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Top Four Challenges for Long-Term Substitute Teachers

Being a Long-Term Substitute Teacher has many advantages.  Long-term substitute teachers have the chance to stay in one classroom for a period of time.  They can also form relationships with the children, and can witness the progress of each child as the school year advances.  However, there are also a few challenges that are unique to long-term substitute teachers.  Have you been asked to fill a long-term substitute teaching position?  If so, here are a few of the challenges that you might face:

Classroom Integration

It can be difficult to become accustomed to a pre-established classroom routine, and a long-term substitute teacher may find that it takes a while to feel fully integrated into the classroom.  Consider visiting the classroom while the primary teacher is still there, and take the time to learn about the primary teacher’s policies and routines.  Introducing a few of your own routines might help you and your students establish a bond.  However, keep in mind that students are already accustomed to their day-to-day routine, and can become upset about change in the schedule.

Lesson Management

A long-term substitute teacher needs to be ready to manage lessons over a long period of time, and will need to take the initiative to create new lesson plans.  Long-term subs will need to administer tests, grade homework, and find a way to keep kids engaged with the lesson.

Teacher Contact

Long-term subs should make an effort to maintain contact with the full-time teacher, in order to give progress reports and make sure that the lesson plan is on track.  Maintaining contact with the full-time teacher will make it easier for the teacher to return to the classroom, and will give the full-time teacher a good impression of your teaching.

Saying Goodbye

The hardest part of both short and long-term substitute teaching may be saying goodbye to students when the full-time teacher returns.  Being professional and engaging in the classroom can increase your chances of being invited back for short-term substitute positions in the classroom or the school.

For more information on becoming a great substitute teacher, please visit our website or contact us for more information!

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Foreign Language Learning Games: Resource for Substitute Teachers

As a substitute teacher teaching a foreign language, it is often your responsibility to create an effective and engaging class from a quickly patched together (or even nonexistent) lesson plan. One of the best ways to fill time and create an enjoyable learning experience for students is to play language games. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and each can all be tailored to the lesson at hand. These games can even fill an entire class period if need be! The list below is only the tip of the iceberg and can be used as a starting point to create your own games.

  • Two Truths and a Lie: Students are divided into pairs or small groups and take turns making three statements in the target language, only two of which are true, as the others guess which one is false.
  • Charades: Alternating between two teams, one student must act out a vocabulary word without speaking as the others try to guess what it is.
  • Hello My Name Is…: Students have sixty seconds to introduce themselves and speak on a number of provided subjects (anything from their favorite color to their political views) before switching to the next conversation partner.
  • Around the World: Two students race to be the first to correctly translate a word or conjugate a verb. The winner faces the next challenger in line until he or she is defeated.
  • Flyswatter: Give one student from each team a fly swatter and write a list of vocabulary words in one language on the board. When students are ready, the translation of one of the words is read and the students attempt to be the first to identify and swat it.
  • Create a Story: Students work together to tell a story in the target language. Each is allowed to speak for thirty seconds before the story is continued by the next student in line.

We offer a treasure trove of valuable information in all areas related to substitute teaching. Be sure to contact us to take advantage of all we have to offer!

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Benefits of Having a Seating Chart in the Classroom – And How to Wing it Without One!

Classroom seating charts are a powerful teaching tool when they are used in an effective manner. No teacher can create a seating arrangement for the first day of school that will remain unchanged on the last day of school. You must go into the year expecting to make changes along the way as each child’s personality comes out, friendships are made, and fights erupt.

There are two main benefits of having a seating chart in the classroom at the beginning of a new year:

  • It is easier to remember which face goes with which name if all faces are in the same place each day.
  • You can seat children with known learning disabilities and behavioral challenges closer to your desk. This makes it easier to remember which students have special needs and allows you to watch those students closely to determine how you can help them.

Once names are memorized and personalities are better understood, the seating arrangement becomes a tool that helps maximize teacher control over the class. A respectful and orderly learning environment is created when this tool is used effectively.

As a substitute teacher, you do not have the personal knowledge that the full-time teacher has collected about each of the students. In elementary schools, you may notice name tags on the desks that indicate the students are well aware of the seating arrangement. In intermediate, middle or high schools, you will have to check the instructions and paperwork provided by the classroom teacher to see if a seating arrangement is in effect.

When you do not find a hint of a seating arrangement and there are no clues within the classroom, immediately create a temporary plan before students arrive. This allows you to take control of the class right from the start. The benefits of this are the same as those listed above for full-time teachers beginning a new school year.

If you have information regarding students with special needs, start by placing those students in seats close to your desk or wherever you will spend most of your time. Arrange the remaining students quickly, and plan to make change to the arrangement throughout your time in the classroom.

Many full-time teachers now use programs like Happy Class to manage their seating charts. You may want to have something like this available for longer substitute assignments.

Substitute teaching  is not an easy job, and you need support. Continue exploring our blog to perfect your substitute teacher tricks, and contact us if you have questions about our convenient substitute alerts.

