Teachers tips

Leave the room better than when you found it.

“It is courteous if you can grade papers or some type of feedback on student academic performance and straighten the desk up leave everything there just make it look neat.” —Kimberly J.

Use the aides.

“From a special education viewpoint, be firm, but please do not be so firm that students engage you in a power struggle. If there are aides, trust that they know the students and routines well. Let them help you.” —Jennifer W.

Incentivize the students.

“When I sub, I usually do a Madlib or two as an incentive to get the room ready at the end of the day. You can find free ones online. Madlibs go a long way and are a great tension or ice breaker. It only takes about 5 minutes, and the kids get super into it!” —Madison T.

Learn from others!

Follow this teacher’s blueprint for surviving as a sub!

Bring stickers!

“I used to bring stickers. No allergy issues. I also brought a book to share and some brain break ideas to fill extra time.” —Lauren S.

Take control.

“Take control of the class so that you can get all of the lesson plan done. Lessons stack from day to day, so getting that day’s plans done helps the absent teacher in a tremendous way. When I was a sub, so many teachers praised the fact that I actually taught the lessons, and once word got out that I ‘got it all done,’ I got called every day.” —Angelique P.

Teach an old-school recess game.

Substitute teachers may have to do recess duty too! Get the kids outdoors and having fun with one of these games you played as a kid!

Leave a business card.

“Leave some sort of business card… more than just scribbling your contact info on a note. When I would get a call for a new school I hadn’t been to yet, I always left extra cards and said they could pass them out to others. Now that I am a teacher, I love when subs do that! It is so helpful. I am always looking for a sub who can keep the class going while I am gone, instead of taking my chances with a random sub!” —Jessica L.

Document feedback.

“I always bring a set of blank notecards so that even if the teacher doesn’t have a ‘feedback sheet,’ I can fill them in on how the day went. And thank them in the note for letting you have their class (no matter how the day went!).” —Kim C.

Solicit student help.

“Find a trustworthy student to help locate or explain certain procedures.” —Heather R.