Being A Better Substitute Teacher: Remember Your Experiences

Think back to when you were in school and you had a substitute teacher. Did you enjoy having a sub? What made you like or dislike the substitute and why? Ask yourself these questions as you prepare to enter the classroom.

1. What did the substitute do that made me feel comfortable in my class? Did they try to keep to the teachers usual routine or was the day totally different. Although as a substitute we may not be able to do things exactly like the classroom teacher, it is essential we do our best to follow the schedule and routine as best as possible.

2. Was the substitute nice or mean? Ok let’s face it, nobody likes a mean substitute. Picture a cranky old lady wagging her finger and yelling all day. On the other hand, it is imperative that you aren’t so laid back that the students run over you. A substitute must find that happy medium of being stern but approachable.

3. Did the substitute look like “A Teacher?” Most teachers don’t come to school everyday in a business suit, but they also do not come to school in a halter top and cut offs! It is essential that you dress the part in order for students to respect you and accept you. Look around at what your child’s teachers wear most of the time and keep it professional.

4. Was the substitute confident? Kids sense fear and weakness. In order to be successful in a classroom you have to be confident in what you are doing. It is fine to ask questions and clarification. It is not okay to say I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, so let’s have a free day. By arriving early and reading the lesson plans and getting prepared you will be ready when the students enter the classroom.

5. Was the substitute easily distracted? We all remember those substitutes, especially in high school, that we knew we could distract by asking them about something they liked. Next thing you knew they had been talking about some unrelated topic all hour and class was over. The problem was they never gave the assignment the teacher left and now the class is behind schedule. Don’t be that substitute, stay on task and keep the students focused.

I know for some of us it has been a long time since we were in school and thinking back to remember our substitute teachers may be difficult. Nevertheless, if we try we can remember a few classes where we had a substitute and ask ourselves these questions.

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