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March 13, 2013

My Advice to You

What a great linky party!  Even though I don’t have my own classroom right now, I do have some advice for teachers leaving day plans for a sub since subbing is what I do on a daily basis.  These next 3 things are some of the most important pieces of information that you can leave for your substitute teacher to help with classroom management!

1)  Leave a seating plan

Even if students’ desks have names taped to them, please leave a seating plan!  As a substitute teacher, it is very important that we learn students’ names as fast as we can and a seating plan allows us to do that from anywhere in the classroom.  It’s always a surprise to students when we know their names and we’ve never been in the classroom before.  It catches their attention very fast, and lets them know that we know what we’re doing.  It also minimizes the chances that students will take advantage of the sub and switch desks to sit with their friends and cause disruptions all day.  This especially happens in the older grades.

2)  Give names of students to rely on and students to watch out for

When you’re a substitute teacher, it’s always a bonus to know who you can trust when you walk into a new classroom.  These are the students we go to if we’re unsure of where something is or of regular procedures should you forget to mention it in your day plan.  It’s also great to know who we need to watch closely for behaviour issues as it’s always best to nip any problem in the bud right away!  This ensures a day that runs smoothly for everyone.

3) Inform us of learning difficulties and any adaptations or modifications

Without giving too many details, let us know who works with assistive technology, who needs a scribe, who gets frustrated easily and needs a breather.  Nothing is more frustrating to a student than when the sub doesn’t know that he or she is allowed to leave the classroom and go to a “safe place” when frustrated and overwhelmed!  

I had an incident once where the whole school had recently implemented a system where specific students wore passes around their necks.  These passes allowed them some time to calm down without the teacher, or any other student interfering.  They were allowed to leave the room and go for a walk, then come back once they had calmed down.  I had no clue what those passes were for or what they meant.  A student who needed to leave got increasingly agitated and frustrated when I objected to him leaving.  A simple note about this procedure would have made my life, and his life, a lot easier.

I can think of so much more I could tell you, but I will save it for later date.  Don’t forget to check out the link above and hop to the other blogs to read everyone’s advice.  It’s sure to make you breathe a little bit easier to know that others have gone through the same thing you have and have learned from it.  

Oh! One more thing!!  This one is FOR substitute teachers!  Leave notes, lots of notes, on how your day went!! I always give tons of details on the day and I've had a lot of very positive comments in regards to it.  While I had my contract last year, I realized that not every substitute teacher does that and I hated seeing only a checkmark or an X beside on my dayplans. I never knew what it meant.  So this year, I've created this form.  I use it all the time and teachers love it.  Substitutes, print it out for yourselves!  Teachers, print it out and leave it with your dayplans!

In English

If you could only give ONE piece of advice to a colleague, what would it be?

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  1. I love that you linked up with advice from a sub's perspective. Thanks!!

  2. As another sub. I couldn't agree with your post more! Thank you for stating what most subs. wish all teachers would leave for us. I would also add the obvious things of a lesson plan with where to find items needed, when and where specials are located and a list of how students get home. Thanks again!! Sara in Ohio

  3. I love the "While You Were out" form. So simple to use but it really covers every piece of the day that a teacher needs to know when he/she returns. Thank you so much for sharing this! It will be going immediately into my sub folder.

  4. I'm glad that you've enjoyed this advice from a sub! :) My favourite part of my form is the last little box that I added recently. It makes me focus on at least one great thing that happened during the day, and on those really difficult days, it can sometimes be hard to think of something positive to say! :P

  5. Yes Sara! I agree with you! Thanks for adding to my list! :)

  6. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon. Fly like an eagle


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