Preparing for Substitute Teachers
Substitute teachers are unique to the profession of teaching. While the appointments of other professionals, such as lawyers, architects or doctors, can be rescheduled when an illness or crisis arises, a teacher’s day can never be canceled. This week’s tips provide pointers on preparing a substitute folder.
This Week's Tips
Crucial Documents Assist Substitutes (Monday)
Organize a folder for a substitute early in the school year, include crucial documents, and leave the folder in an obvious location. Emergency procedures, such as evacuation plans and fire drill exits maps, must be easily accessible to substitute teachers. Highlight routes to safety, essential phrases, and critical emergency information clearly and make these documents prominent in the substitute folder. If an emergency arises in your absence, your forethought can reduce chaos and improve everyone’s odds toward safety.
Discipline Plans Help Substitutes (Tuesday)
Be certain the classroom and building discipline plans are included in the substitute folder. Some students tend to misbehave when a substitute teacher is present; a substitute who understands how to implement the discipline plan will have immediate control over such students. Include any documents necessary for effective implementation of the discipline plan.
List Contact People for Substitutes (Wednesday)
Provide the substitute with a list of important contact people. The teacher next door who knows how the building runs and is always willing to help, the secretary, the attendance officer, the teacher assistant and, perhaps most importantly, a trusted student in each class who will be willing to provide information and help as needed.
Provide Lesson Plans for Substitutes (Thursday)
If an absence is planned, leave lesson plans beyond what can be covered in a class period. A substitute teacher cannot be expected to cover material with the same depth as a regular classroom teacher, so provide abundant activities to fill a class period. Crossword puzzles or critical thinking activities will engage students and help the substitute maintain a learning climate with leftover time. Include emergency lesson plans in your substitute folder in order to reduce your anxiety if an unexpected absence is necessary. Update these plans monthly to keep them current.
Seating Charts Aid Substitutes (Friday)
Include seating charts in the substitute folder. Seating charts empower the substitute by removing the element of anonymity that often increases student misbehavior. The substitute immediately knows who is in the class and where each person should be seated. Notes about students with special medical or educational needs can be jotted on the seating chart and starred in red for easy reference. Students with certain behavioral tendencies should also be noted.