I find being a substitute teacher very rewarding. I like the fact that I don’t have to come up with all the daily schedules and routines, but I get to enjoy being with the kids and helping them learn something new. Here are 7 tips on being a substitute teacher that I find very useful. I hope they might be helpful to you as well. Feel free to pass them on to someone you know who substitute teaches.
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Working with kids requires a lot of patience. People who have their own children know how trying they can be. Imagine an entire classroom full of different attitudes and personalities! As long as you are able to remain calm, the kids will usually stay calm as well. The moment you begin to lose your cool, they can sense the frustration and tend to play off of this.
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I always find it easier to get in the right frame of mind when I know the age group I will be substitute teaching. I’m in a totally different mindset when working with first graders than I am when subbing for a high school class. There is even a huge difference between pre-school aged children and fourth grade. The secretary never has a problem with telling me which class I’ll be subbing for. Plus, it helps me know what shoes to wear. If I know I might be potentially chasing basketballs with the elementary kids at recess, then I definitely don’t want to be wearing high heels.
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It seems easier to be prepared for the kids if I arrive to the classroom 15 to 20 minutes ahead of them. I can get my bearings and look over the assignments for the day. If the chairs need to be taken down or something written on the board, then I want to have these tasks finished before the kids arrive. I’d much rather be standing at the door and greeting the students when they arrive, instead of being preoccupied with other things in the room.
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There are always teachers in nearby classrooms who know what the daily routine is and are more than willing to help you, as long as you ask. I’ve found even the kids to be very helpful when I’m not sure about something in the schedule for the day. The kids tend to have their routine down enough to know when something is out of sync. Most of them are also very helpful in pointing this out to you as well!
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The teacher you are subbing for will usually leave the names of a couple of students who are very helpful. These are usually kids that can be sent to the office with a note and you won’t have to worry about them running down the hall or hiding in the bathroom when they are supposed to be on their way to the classroom.
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Whether the day went completely smooth or had a bunch of hitches in it, I always leave a note for the teacher. I list any issues that came up, questions that the kids had that I couldn’t answer, or the location of trip money, library books, or anything else a student may have brought in for the teacher. I also always thank the teacher for sharing his/her class with me.
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All of the teachers I’ve subbed for have been fantastic about leaving the most detailed directions ever. I find it helpful to take a look at the notes and daily schedule when I first get in the classroom. I want to make sure I know where everything is. Reading notes before the kids get to class also allows me to find another teacher for help if needed.
These 7 tips on being a substitute teacher are ones I’ve gathered over the years. They have come in handy for me numerous times. I’ve even had new substitute teachers who have found these tips extremely helpful. Do you have any additional tips for teaching you’d like to share? Did you find any of the above tips helpful to you?
Top Photo Credit: Hugo Provoste
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