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Guest teacher program has positive effect on students

Julie Rach

A change in vocabulary has created a change in student behavior at Hayward Elementary.
Principal Scot Davis and his team noticed a decline in respectful behavior from students when substitute teachers came to their classrooms.
Davis heard the term “guest teacher” at a conference and began devising a change in school culture about two years ago.
He and his Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team started calling the teachers “guest teachers” to echo the idea of how students might treat guests in their homes.
The team began to formulate a plan in the fall of 2018 that resulted in a candy tower being built in the school office, guest golden tickets being distributed by guest teachers that students could turn in for a chance to pick candy from the tower, and banners that are given to guest teachers to hang in the classroom at the start of the day.
The goal of the banners is for the class to spell as much of the word “PRIDE” as they can, said Davis.
The letters stand for
Polite,
Respectful,
In control of my actions,
Doing my best, and
Everyone on task.

“We don’t want a wasted day when a guest teacher is in class,” said Davis, who added that improved student behavior leads to more time on task and more learning as a result.
Guest golden tickets have been drawn at the school’s monthly Purple Jam positive behavior assemblies, said Davis.
Last week, he began drawing a few golden tickets weekly to give more students an opportunity to collect candy from the candy tower.
Fifth-grade special education teacher Sena Hayes helped develop the guest teacher program as a member of the PBIS team.
She has also seen the program in action as a Hayward teacher.
 “I believe the program is successful,” said Hayes. “We needed to let students understand that a substitute is really a guest in our building and we treat them as a guest.”
Hayes added that she has had to teach and role-model behavioral expectations for students in guest teacher situations.
“I like to know areas my students struggle in when a guest teacher is filling in for me,” said Hayes, who said she takes the information sheet filled out by the guest teacher and role-plays scenarios with students to help them improve their behavior.
“If the class earned all of their PRIDE letters, I offer an extra recess as an extra incentive,” said Hayes, who added that two guest teachers in her classroom felt that the students behavior is more respectful with the new implementation of the program.
Hayes said Hayward teachers will evaluate the program at the end of the school year. They will also devise a survey for guest teachers to complete to help them gauge the program’s success.