Ten Substituting Tips

This past year my job has been in fluctuation so I wanted to make sure I had some sort of income as to not see our family starve to death. I love kids and teaching so I thought I might try my hand at substituting in the public school. I never thought I would be a substitute because I know exactly what substitute means. . ."not the real thing." I even had a little girl that I know from church come up to me on the playground and say, "Are you being a pretend teacher today? Can I go to the bathroom?"

As most everything I do when I don't know a thing about it. . .I googled "Tips for Substitute Teaching." I have taught before, but it has been about ten years ago and I was nervous mainly about classroom management. These are the things I have learned, as well as remembered, from my teaching days.

1) Establish your authority as soon as you go in the class. Make eye contact. Write your name on the board and the word RECESS. Only take away a letter if you have to and for 5 minutes off their RECESS.
extra bonus RECESS tip: I got this idea from one of the kids, instead of making them sit their recess out, have them walk around the edge of the playground for five minutes. That way they are expending energy and not getting to do what they really want.

2) During the pledge of allegiance, scan the room for those who are not paying attention and looking at me to see if I am paying attention to them not doing what they are supposed to. Say a prayer for those kids and for yourself. You are going to need all of the help you can get!

3) Try to get there early to review your lesson plans for the day. Try to do exactly what the teacher does because everything you do differently, the kids will say, "Mrs. _____ doesn't do it that way." Gently remind yourself and the kids that you may do things differently and that is ok.

4) Take a book for yourself for any times that you do not have anything to do (which is rare) and an age appropriate one for the kids if they finish their work early.

5) Make sure you have enough lunch money. I had to barter with the cafeteria lady to trade my pudding for a dollar because I only had $2 instead of $3 (which is pretty outrageous price for hardly any food). You will be happy to know the lunch lady did not make me give up my pudding, but took a rain check on the dollar that I owed her. :)

6) Take the teacher a gift to leave behind. I want to do this, but have not done this yet. I want to get a little bottle of expo board cleaner and tie a ribbon around the top and let them know that I appreciate them letting me sub their class. I will leave my phone number so they can call me for questions as well as call me for the future.

7) This is the best game for lining them up when they are taking a bathroom break. Even with a naughty class that talks in the hallway this works and the other teachers around you are muy impressivo.

You say, "I am going to describe someone and I want them to go to the front of the line. This person has is facing the front, not talking, has on _____, has ____ color eyes, etc." The biggest deal in the world is being in the front of the line when you are in elementary school. They are sooo quiet and they remember you by being the substitute that does the fun lining up game.

8) Just know that the teacher (not mailiciously I am sure :)) is probably going to leave you with every duty known to man! The last time I subbed I had recess duty, car rider duty, and naughty kids during Free recess duty. I had one planning period. Sometimes the time that the kids are in PE is my only time to think and get myself together.

9) Lay all of your sheets out on a table for the day and put your schedule on the board if you need to because the kids are going to say, "What time do we go to.. . .?" I can easily say, it is on the board. This makes it easy to find the sheets and know what to do in order.

10) Grab someone you know or that looks responsible in the class at the beginning of the morning and ask them, "How do things go around here? Does this usually happen? Where does she keep her extra ____? " This will help you to have an ally and she will probably whisper in your ear how you are supposed to do things and that you were supposed to be at lunch ten minutes ago :).
Bonus Tips: Plan a crockpot meal the night before for you at the end of the day to come home to. You are going to be tired. It is not your usual routine and it can be pretty draining. Don't let your family suffer because of your added responsibilities. You will be emailing me and thanking me for that tip, I promise.

Have a great and very successful substituting time!

Thank you to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for hosting another awesome Works for Me Wednesday!


Wanda said...

Excellent tips!

My job....is the In-house Sub at a large high school. I am full-time.
I've been in every scenario in the world.
This can be one of the greatest or worst jobs in the world.

I love it!

John Mark said...

You are very impressive!