Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Preparing for a Substitute

sickAs spring gets near, allergies can wreak havoc on my body. If I am going to be absent, this time is probably harder for me than the winter months. I do many things to prepare for days that I am out which helps my students and my substitute.

Throughout the year, I try to meet the substitutes at come to my school. I try to get a feel for their personalities to see if I think they would be good with my students. As a special ed teacher, many subs won’t work in my class so I find the ones who are willing to do this. Once I find the ones that I like, I get their contact information for the future.

I invite subs to come observe me so they can see what procedures I follow and meet the students. This really helps for the future also so this person is not unknown to them. My students have a difficult time with new people and new situations.

I have a 3 ring binder that is designated as the “Substitute Book.” This binder has several sections designated in it.

1. One section holds seating charts, copies of attendance rosters, locations of important places and things (faculty restroom, asst. principal offices, cafeteria, and emergency bag for fire drills).

2. One section labeled “For Help” contains the teachers nearby including names and locations that the sub can go to if help is needed. I also include names of trusted students for each class that can also help the substitute with the daily routine and locating places and things.

3. One section is for my class rules and consequences (along with behavior referrals for the office).

4. Another section holds the emergency lesson plans. I keep a copy of lessons for each class/subject that can be used at any time of the year. This may cover some new information but does not teach any new skills. It is more of a review using skills they already know. I don’t feel this is a waste of time or busy work as long as they are practicing skills that they have learned this year. It never hurts to practice them.

5. One section holds a copy of the routine procedures that is also posted on the wall. I have routine procedures for the subjects I teach. This routine is very helpful to my students also. Even though the content matter will change, many of the routine classroom procedures are the same on a daily basis.

6. One section is just blank sheets of paper for the substitute to leave me any notes about the students, the lesson, or anything in general.

7. The last section holds the student copies of any material needed in the emergency lesson plans.

A lot of this take times to plan and prepare but it is well worth the effort. The students and the substitute will appreciate this in the long run. It also makes my life easier when I return to the class.

What do you do to prepare for a substitute when you are absent? Does your school require certain things?

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Migraine'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/94247240@N00/3716450912 by: Craig Munro


Kim Sloggett said...

I blogged about this same topic recently on my blog: sloggettbloggett09.blogspot.com.


loonyhiker said...

@Kim Thanks for leaving a comment. I've added your blog to my Google reader so I don't miss any of your updates!

Larry Linebaugh said...

As a newer teacher, I've found myself out of the classroom for more sick days than I anticipated. I'm so focused on making sure my classroom gets closer and closer to perfect for my students, that the only time I think about being ready for a sub, is the moment after I call in for the sub.

So thank you for your post, this is something I can definitely improve over spring break :)

loonyhiker said...

@Larry Linebaugh I'm so glad you found these suggestions helpful! Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment.