Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Top 3 Things To Make a Sub's (and Your) Life Easier
1. Lesson Plans! By far the most important thing to me is to leave meaningful lesson plans. Make sure your lesson plans cover your curriculum and don't include too much (if any) busy work. Students know when an assignment is busy work, and I guarantee it makes classroom management much more difficult. Make sure the lesson plans fill the time allotted for each subject or class and even include some extras for those just-in-case times. Yes, good subs will be able to wing it, but as we all know, you are not always guaranteed to have a good sub. Make those lesson plans as detailed as possible. Note things such as where students are to turn in assignments, if they are allowed to work in pairs or groups, etc. And please, please, please don't ever write the sentence: "The students know what to do." I guarantee you students either don't know what to do or pretend not to know when a sub is there. In my experience, free time and unknowns are the times when things can turn disastrous, so eliminating those two things with good lesson plans go a long way toward things running smoothly.
2. Leave a seating chart. It makes attendance easy, and helps the sub be able to learn names easier. And if possible, have nametags on desks (I realize teachers of higher grades don't do this). It makes it more difficult for students to pull the old desk switcheroo trick.
3. Leave helpful names and phone numbers. Make sure to list which students are dependable helpers and a list of helpful teachers as well as other names and numbers such as the office, nurse, discipline person, etc. That way as problems arise, the sub will know who to ask for help.
I know that if an absence is unexpected, these things aren't always possible. But if you know ahead of time that you will be out, then doing these three things will solve many of the problems that could and do arise when a sub is in the room. And remember, the easier you make things for the sub, the better shape your students and room will be in when you return.