Substitute Teacher Ideas

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Curiouscat, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Oct 18, 2011

    Teacher of the frickin year posted some ideas on her blog about what she does to plan for subs. I find planning for a sub to still be very stressful even after 17 years. So, I thought it might be fun if we all shared some ideas that make our lives easier when we need a sub.

    Hmmmmm, all of my ideas make the day easier for the sub, but create quite a bit more work for me! I guess I do need some help:eek:hmy:
     
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 18, 2011

    I find that subs like plans that are highly structured and easy to follow. I also always way overplan for a sub. Being a former sub, the worst was finishing all the plans with an hour left--it happened once.

    I like to be creative as a teacher, but I leave lots of worksheets and items from the textbook for subs. Yes, some are a bit fun, but nothing too wild. I don't always know who I'll get for a sub.
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 18, 2011

    I hate planning for subs. I really don't have any tips. I dread doing it every time. The only tip, if this is really one, is to keep a template with the basic info so you don't always need to rewrite the same thing (like your schedule, class helpers, where things are located, etc.).
     
  5. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 18, 2011

    As a sub and regular teacher both, I can definitely say the more complete your plans are, the easier it will be on the sub and, ultimately, on your class.

    Unless the sub is certified in your content area, you are better off leaving a worksheet or assignment that is easy to follow and will take most of the period to complete. The sub can explain the assignment, if necessary, but as a math teacher, I know a lot of subs aren't comfortable trying to explain a math lesson. So I would leave worksheets covering our current topic for the kids to complete. The worksheets included definitions, explanations and sample problems, so it was very easy to follow. The only "extra work" this requires on the teacher's part is copying enough worksheets for each class OR choosing an assignment from the textbook that the students can do (usually from the Extra Practice section in the back for math classes).

    As a sub, it is SO much easier when I am left clear instructions and easy-to-follow assignments. Sometimes the instructions are for students to do reading, answer questions at the end of the chapter, work on vocabulary words or a combination of all of these. Math classes often assign the Extra Practice assignments or leave worksheets for each class to complete.

    The absolute worst instructions the regular teacher can leave are "They know what to do." I'm sure they do, but very few students will actually admit they know what they are supposed to do. Instead, they will say "Oh, Mrs. Regular Teacher said she was going to cover this material and explain it first. We haven't gone over this yet." In that case, I tell them to do the best they can, but if I have a specific assignment with clear instructions, that eliminates the opportunity for excuses like that.
     
  6. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Oct 19, 2011

    I always type up a detailed schedule of what to do every single minute. Consequently I take VERY few days off. It's easier to go to work sick than prepare for a sub and deal with the aftermath. Ugh.
     
  7. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Oct 20, 2011

    I do have a typed up template for each day as my schedule is different each day. Review worksheets would be great but I have one class the whole day. My class isn't use to worksheets because I really don't use them. I hate when I write out plans minute by minute and overplan and then the sub either skips that day and does the next two days or they do nothing at all. Several times I left review worksheets and the sub just told them the answers and had them fill in the blanks! Then they spent the rest of the day listening to the sub tell war stories or they played noneducational games. Very frustrating!!
     
  8. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Oct 20, 2011

    I leave very detailed plans. A 3rd grader could sub for my class because all they'd need to do is read my notes. I give them words to say in quotes if they need them.
    Example:
    Say, "I know you've been working with patterns lately. Today you are going to continue. I know you've been working really hard on challenging yourselves in making more complex patterns and not always doing the same old patterns. So I want you to continue today and I'm going to walk around and ask you about how you're challenging yourself with the patterns you're making." Then call students by table to get supplies. You may want to stand near the math manipulatives to ensure respectful while getting materials. After all students have materials, walk around and ask them about the math they're doing.

    Anyways.... you get the idea.

    Yes, it's a lot of work, but I try to keep my schedule and activities pretty close to normal. Also, most of our subs are former teachers or student teachers so I am comfortable leaving more meatier plans than just worksheets.
     
  9. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 20, 2011

    It is frustrating when you get a sub that doesn't follow your plans. I was very fortunate that our school had 3-4 regular subs that were also moms of our students and were very dependable when it came to following the lesson plans left for them. One colleague was also certified in middle school math, so she was the one I called most of the time.

    Is there any way for you to prevent those bad subs from being called again for your class?
     
  10. bridgetbordeaux

    bridgetbordeaux Companion

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    Oct 23, 2011

    As a certified teacher who is subbing until I get a full time job, I will give you my opinion. I will follow the sub plans to the letter. However, most of the time the plans are to watch a video or do a worksheet or read for an hour. That is what I do, because I want to do what the teacher asks.

    However, I am able to teach lessons and if the word gets out that I can do that, maybe I will get called more often. Most of the schools I sub for have a sub coordinator to book the subs. The teachers don't really get to say who they want or don't want in their classroom. What do I do to show them that I am reliable and capable and want to sub more often?
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 23, 2011

    I leave very detailed plans and my subs always say they appreciate it. I also leave all the manipulatives, resources,books with post its on needed pages as well as a folder of general policies, guidelines,class list, health alerts.
    Despite all of that, I left a map activity the other day...plans asking that the sub explain the border lines between states, to identify the state of NJ, and to name the states that border NJ. Unfortunately, I assumed my sub would know, or be able to figure out from the map, what states border NJ. Most of my kids listed Connecticut as one of our border states on their response page....ugh.
    Can we say "reteach"?
     

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