teachin' school

teaching tip 72. they will tear a sub to shreds!


like sharks, they can smell blood in the water.  and by “they”, i mean your students.  your little angels will break a sub in just one day.  they will band together and refuse to do work, behave horribly, and get terrible notes from the substitute teacher.

to ease this situation, prep the sub as best you can.  within my classroom management notebook, i have a section for sub notes.

include these things in your sub notebook or section:

  • attendance and/or class sheets
  • seating charts
  • detailed notes of what you want the students to do that day
  • notes about what the sub should do if the students misbehave, need to go to the bathroom, finish early, etc.
  • bathroom passes (or a procedure for it)
  • your schedule and room numbers
  • map or floorplan of the school
  • the name and contact info for a teacher that can help out if they get in a bind
  • a copy of the students’ assignment and a key
  • emergency procedures
  • a place for the sub to leave notes for each class period

something else to think about is emergency sub plans.  if you have kids or are absent often, having some emergency plans is a good idea.  even if you don’t think you will need them, they’re good to have.

it’s better to over-prepare the sub than under.  it’s a stressful and unknown situation for the sub and the students.  they both need to know what to expect and it’ll go much smoother.

one more thing: if you get a bad note about a student, follow up.  make sure the student gets consequences of some kind because that sets the expectation for the next time you’re gone.

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