This post is found in the Teachers Lounge. It is filed under the Talking Points heading. This post deals with substitutes and how to help them be more effective in your class. This is a part of the "How to work with a ..." series to view the previous article follow the link.
Substitute Teachers seem to have gotten a bad rap. There is even a facebook page for messing with the sub.
But who couldn't have predicited this?
A recent article in Education Week described how teacher absences negatively effect student achievement. It also discusses what some local school districts are doing to generate better subs.
I feel like much of the blame is on the subs who do not care about the students and just want a paycheck to read the latest issue of readers digest/country living/vogue (or whatever their particular interest is).
However, the second fundamental problem is that teachers do not know how to turn over their class to others.
Here are some suggestions that will make the substitute experience a little better:
To the Teacher:
- Leave detailed lesson plans that are easy to read (in order of your day)
- Explain in full what your expectations of the school day
- Prepare all the materials needed for the day and label them (overly organized teachers love this)
- DO NOT ALLOW FOR HOURS OF DOWNTIME
- downtime is a nightmare for a sub (they do not know the regular routine for downtime and then they have to guess what the students are able/allowed to do. That never works out well)
- Make mention of how you handle class disruptions. The sub does not know your behavior management plan!
- PREPARE your students in advance. If you know in advance that you will be absent, your students should too.
- Give the sub access to your computer so that way they will have internet resources to help them teach. (hopefully your school has a guest login with firewalls in place and you won't have to worry about where the sub goes on the web)
- Courtesy tip: Tell the sub what you do at lunch.
- Do you have duties?
- Do you meet/eat with other teachers? Where?
To the Substitute Teacher:
- Be on time and read the lesson plans entirely before the students arrive.
- If you are unsure of something ask another teacher!
- LEARN THE STUDENTS NAMES.Even if it takes you 10 minutes of going up and down the aisle saying each students name. This will make your day so much better and it will show the students you care about them.
- Follow the lesson plan. Rarely is it okay to ad lib your way through the day.
- You are a teacher! Teach! Help them with the assignments (if you can)
- Use the computer to assist you (not to surf the web)
- Don't let the students just sit there. You are not a babysitter. EXPECT MORE of the students and yourself!
- Leave a detailed message of everything the teacher needs to know.
- They don't need to know that Joey got out of his seat in 3rd period
- It might be beneficial for the teacher to know if anything went on between 2 students. (Like if Sally gets tired of Joey's teasing and smacks/trips/trips/spits on him)
- Don't disappear! Sometimes subs seem to vanish for long periods throughout the day. Don't do that.
- Don't be on your phone/kindle/ipad or reading a magazine. Focus on what you are doing.
ONE LAST THOUGHT:
I often see subs treated as an outkast. That is so rude! Do not treat subs as visitors in your building but as part of the team.
Invite them to join your table or start a conversation with them.
Remember that they do not know everyone. So introduce yourself and be friendly.