Tips for Preparing For A Substitute

Do you hate preparing for a sub? Would you rather come in sick instead a preparing sub plans?

I’m with you! Prepping for a sub can feel worse then just coming into work. However, I am a strong believer in using your sick days because you’re not at your best when you feel horrible. Plus, with the following five tips prepping for a substitute teacher will take less time and be less stressful.

Also, having a good sub plan template can make all the difference. Read to the end to see the one I use. As promised, here are the five tips.

Tip 1: Keep extra worksheets and activities for this very situation. I actually wrote a separate blog post all about this topic. This way you can go through these extras to plan for a day with a sub. It makes it easier for the sub because the substitute is teaching concepts and skills the students are already familiar with.

Plus, there are times when the activities are similar to ones you have taught or used previously. This way if the sub botches up the directions the students are familiar with what is expected.

Tip 2: Teach students what to expect when you will not be there. What I mean by this is to make sure the students are not so dependent on you to tell them everything to do. They just know. This may come as a big shock to everyone but not all teachers teach the same way. When students are so dependent on you and your way of instruction they have trouble listening to another teacher. This in turns causing students to act out. They get confused on what to do then the behavior issues start. When students are not dependent on you they do not have much trouble transitioning to learning when you are not there.

Tip 3: Folders. That’s right! Find yourself some plain ol’ folders to put all the activities for the day in. However, if you want some cute ones that’s ok too. The use of folders deters the sub from looking all over your desk for what they need and using your copies for next week. There were a few times my first few years teaching when I left stacks of activities on my desk for a sub, only to come back and see they did none of the stack but did all my copies for the following week. With the folders, every thing they need is right there.

I label the outside of the folder with the days of the week. This way if you are out for more than one day the sub can easily see what materials are for which days. I also add a pen and a notepad inside the folder. This makes it easier for the sub to leave me notes without having to dig around through my things to find something to write on. There has also been a few times that subs left me no notes so by providing them with a pen and paper encourages them to leave me a note about the day.

Tip 4: My friend Leann over at Apples and STEM has an amazing tip that I will definitely be using prepping for my next sub. I don’t know how many times I needed to have a substitute show a video or a resource on the interactive whiteboard and the next day I see this note on my sub plans: “I could not find the video.”

Leann recommends leaving a usb drive that has all the resources or videos that the sub will need for the day. This way you do not need to have the substitute look for specific YouTube video or locate the file labeled “Tuesday Sub” on you desktop.

Tip 5: Lastly, having a set of easy to read and easy to prepare sub plans can also help a ton. Making a template for your sub plans can save a ton of time. Since each day’s schedule is different in my classroom, I put in all my times and subjects into the template for each day of the school week. That way when I plan for a sub I can just click on the template for the day I need. All my times and subjects are already filled it. Plus, I already have all my necessary passwords and phone extensions already imputed into my template. I have spent many years just using a simple template I made in word and it worked just fine. However, if you want a nice looking template I may have the product just for you. My editable sub plan template is great to use and look awesome!

Hopefully, these tips help you when preparing for a sub. Let’s keep the tips going and share your #1 tip in the comments. I look forward to reading your tips.

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