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Substitute Teaching Tips For New Teachers

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 10/17/2013

Substitute teaching can be a great way to enter the world of education, but it can be scary as well. Do you feel at the mercy of your students when you substitute teach? Are you unsure of your abilities? Read on for some quick tips for success.

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    You've decided to substitute teach or you have been toying with the idea. There are some great benefits, and there are also some great fears for new substitute teachers. It is sometimes difficult to know what to expect of the students as well as what to expect from yourself.

    Below are some tips that are sure to make a day of substitute teaching flow much smoother than it would without them!

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    Substitute Teacher 

    • Know the geographic area, the neighborhood, you are working in. Knowing the demographics of the area can lend you some insight into the world of your students.
    • Dress appropriately. There is no need to be flashy since this is not a fashion show. But, you do need to look professional. First impressions may be the deciding factor on whether you are treated with respect by your students.
    • Speak in a professional manner. If you speak like you are in high school, your students will treat you as a fellow student, or worse. Use your mannerisms to display a professional demeanor.
    • Plan time fillers for any free time that may turn into an unruly fiasco if the time is not used wisely. Time fillers can be used to fill five minutes or even an hour. Have a range of them at your ready and don't hesitate to use them.
    • Stick with the teacher's lesson plan. Everyone responds better to a functional schedule and a routine. If you stick with the schedule the teacher has provided, then the students will have an easier time staying on track.
    • Plan a game for the end of the day. If the students have been compliant and the work is done, then save some time at the end of the day to show your appreciation for the students' cooperation. Plan a game such as Heads Up Seven Up for elementary students. Older students may simply prefer some down time to read, study, etc.
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    Remember to come prepared to teach, not babysit. Show no fear and enjoy the time with your students. If you stick to a schedule, are professional and show a friendly face, you should have no problem with your students!