The Tuesday Twelve—Tips for Substitute Teachers
1. Self promote—ask a principal if it is okay to leave a business card with teachers and let him/her know of your grade levels and specialties. Call schools when you have not heard from them, or let them know you have open dates of availability.
2. Know school locations, hours of arrival and departure, and the school secretary’s name.
3. Set alarm the night before so you are prepared for your earliest school start: lay clothes out. Have lunch packed. Even if the phone has awakened you, ask what you subject you will be teaching so you do not show up in a skirt if subbing phys-ed.
4. Keep a sub-folder with district school calendars, your day planner, timesheets and business cards.
5. Arrive early, approximately 15 minutes before scheduled time (20-30 minutes before student arrival). Locate your room. Bathrooms. Teacher’s Lounge. Introduce yourself to the teacher(s) next door. Read lessons plans.
6. Put your name on the board and/or where a name tag. If new to a class or group of students share a little about whom you are.
7. Write assignments on board by period in advance of the days start. If subbing in a school where students switch rooms often, post on door what is needed for your class that day/period: pencil, rough-draft, text book, and notes.
8. Alternate Assignments or Fun-time fillers can help ease time not filled by lesson plans. Try puzzles, coloring sheets, eye-openers, free-write prompts that help you get acquainted (appropriate to age). Bring a book to read aloud.
9. Don’t isolate! Visit teacher’s lounge or ask teacher next door where people gather for lunch or prep periods. Ask about major projects going on many schools use a team-teaching approach.
10. Wrap it up by leaving notes on attendance, classroom participation and how the lesson plan(s) went. Note the helpful students and detail disciplinary problems. Thank the teacher for sharing her classroom and students and leave a number that you can be reached at in case the teacher has questions.
11. Pick-up room. If in a classroom where students change on an hourly basis pick-up after each hour. Place assignments found on floor on chalkboard ledge with an arrow pointing to it saying found during 2nd period. Straighten desk rows slide in chairs; erase board unless something needs to be left for the teacher to see. Pick up pencils and pens left behind.
12. On departure, say goodbye to the secretary and/or principal. Tell them how you enjoyed your day and something positive about the school or students. Let them know your availability (have day planner ready).
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