Thursday, August 4, 2011

For a substitute teacher

     This one is for all those teacher's out there preparing for your days with your students.  How have you prepared for when you can not be in the classroom?  I know teachers do all they can to come to work day after day, but if you sprang your ankle, your child is sick, or your car wont start, do you have everything ready for someone who has never met your students to teach them.  Down here you only need a GED to substitute teach, so you may get a substitute teacher with varying experience when it comes to teaching. 

     Since I have yet to find a job teaching, I will be returning to substitute teaching this year.  Since I have a lot of experience being a substitute teacher, I thought I would share with you what I would want to see in your classroom. 

1. Normalcy- The one thing I don't want to see is a day full of worksheets because you don't know if I can handle your class on a normal day.  Changing things around only makes kids anxious, and when they get anxious so do the subs. 

2.A class list that stays in the classroom.  The attendance that you send to the office isn't enough.  Name tags fall off, name plates on the tables rip off, and children think it's funny when they sit in someone else's seat.  Sometimes kids wont talk to someone they don't know, and being able to use their name will make them feel more comfortable.  And sometimes I have trouble understanding those little voices.

substitute folder list of students
Here is a great idea.

3.A schedule of your day with times attached.

4.A list of everyday songs with the words.  Routines are important, so if you sing a song everyday, I want to sing that song.  I take this one with me.
                               2 little hands go clap, clap, clap. 
                               2 little feet go tap, tap, tap.
                               2 little hands go thump, thump, thump.
                               2 little feet go jump, jump, jump.
                               1 little body turns around.
                               1 little child sits quietly down.

5.All materials necessary to complete the activities on your lesson plans.  Including books, supplies, papers, CD's.  I love it when teachers use post it notes on stacks that label each activity.  This way if the lesson plan is a little confusing, I can go to the stacks of stuff.  Now if this is an unexpected absent then it would be hard to have this planned out, but a list of where items are usually would be helpful.  If you need wipe off markers and can't find them, how can you use the wipe off board.

I would always have a simple activity planned that would only be used if a sub would come in.

I make a paper with dried tempera paint on it.  All you need is water and paint brush, and you have an instant art activity. 

Leave your classes favorite book for the sub to read
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

6.An explanation of how you do activities.  Many times I have started centers and the kids say "I did this one yesterday, you have to move them".  Well then they go on to tell you, "move the names up, no move them down, no I didn't do this one yesterday".  Yeah, lots of stress going on there.  Also, knowing what the children are suppose to do in each center would be helpful.   I know very well the students are not suppose to be throwing the magnetic letters on the board, but there were no instructions and I can't stand over those 2 kids the whole time and ask them to spell this word. 

How do you sharpen pencils?
How do you get kids' attention? clap, ring bell, sing song, say chant?
How do you chose jobs?
What do you do at calendar time?
Where do kids put their book bags, lunch boxes, homework?
How do you go to the bathroom?
How do you dismiss the kids?
What are the rules for going outside?  In Ohio going outside at 40 degrees is normal.  Down here, they don't
                           go outside if it is 40 degrees.
What do you do when you can't go outside?
What do kids do when a rule is broken?
Where do your kids sit at lunch or at dismissal?
What do you do when a child gets hurt?
Do kids need lunch tickets or passes to go to the office?
How do you use those electronic devices some of us have never seen?  I even had trouble finding the VCR
                          in one room, because it was in a cabinet.

Do not leave these answers up to the kids.  Every one will have a different answer.

If you want to make a substitute folder, go here.  You will find everything you need.

7.The names of those special students.  I know you don't want to label a child before a sub gets to know them, but when you know what you are dealing with ahead of time, you can deal with it.  If I know this child is ADD not just a trouble maker then I can deal with it.  If I know this child cries every time her mom leave, I can deal with it.  If I know this student will always tell me what should be going on, then I know who to turn to.  The day should not be a guessing game.  A substitute is only in your room for one day.  Why not make it easier.

8.Extras- extra books, extra paper, extra game, extra activities, extra music
Sometimes the day goes by a lot faster than expected.  Kids love to be read to.  Kids love to color.  Kids love to sing and dance.

9.The name and room number of the teacher that can best help with any problems.  Tell the teachers in the next classroom where you keep your sub folder, your lesson plans, your supplies.  I am going to ask for help when I need it.  I might as well go right to the best source.

10.What should I do before I leave?  Does the trash need to be taken out in the hallway, chairs on desks, papers taken to office?  I want to leave the room ready for you when you return.


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog & for the comment! You are welcome to share my pic/link. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing you experience, it's good to see it from the perspective of the sub! Thanks also for the mention :)