Are you a substitute -- or potential substitute -- wondering whether you'll survive the challenges that lie ahead? Are you an administrator or a classroom teacher wondering how to help a substitute get through the day? If so, the Education World Online Substitute Survival Kit is for you! Included: Songs, games, lesson activities, and templates to help a sub survive even the most difficult experience!
You've signed up to be a substitute teacher, and now you're wondering whether it was really such a good idea? Will you be able to control the students? Will you understand fifth-grade math? Will the teacher leave detailed plans? Will it be as bad as you've heard it can be?
The kind of substituting experience you have is pretty much up to you, say the subs we talked to. All you have to do to survive, they say, is be prepared, be professional, and never let them see you sweat!
"The first ten minutes set the tone for the whole day," Peg Arseneaux, a former classroom teacher and long-time sub from Glastonbury, Connecticut, told Education World. "Have an introduction of yourself ready. Establish the fact that you are you and not the regular teacher. Point out that things will be a little different and that that's OK. It could even be fun! This is especially important with younger kids.
"I usually tell students that I have only two rules," Arseneaux added. "Don't talk when I'm talking, and be respectful. I'll add more rules if they're needed, and I tell the kids that as well. If you get them under control right away, your day should go pretty well."
Over the years, Arseneaux has developed some rules for subs that can help your day go smoothly too:
(Click here for more Tips for Subs, including strategies, techniques, and professional advice.)
"I like the flexibility subbing provides," Arseneaux told Education World. "And I like the fact that I can actually teach without having to worry about the daily ins and outs of the regular classroom teacher's administrative duties. What I don't like is getting those 5 a.m. computer calls telling me there's a job for me and then having to push the right buttons on the phone, in the dark, to get the assignment.
"Another thing I don't like," Arseneaux added, "is not having clear instructions on morning routines and having to look for such items as attendance cards and lunch slips.
"Of course, the absolute worst situation is not having sufficiently detailed plans to work from," said Arseneaux. "It's not necessary to provide minute-by-minute instructions, but subs need more direction than '9:00 to 9:45 -- language arts' and a couple of teacher's guides tossed on the desk.
"That doesn't happen to me very often, though," Arseneaux pointed out. "Usually, even when a lesson goes more quickly than anticipated, the teacher has provided a folder with extra work in it. If you use that folder, be sure you let the teacher know what you did. If you can't find anything left by the teacher, other teachers from the same grade level can be very helpful. If all else fails, I use some of the following tried and true techniques:
You might also try one of the quick and easy lesson plans Education World has put together for you this week!
"Of course, there are some things you can't control, no matter how well prepared you think you are," Arseneaux pointed out. "There was the time, for example, when a second grader got on the wrong bus to go home because she wanted to be with her friends, or the time I discovered from a teacher's lesson plans that I was the only grade-level teacher going on a field trip to the museum!
"At times like those," Arseneaux said, "all you can do is do your best and hope for the best" -- and use every trick in your Education World Substitute Teacher Survival Kit!
The following sites will help you create activities and lessons to use when the permanent teacher's plans run a little short!
Find more substitute teacher information at the sites below.
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Links last updated 07/11/2011