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.
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
- 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
- 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?
- 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