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Communicating with the Classroom Teacher – The Importance of leaving a note for the classroom teacher

At the end of your substitute teaching day, it is time for you to take care of some essential paperwork. Do not underestimate the importance of leaving a note for the classroom teacher. Leaving such a note gives YOU the chance to update on all the details of the day, much as you would if you were teaching together. Teachers appreciate this courtesy because it allows their return to be as seamless as possible, and are more likely to ask that you be called on for future absences in their room.

You can prepare for this note by purchasing stationary, making up a template, either on pre-printed forms, or on a laptop to be printed out or e-mailed to the teacher. Being organized in this way makes sure you remember each important area of communication, and demonstrates a professional level of involvement in the school as well as a concern for the smooth function of the classroom.

You may want to start with a section on the students themselves. Be specific: tell about any students who behaved particularly well or were helpful to you; include information about any disciplinary issues or students with personal concerns the teacher needs to be aware of. Give a full report on the day’s tasks; be sure to communicate what tasks were completed and which are unfinished, as well as explaining any interruptions that came up. Make a note if you realize the class is low on any sort of supply or notice anything needing attention. It is helpful to leave positive comments on the lesson plans the teacher provided for you and to take a moment to praise the good things you observed in the classroom.

Let the teacher know if there were any assemblies or news that affects the whole school. Classroom teachers will especially appreciate if you have any anecdotes from the day you can pass along. Look for a chance to find students or part of the day which delighted you and share these moments, as one colleague to another.

Take a few minutes to think about how to personalize this form for each specific grade level or subject you may be called upon to substitute in. Teachers in lower grades may need more information about individual students, for example. Some may appreciate feedback on how particular groups processed certain assignments.

We are here to support substitute teachers in all subjects. Please contact us for additional ideas to make your job more successful.

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