not even any math that needs to used to read a graph like the ones I posted.

Also, to be a teacher is this state requires a college degree. Any college graduate should be able to read a graph or he should not have graduated.

These are history/social studies teachers. Can you imagine trying to study these subjects without being able to read a graph?

Faruiza and I have both brought up the same point - which you seem to be ignoring - maybe they were perfectly capable of reading the graph but just didn’t, for some other reason.

I’m trying to picture this situation from the other teachers point of view - I go into the classroom because it’s clear that the sub has lost control. Kids are talking, yelling, throwing stuff, wandering around, etc. I’m desperately trying to get Johnny to stop threatening Steve, while dodging crumpled up wads of paper and listening to teenagers berate each other. Then, the sub comes over and starts shoving this piece of paper in my face, and I’m thinking “Dude, you lost control of this hours ago! Now is the time for damage control, not graphs!”

Also, I’d still really like to know if you actually had 4 or 5 blocks (or whatever makes up a full school day) entirely made up of kids with behavioural problems, and if so, where did the school get them all from. If it’s a school specifically for kids with these kinds of problems, I’d expect you’d be more prepared, or turn the job down.

I do not know where the school got them. I asked one of the teachers (not of the ones that helped) if it was an alternative school. He laughed and said no, but said that was a question a lot of people asked.

I had 3 blocks of students.