Tips for Substitutes
Be on time. If teachers are called away for a half-day or have an emergency to get to, be a lifesaver in their eyes by being readily available. Wake up each day as if it were a working day. Campuses will appreciate your promptness and dependability should you be needed at the last minute.
Follow teacher directions. If the teacher took the time to plan a lesson, please make sure students complete the work. After all, that’s what they’re expecting to see upon their return. This is one of the main aspects teachers look for in a substitute. Also, don’t minimize a task. If a worksheet has a part A and part B section, make sure students complete the entire paper. Better to do too much than to do too little.
Think on your feet. Should students finish their work early, keep a bag of tricks available for every subject area. Word puzzles, word and number games, and any activity to reinforce a skill would be greatly appreciated. These activities will keep students busy and out of trouble.
Be friendly but strict with the class. Substitute teachers are acting in part for the teacher, and since most teachers don’t get very far by being pushovers, don’t aim to win favorites by trying to act ‘cool’ for the students. Stick to your rules as well as the classroom rules. Be respectful and in turn be respected.
Know how to manage kids. Before you step into a classroom of teenagers or kindergarten students, give yourself an opportunity to gain experience working with that age group of students. Can you handle kids who lose their tempers, break into tears or develop an attitude? Try hanging around your children’s friends, nieces and nephews, public libraries, toy stores and other such places. You need not interact to think about how you might respond to situations.
Stay involved in the class. Even if you don’t understand the subject area, move around the class to assist with the student work however you can. This will keep behavior issues to a minimum and make you aware should any problems arise. Remember: substitutes aren’t babysitters, so please don’t stay seated behind a desk all day.