Final Sub Story

The school year has come to a close and that means my journey as a substitute teacher in Halifax, NS comes to an end. I have been privileged to work for Halifax Regional School Board, Armbrae Academy and Sacred Heart School of Halifax. All 3 school boards have been an enjoyable and fruitful experience for my professional career. There are a number of great skills and strategies that I will be taking with me to my own classroom. I organized the fruitful experiences as philosophy development, strategies and behaviour management.

1. Philosophy Development

A. High Expectations – no matter the classroom, or the students in the classroom – having good standards yields good results; having excellent expectations can yield excellent results!

B. Stay on top of EVERY student in a “busy” class.

C. Appreciate different teaching and learning styles in the school. It allows for diversity and diversity is a great lesson for everyone!

D. The wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented – but you don’t have to ride it until it is flat! Adaptations and change can be a good thing sometimes.

2. Strategies 

A. For each unit/topic/subject, have 1 independent project that students can work on when they are finished their work early. OR having a “finished early” folder that has fun activities, projects and games etc.

B. Have simple and clear consequences or as my old boss said, “say it, mean it, do it!”

3. Behaviour Management  

      i: Individual Strategies

A. Move students quickly if they are not being productive and disruptive.

B. Green, yellow, red – a behaviour strategy that physically has each student’s name on an object (cloths pins, velcro, popsicle sticks). If a student is at red, then they need to take a time out and write a reflection of the behaviour. If a student receives their name on the red 3 times, then they write a letter or have a phone conversation with home. Yellow means a student needs to refocus and if behaviour gets worse it will move to red. If students are behaving and working well they stay on green.

C. Individual reward system (many options)

D. 5 min free time, computer time, leader position in class, prize etc

         ii: Group strategies

A. Class point system: everyday the class starts with 3 stars on the board, if it is too loud or the class gets off task, I take one star off the board as a consequence. At the end of the school day, the students add the total to daily tally, and once the students receive 100 stars they receive a reward.

B. Training and repetition for class routines is essential.

C. Listen and talk box – It is known as the Listen and Talk Box because the person standing in the box will have the class’s attention immediately. Tape a 2′ x 2′ box on the ground. Whenever a student or the teacher stands in the box, everyone needs to be quiet and listening. (works similarly to chiming a bell/sound to get everyone’s attention) If students don’t immediately listen or try and abuse the use of the box, then necessary consequences will immediately follow. Hopefully it works, I’ll let you know in September!

As much as I have enjoyed my year travelling from school to school, “cherry picking” great ideas from classroom to classroom, I am excited to get back into my own classroom. I am excited to be moving back to Alberta, and to teach in a great school board like Parkland School Division. Next year I will continue blogging and I am sure I will create another tab for the coming school year. Thanks for a wonderful experience, Halifax!

Click here for more subbing stories.


Gaby Ferzli


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