First Facebook Giveaway!!

Sub Sidekick is excited to introduce our very first Facebook page giveaway. Like and share our post for your chance to win a three month subscription credit! The giveaway is open until Monday, October 28th, so enter for your chance to win today!

When you like our Facebook page, you will receive our latest updates and blog posts which include many tips and resources for substitute teachers. Here are a few recent posts:

Have a great week!



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Dressing Professionally In the Classroom

Different school districts assign different rules for what their teachers are permitted to wear to work. Most public schools are becoming far more casual in what they accept from teachers, but some schools still expect a high degree of formality. Should you follow the same rules as full-time teachers, or are there substitute rules you need to abide by?

This will vary depending on what your long term career goals are and what school system you currently serve. Ask yourself the following questions to help determine how you should dress for a given assignment:

1. What is acceptable for full-time teachers at this school?

2. What are my future career goals, and how would I dress for my ideal future position?

3. What style of clothing is most likely to impress school administrators?

If your goal is to one day become a full-time teacher or even lead a school in an administrative capacity, then you will likely choose more formal attire for every teaching assignment. This does not necessarily mean a suit and tie or your best heels. It may mean a nice blouse and fresh dress pants rather than worn khaki pants and a t-shirt.

If your future goal is simply to be the best substitute teacher you can be, dressing professionally is still important. You want the school administrators and teachers to view you as a respectable, trustworthy person they can rely on. You are more likely to earn that respect from clothing that is clean, well ironed, properly fit to your body, and professional in style.

If you notice full-time teachers wearing blue jeans and/or shorts to school, you can follow suit. Make sure your jeans are not faded and do not have holes, and combine them with a nice blouse or polo shirt. Shorts should be at or slightly above your knees and should have a professional cut.

What About Personality?

It is okay to reflect your personality in the way you dress as long as it does not conflict with school dress code or serve as a distraction to students. Go back to those questions listed above if you are uncertain about a certain outfit or style. Remember your responsibility to serve as a proper role model to the students, even if that means setting your personal preferences aside while you are on school grounds.

If you are going to a new school and are uncertain of the acceptable dress code, go with something classic like black dress pants and a blouse or long-sleeve shirt and tie. If you find the dress code is a bit more relaxed for full-time teachers, then you may go with a slightly more casual shirt or a short-sleeve polo next time you visit that school.

Be the first to know of substitute teaching jobs!  Contact us to stay on the alert for open substitute positions in your school district.

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AesopOnline’s Preferred Substitute Teacher Program – Is It Fair?

If your school district uses Absence Management, formally AesopOnline, to manage teacher absences, you should be aware of the preferred substitute feature. When teachers and school administrators assign select substitutes the preferred status, those substitutes are given the opportunity to fill some or all open positions before other substitutes are alerted.

Aesop offers this feature for the convenience of teachers and school administrators, but there are some advantages for substitute teachers as well:

  • Aesop has the potential to match your education, experience, and preferences with ideal openings within your school system. The better matched you are to a position, the better you can perform on the job.
  • Just as teachers are likely to have preferred substitutes, you are likely to have preferred teachers. You can spend more time subbing for those preferred teachers and less time subbing for random teachers.
  • You are more likely to feel appreciated when your school system utilizes the preferred substitute teacher feature. This is one way teachers and administrators can show that they value your hard work.

It is true that these advantages are enjoyed only when you are listed as a preferred substitute for your school district. If that seems unfair, think about it from the perspective of a teacher or school administrator. The most efficient way to ensure the best fit for every classroom is through the preferred substitute feature.

Teachers are more comfortable leaving their classrooms when they are familiar with the substitute filling in for them. You are likely more comfortable when you are familiar with the teaching style preferred for a classroom and the lesson plan being taught. Students are more comfortable with substitutes that they have worked with in the past. Everyone’s needs are met through the use of a preferred status system.

If you do your job to the best of your ability and develop strong working relationships with every teacher you assist, you can become an AesopOnline preferred substitute.

Do you want to be among the first to know when substitute positions are open in your school district? Contact us to start receiving alerts today.

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What Makes a Preferred Substitute Teacher Stand Out?

Leaving a good impression after spending a day substituting is one of the best ways to ensure that you will be invited back to a teacher’s classroom.  Great substitute teachers can be hard to find, and teachers often hesitate to entrust their classrooms to strangers.  A teacher who knows you and trusts you in the classroom is likely to request you in the future when he or she needs a substitute teacher.  Making a good impression with the kids is important as well.  Kids will often tell their teachers about a substitute teacher who was particularly kind and engaging.

To make a good impression that teachers will remember, you need to be professional.  Show up to the job on time, well groomed, and be polite to everyone you meet.  This includes children, fellow teachers, parents, and school administration.  Make sure to cover everything that the teacher left in his or her lesson plan for the day, and come prepared with your own backup plan.  Keeping your own plan handy will allow you able to fill any extra time in an engaging, productive manner.

