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How to prepare for a substitute teacher

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 08, 2015 10:22 AM

No matter how healthy you are, at some point you will need to call in a substitute teacher. Sickness, injury or even the death of a loved one can require someone else to lead your class. To help out the substitute and give you peace of mind, here are a few tips for getting ready:

Write a letter to the students
To make sure your students know you are OK and will be back shortly, consider writing a letter to them that the substitute can read aloud at the start of class. In the note, address what the children will be expected to do for the day's in-class time and homework. Tell them your expectations in terms of behavior toward the substitute and share the date when you'll be back if possible. The sub can use this as an easy way to start the day.

Gather important paperwork
If you take attendance every day, make sure your class list and seating chart are in a place the substitute will easily locate. Also, gather together any important information he or she should know, such as any allergies your students have (wheat, bees, peanuts etc.) and any special needs that should be considered (such as a student who must go to a different class for a certain subject). Include a class schedule with these documents to show the sub when the students arrive, what time lunch begins and ends, and what time the school day is over. You could go more in depth and schedule out the whole day to reflect how long you teach each topic or Common Core subject on your lesson plan, but that is up to you.

Use a discipline policy
Some teachers find their students don't behave as they do regularly when a substitute is there. In classrooms where discipline hasn't been an issue previously, it may become one that the teacher must deal with after the sub has left. Make sure your class has a behavioral policy and knows the consequences of causing trouble in class. This way, if someone acts out while you are gone, they know what will happen when you return. In the meantime, the substitute can follow through with predetermined discipline, such as sending students to the principal's office or detention. This will help your class behave better and provide the sub with directions in case something does happen.