Preparing for a Substitute Teacher

Preparing for a substitute teacher is always challenging. But if preparing for a substitute is difficult, being one is even more so, since substitute teachers are often expected to step in and go on as though the teacher were there.

Some pointers to help you prepare for your sub:

  • Find out the district policy regarding substitute teachers. What are you expected to leave for them? What are they expected to do? What are they not allowed or expected to do?
  • Establish a substitute teacher folder and leave it on your desk where it can be easily located.
  • Keep your lesson plans up-to-date and complete. A good substitute will be able to come in and "wing it," but it is much easier to manage a classroom if plans are available. Try to leave detailed information concerning the location of materials.
  • Leave the following information for the substitute: a seating chart, a copy of your discipline policy, a listing of school staff (principal, secretary, custodian, librarian, nurse, other teachers who can help).
  • Ask a colleague to check in on your substitute occasionally through the day to see if the substitute needs anything or has any questions.
  • Show your substitute appreciation and support. If a substitute does a good job in your classroom, ask him or her (if permitted) to sub for you the next time. Thank them for the good job they do. Conversely, if you have a problem with something a substitute did or didn't do, discuss it with him or her when the opportunity arises. Often it is nothing more than a misunderstanding about instructions. Support your substitutes with the students. Look at your substitute teacher as a partner in the education process.

3 hints for "substitute survival"