It’s inevitable. As much as you don’t want to, you will have to miss school occasionally. And I know many teachers stress and worry about what will happen in and to their classroom when they are not there. Teachers and subs alike have plenty of horror stories to share. However, you can plan ahead to avoid some of those horrors.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for a sub. Use my checklist to make sure nothing is forgotten. You can download this checklist for free from the Odds N Ends page on Laura Candler's Teaching Resources.
Here are eight tips to help you avoid sub disaster:
- Make sure all pertinent information is handy. That includes a class list (with pictures if possible), seating chart, class schedule (including anything out of the ordinary like library, guidance, or assemblies), a description of your classroom procedures, a description of your classroom management plan, and a list of helpful numbers around the school (helpful teachers, office, nurse, custodian, etc.).
- Make sure forms and office supplies are within sight. That includes nurse passes, attendance forms, lunch count materials, pen, and notepad.
- Write detailed lesson plans… the more the better. Probably the worst thing you could write in the lesson plans is: “The students know what to do.” As a teacher, I know you would much rather a sub not get to everything on your list rather than “wing it” with some possibly questionable activities. If you are in a bind, there are free emergency sub plans for grades K-5 available at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Rachel-Friedrich Each grade level has a warm-up, a reading lesson, a language arts lesson, a math lesson, a science lesson, and a social studies lesson. Instructions along with reproducibles are included.
- Make sure all the materials and supplies for the lessons in your plans are available.
- Unless you know the sub, don’t plan lessons that heavily rely on cooperative learning or manipulatives. Yes, those are best practices, but when a sub is there, those things tend to get misused even with good classroom management.
- Don’t forget dismissal procedures. This is extremely vital in the elementary school setting. Many times little ones don’t know where to go, and the older ones try to fool a sub by convincing them they get to go home with a friend.
- If technology is to be used for morning announcements, videos, or other parts of the lesson plans, make sure instructions to use the technology are clear and straightforward.
- Leave a list of special students. That includes helpful ones, ones that need medication or have other health restrictions, ones on behavior plans, and others to keep an extra eye on.
—Rachel Friedrich at Sub Hub, http://www.subhubonline.blogspot.com