Once the day is over, leave feedback for the teacher so that he or she will know how the day went.  Leave a few specific examples of what you studied, or of kids who behaved well, so that the teacher will know that you were fully engaged with the class.

If you want to make a good impression with the kids, make sure to be friendly and do your best to maintain a calm demeanor.  Come prepared with questions to lead class discussions, or find a way to make a game out of the day’s lesson plan.  Kids will appreciate the extra effort, and will often ask for you to come back in the future.

For more information and tips on becoming the Preferred Substitute Teacher for a classroom, please visit out website or contact us for more information.

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Classroom Management: What About Discipline?

Once in a while, a substitute teacher will come across a student who “acts out” during the school day.  While it is understandable that some students will display unwanted behaviors out of stress or frustration when their full-time teacher is away, the maintenance of a peaceful and orderly classroom requires substitute teachers to minimize unwanted behaviors.  We have listed here a few Classroom Management tips for substitute teachers:

Check School Guidelines

If a substitute teacher is unsure about whether to discipline a student, he or she should first check the school disciplinary guidelines to see which forms of discipline are appropriate.  Some schools prefer to only let administration handle discipline, while other schools have a clear disciplinary guideline for teachers.

Keep Kids Engaged

Substitute teachers should make sure to keep students busy and engaged as a way of preventing unwanted behaviors.  Students who are focused on a task are less likely to take the time to act out.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

It can be helpful when a substitute teacher does his or her best to provide a few minutes of individual attention to each child.  Paying positive attention to students, such as giving sincere compliments and praise, lets students know that the substitute teacher is acknowledging their good behavior.  In addition, kids will not need to “act out” for attention, since they are already receiving positive attention.

Reach Out to Administration

When in doubt, ask other teachers and school administration for help.  Fellow teachers have often had years of experience dealing with unwanted behaviors, and may be able to offer advice.  Furthermore, school administration can intervene in situations that a substitute teacher does not feel prepared to handle.  In cases of serious misbehavior, it is usually better for substitute teachers to ask for help from administration than to take matters into their own hands.

Please visit our website to see more information about substitute teaching, or to find out how you can obtain substitute teaching positions in your area.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

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The Benefits of Substitute Teaching

If someone is attracted to the teaching profession should they obtain their education first or get experience?  Working as a substitute teacher has a variety of benefits to accommodate people considering a teaching career, someone with education but no experience as well as someone with both education and teaching experience.  The advantages being a substitute teacher are attractive to people in many different situations.

Career Decision

Some people dream of being a teacher.  They think about the feeling of opening up new worlds to children and helping them develop into adults.  Like every profession, teaching has its downsides.  There is classroom discipline, lesson plans and dealing with the school administration.  Being a substitute teacher enables people to experience the reality of being a teacher, while comparing it to their perception of the profession.

Subjects and Grade Levels

In many school districts a substitute teacher can sign up to teach specific subjects.  While doing substitute teaching, a person may discover they like teaching math better than history.  Teaching science to children in elementary school is different than high school.  Each requires a different type of knowledge and skill.  Being a substitute teacher can help a person realize what they want to do in their teaching career.


After a person has spent enough time being a substitute teacher, they will know what school districts they want to work for and which ones they don’t.  Being a substitute teacher provides an opportunity to learn about how a school’s administration handles different issues and treats teachers.  It also gives the administration a chance to learn more about classroom performance and if the substitute teacher is a desirable candidate for an open position.

Flexible Schedule

The ability to choose when you work is attractive to many people.  Substitute teachers are able to turn down jobs on days when unforeseen things happen in their life.  They have the option of accepting longer assignments or waiting for ones that better fits their situation.

The important thing is for a substitute teacher to know what they want from their career.  If a person feels being a substitute teacher work better for them than seeking a full-time position, they should know all the benefits of substitute teaching.

Contact us today and learn about the many advantages substitute teaching provides.

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Benefits of WillSub for Substitute Teachers

Are you tired of receiving those last minute calls which evidently occur during the evening to substitute for a school? Do you find yourself constantly checking your messages for new assignments? To simplify your life as a substitute teacher, here are some benefits of using WillSub which provides an automated program to assist teachers, administrators, and substitutes in filling in for their job requests.

By setting up an account with WillSub, you will gain access to job requests customized to you. If you are only interested in filling in for elementary schools, then you can easily change it in your preferences.

You can also change how and when to be alerted of a new job request. No more late night calls! You can now go to bed peacefully. Recent update will allow your new job requests be sent to you via text message to your mobile phone. This added feature will definitely make it easier to receive new jobs in a timely manner.

WillSub is conveniently accessible 24/7 by phone or over the internet. Teachers can request substitutes online to cut back on administrative costs and save money. They can also leave specific notes for substitutes which will be helpful when filling in. They can also request a particular substitute as their preferred choice so it is important to make a good impression if you want to be notified again.

Payroll is included in this program so that every assignment is paid properly and securely stored for your records. With these advantages, your job search will be easier and hassle free.

WillSub is one of many job search websites that is available to you but if you are interested in finding out more information, contact us today!

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