George Lucas Educational Foundation

Advice for new Substitute Teacher

Advice for new Substitute Teacher

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
More Related Discussions
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

I am returning to the classroom as a substitute teacher after 15 years. I raised my 3 children in the public education system but BOY have things changed. What advice can you give me about working with middle school children as a guest teacher? And what would you like a guest teacher to know about living in your classroom for a day?

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

Comments (3) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

As a former middle school teacher, here are the things I looked for in my substitutes:

1) Follow the lesson plans I write. I took the time to plan out an entire day of learning for my students even though I'm not going to be there, please do your best to implement it.

2) Meet and connect with your team members before the day starts. If you're in middle school, your students are most likely assigned to a team of teachers. Find out who your team members are, who the team leader is, and try and ask them any questions you might have.

3) Have a light touch. Joke around, be a real person. Middle schoolers respond to authenticity more than any age level I've ever worked with.

4) ...but not too light. Don't take any nonsense. Remember the other teachers you met in #2? They'll probably offer that they'll take any kids causing problems for you. Use this at the first sign of a real problem, or it will only get worse.

John S. Thomas's picture
John S. Thomas
First & Second Grade Teacher/Adjunct faculty Antioch University New England, former Elementary Principal

I would add that I want some quick written feedback on specific students who did meet expectations during my absence. This is very helpful so I can follow up with them one on one upon my return. If they know they will be held accountable for their behavior even in my absence hopefully it will make your next visit to my room more enjoyable.

Carissa Robinson's picture
Carissa Robinson
Science Teacher in Montana

As a former sub:

I have had kids who tell me about rules that are not posted. Some seem like they may be legit; however if it is not posted or written down, the rule does not exist.

Ask about how attendance is done if nothing was left for attendance.

Check out the room for emergency back packs or procedures.

I typically left a card for the teachers in which I was qualified to teacher or had experience to be able to teach (eg. music).

As a teacher:

Excuse my clutter but keep the classroom as clean as I left it and anything you use, put back in the vicinity it was found.

Let me know what was accomplished and what was not accomplished. Also note student behavior.
Share something about yourself.

Ask students for help. Right now most of my students are helpful and reliable. If I only had a few that I considered reliable and helpful I would right them down.

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.