4 Simple Hints to Prepare for a Sub

Worried About Leaving Your Class With a Sub?

If you are sick or at a meeting, you shouldn’t have to worry what’s happening in your class.

Do you go to school when you’re sick because it’s too much work to get ready for a sub? If you have to be gone for a meeting, do you worry what’s happening in your absence? Will your room be a mess when you get back? Will you have to deal with discipline referrals, parent complaints, and student conflicts?

4 Simple Hints to Prepare for a Sub

Although it is the substitute’s job to maintain order while you are gone, there are a few things you can do to make it easier. And if the sub has a good day, you won’t have to waste time on damage control when you get back. Here are a few helpful hints:

1- Prepare your students ahead of time. Spend time teaching your students what you expect them to do when you are gone. Teach your expectations at the beginning of the year and review them (if possible) the day before you will be gone. If you can leave a written copy of your expectations for the sub, so much the better. You can even request the sub rate your class on how well each expectation was followed (and/or have the students rate themselves) and reward your class accordingly when you return.

2- Make sure the students know their work will count, even when you’re gone. If you are a secondary teacher, schedule a quiz, test, or graded assignment to be collected at the end of the period. If you’re an elementary teacher, provide individual work to reinforce what you’ve been doing in class. Avoid obvious throw-away activities such as word searches, coloring, or assignments which have nothing to do with what you’ve been working on.came to school sick to avoid writing sub plans

3- Think twice before leaving a video. In the first place, the room will be darkened, making it more difficult for the sub to see what’s going on. In the second place, if there are technical issues with the video, it will be very difficult for the sub to maintain control of the class and troubleshoot at the same time. In the third place, kids know adults use videos for babysitting, reinforcing the message that nothing counts when you are gone. If you do plan for the sub to show a video, require the students to take notes, take a quiz, or do a writing assignment about it.

4- Let the substitute teacher know what types of activities are acceptable for early finishers. Idle or bored students make trouble even for regular teachers. It’s even worse for subs.

If you are sick or at a meeting, you shouldn’t have to worry what’s happening in your class. Plan ahead so you will have peace of mind.

Katrina Ayres, Positive Teaching Strategies

Additional Awesome Teacher Nation Resources

Books

  • Create a Great Day for Yourself and Your Students
  • 5-Minute Classroom Management Hints
  • The Take-Charge Teacher
  • All The Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching
  • The Classroom Teacher’s Coloring Book
  • The Classroom Teacher’s Coloring Book, Volume 2

VideosAwesome Teacher Nation TV videos, including:

  • Why Threats and Punishments Don’t Work
  • Saving Time on Paperwork and Grading
  • 7 Strategies to Deal With the Pencil Sharpener
  • What’s the BEST Classroom Management Strategy?

Online Courses

  • Taming the Chaos: How to Create and Effective Classroom Routine
  • Making Money as an In-Demand Substitute Teacher
  • A Day in the Life of a Substitute Teacher
  • The Substitute Teacher’s Troubleshooting Guide

Gain Instant Access to the Awesome Teacher Nation Resources Library

With Solutions for Administrators, Classroom Teachers, New Teachers, Substitute Teachers, and more

Respond Instead of React

Maybe you’re A very patient person who responds calmly in almost every situation. You don’t get upset no matter what your students say or do. If that’s you, you probably don’t need to read any more. Just go on with your peaceful day, smiling beatifically at me as I stomp down the hallway, fuming about some crazy thing one of my students just did.

My actions seem almost instantaneous and involuntary, and I react (like a chemical reaction) instead of responding (like a reply to a greeting.)

Watch Respond Instead of React on Awesome Teacher Nation TVLuckily, even those of us lacking superhuman patience can learn to respond more and react less when we’re angry. Here are a few suggestions.

1 – Plan your response ahead of time. Think about a recurring situation where you tend to respond with anger. Write down what you wish you had said or done last time and picture yourself saying and doing those things next time. You might even rehearse. It’s especially powerful to actually practice in place, such as in your “teaching spot.”

2 –  Be conscious of how you tend to feel before, during, and after upsetting events. How does your body feel? What kinds of thoughts do you think? For instance, when I’m angry I usually feel a heavy stomach, heat on the back of my neck, tense shoulders, and clenched teeth. I think things like “here we go again” and “you better not mess with me.” When I notice myself starting to feel these sensations and think those thoughts, I know an angry reaction is likely unless I can shift to my planned response or give myself time to cool off.

3 – Try to notice patterns, not just in the “trigger moment” but before it happens, too. For instance, I am 2.7 million times more likely to react in anger if I’m tired or hungry. So I make an effort to get a good night’s sleep before teaching and to eat healthy snacks throughout the day.

4 – Practice positive self-talk before, during, and after upsetting events. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself. Remind yourself that you are learning, growing, and getting better.

Even those of us who aren’t super patient can learn to respond instead of react. It’s not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But it’s totally worth it.

Now go create a great day for yourself and your students!

Katrina Ayres, Positive Teaching Strategies

Additional Awesome Teacher Nation Resources

Books

  • Create a Great Day for Yourself and Your Students
  • 5-Minute Classroom Management Hints
  • The Take-Charge Teacher
  • All The Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching
  • The Classroom Teacher’s Coloring Book
  • The Classroom Teacher’s Coloring Book, Volume 2

VideosAwesome Teacher Nation TV videos, including:

  • Why Threats and Punishments Don’t Work
  • Saving Time on Paperwork and Grading
  • 7 Strategies to Deal With the Pencil Sharpener
  • What’s the BEST Classroom Management Strategy?

Online Courses

  • Taming the Chaos: How to Create and Effective Classroom Routine
  • Making Money as an In-Demand Substitute Teacher
  • A Day in the Life of a Substitute Teacher
  • The Substitute Teacher’s Troubleshooting Guide

Gain Instant Access to the Awesome Teacher Nation Resources Library

With Solutions for Administrators, Classroom Teachers, New Teachers, Substitute Teachers, and more