When a substitute teacher doesn’t have all the information they need, it not only makes the day much harder for them, but it can disrupt the flow of your lesson plans for days to come. Plan ahead now to give your substitute teacher the tools they need for a smooth and productive day, and rest assured that your classroom will stay in order during your absence.
In addition to leaving helpful resources, it’s also a great idea to go over substitute or guest teacher rules with your students at the beginning of the semester. Reiterate with them when you have planned leave and your expectations for their behavior while you’re out.
Substitute Teacher Master Kit
Returning to find a note from a frazzled substitute is frustrating for both the teacher and the substitute teacher. Keeping a binder or file system as a master kit with all the resources a substitute could need could be a serious stress reducer for all involved.
This kit is perfect for unplanned or emergency absences when you haven’t had time to set up a lesson plan to leave for your substitute. Make sure the binder or file is clearly marked and easy to find. Some key elements of the master kit include:
- Classroom rules and school protocol
- Labeled map of the school
- Daily schedule
- Class roll and assigned seating chart
- Bus and lunch assignments
- Names of reliable students who can point out potential problems, like name-swapping tricksters
- Names of classroom aides and nearby teachers they can call on for help
- Notes on students needing aid or special accommodations
- Master copies of “busy work” handouts like word searches, crossword puzzles, printables, etc.
- List of websites your substitute can use if they need to find additional activities
- Form for your substitute to leave for you regarding any problems encountered
- List of rewards if the teacher hears students were well-behaved and consequences if the report shows poor behavior
In addition to the master kit, leave a lesson-specific binder or folder for planned absences. This helps show students that substitute teachers should be taken as seriously as classroom teachers, and it keeps you from falling behind on your lesson plans.
While “busy work” handouts are great in a pinch, they also cost you valuable teaching time. Include textbook and workbook page numbers, instructions for stations or centers, and master copies of handouts and printables. Leave a detailed description of any activities that would normally occur, plus where to find materials.
With some prep work, you’ll return to find a happy substitute teacher and productive students. How do you prepare your substitute teacher? Let us know in the comments!