Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Supervisor, not Sub


One of the things we love about our school is that our 2.5 year old comes with us everyday and is in daycare. This is a fabulous arrangement for all of us, until she is sick. She had a low-grade fever starting about 6 in the evening, which is a no-go for school the next day. Once she was in bed we sat down to arm-wrestle discuss who would be going to school. I realized I didn't stand a chance. Career Day necessitates the principal being on campus. Once again, being merely the teacher, I got to stay home.

Several things play into my next burst of creativity.

  • Our sub pool is shallow.
  • I really like teaching.
  • In two days I would be out of the building anyway for a conference.
  • My future principal had talked about how he Skyped in for meetings when he stayed home with their daughter.

Ah, Skyping in. There is a thought. So I asked my husband to go into my room, get out my LifeCam, setup my computer,  and logged me in to our secondary Skype account (great for when we need to Skype each other).

I then let our ES administrative assistant know that I would not need a sub, per say. I would Skype in to do our literacy block. And for math I would either Skype in or be able to come in (depending on how 'sick' she was in the morning and if she needed mommy snuggles or if a friend could hang out with her). It was an early release day and they have specials in the afternoon so I wasn't needed.

So, the 8 a.m. bell went and I said my usual "Good morning ladies and gentlemen!" My students' eyes lit up as they saw me appear on the screen and their behavior was exactly better then if I was actually in the room. I reminded them what homework to have out to be looked at (our grade level assistant was in the room to answer my calls and be an adult presence) and what their beginning tasks were. After 'bell work' we read for 30 minutes. I told them I would be back to correct the 'bell work' and have our writing mini-lesson. I signed off and showed up later, teaching just as I would have, except the little girl on my lap. The camera was positioned in such a way that I could see them and call on those with their hands raised, draw in those who weren't fully engaged, etc. It worked fabulously.

Our administrative assistant had gone up to my room to see how this would work. Later she sent me a chat saying "You don't need a sub. You just need a supervisor".


  1. This is a totally amazing story. I love it. We had a pregnant teacher a few years ago who was ordered on bed rest for a while, & while she didn't 'sub' for her students, she did skype in to keep in touch with them & she joined us at faculty meetings. Sounds as if your students loved doing this too. Maybe a model for future activities?

  2. I just love that! I enjoyed hearing how you worked it out using skype. Such a interesting way to work it out when subs are short & you can still have someone "supervise" per say! I'm with Linda, could def. be a model for future activities. Thanks for sharing!
    Hope your daugther is feeling better now. I do also love that she is on campus with you as well, I would have LOVED it if I had the opportunity to have my children with me when they were little!

  3. What a great solution to an annoying problem! This was a perfect way to try this out. How creative!

  4. You rocked the solution! I'm so glad you were able to make it work via Skype. What a way to keep with a routine and teach in the way only you can while being home to help your little one. (Hope she's on the mend.)