© by victor1558

Substitute Teacher Tips On Technology

The use of certain classroom technology requires training. This training is usually not offered to substitute teachers.  Working in a classroom with unfamiliar technology puts substitute teachers at a disadvantage.

In an article for US News and World Report author Kelsey Sheehy explains the technological dilemma of substitute teachers.

“For substitutes teaching at multiple schools, there is the added challenge of knowing the schools’ policies on everything from dress codes to hall passes and, increasingly, technology ranging from personal devices such as cell phones to school-provided technology like laptops and iPads.”

One of the most effective teaching tools used today is the interactive whiteboard.  They are wonderful technological teaching tools.  Interactive whiteboards enable a teacher to have a whiteboard they can write on and erase, then use the same whiteboard as a projector.  Computer contents can be projected onto the interactive whiteboard surface and students can treat it as a huge computer screen.  They’ve been around since the early 1990s but have recently become very popular.

There are many substitute teachers who have never had a chance to learn the proper operation of an interactive whiteboard.  If asked to use it the substitute teacher could feel overwhelmed.  Many will move from a lesson utilizing technology to one without it.  This can result in an uncomfortable situation for both the substitute teacher and the students.

In order to avoid this awkward situation many substitute teachers invest in their teaching careers and get independent training.  This is a benefit because there will no longer be a need to wait until a school district finds the funds for such training in their budget.  The substitute teacher will also be able to control what type of training they receive and what they learn.

Knowing how to operate all the latest technological advancements used in the classroom can make things easier for a substitute teacher.  It can also increase their value to school districts. If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to hear from you!

Photo ©  by victor1558

Photo © mikekincaid

SubFinder and Sub Sidekick for School System Success

Internet technology has made the world of so many things so much easier. Internet banking, prescription drug ordering, movie rentals, and so much more have all become easier than ever before with the ability to walk over to our computer, log on, and perform all of those functions within a five to ten minute time frame. Now, even the task of finding a qualified, distinguished, and properly skilled substitute teacher has been made easier by the evolution of Internet technology.

SubFinder is a fully automated system for educational professionals to find substitue teachers on an “as needed” basis. The system will sufficiently manage teacher absences and allow the user to find a suitable substitute teacher, both through the Internet and over the telephone.

Return on Investment (ROI) and peace of mind are two of the biggest rewards to be reaped from utilizing SubFinder in your school system. These two benefits are successfully achieved by ensuring that you are hiring the most qualified individual for each teaching position based on the particular skills of that individual. No more time or money wasted. Only qualified teaching professionals for your students all the time.

SubFinder can work in conjunction with another wonderful application called Sub Sidekick to alert substitute teaching candidates of potential job openings via text, email, or audio alerts. SubFinder and Sub Sidekick form a wonderful combination for a caring school district and qualified substitutes seeking work, to keep our education system clicking on all cylinders, even when our teachers need to call in sick or have a well deserved vacation.

“Sub Sidekick” also works with AesopOnline, SmartFindExpress, and WillSub. If your school district uses any of these systems, contact us today for more information on our services. 

Photo © mikekincaid

Photo © CubaGallery

Ways to Truly Relax This Summer

There can be a lot of stress working as a teacher, and a substitute teacher often experiences added pressures. One advantage to the job is having some time off in the summer. Use that time to really relax and de-stress.

1. Take some time to spend outdoors ‑ when we spend our time in nature, it naturally calms us and gives us a feeling of inner peace. The bonus is natural sunlight which gives us our vitamin D ‑ great for the bones and a mood booster.

2. Unplug from technology ‑ use the summer as an excuse to be in vacation mode. Even if you can only do this once a week, take that time to connect to nature by unplugging from technology.

3. Start a fitness program that is fun and adventurous ‑ go hiking, bike riding, etc. Do something new and fun! Make it better by bringing a friend.

4. Slow down ‑ it’s summer; start living mindfully by doing one task at a time, enjoying the beauty around you and living in the moment.

5. Spend time with friends and family ‑ set up date nights and fun nights. The days are longer so it’s a great time to go out and have fun!

If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to hear from you!

Photo © CubaGallery

Photo © SpencerBodian

U.S. Students Rank Worst in New Study

The job of a substitute teacher is tough enough, especially when dealing with sleep-deprived students. Sleep is a fundamental need for all children. Not only do children get cranky and unruly when they lack sleep, but according to a new study, it affects their ability to learn.

While nutrition and family income have previously been associated with academic performance, now quantity of sleep has also been shown to play a role, according to a Boston College analysis.

The study, which draws on data culled from tests taken by more than 900,000 students in 50 countries, found that the U.S. has the greatest proportion of students whose academic performance, particularly in math and science, suffers due to poor sleep, with 73 percent of 9and 10-year-olds and 80 percent of 13 and 14-year-olds affected.

Those rates are significantly higher than the international average of 47 percent and 57 percent, respectively.

The top five countries where poor sleep hampers learning are:

1. United States

2. New Zealand

3. Saudi Arabia

4. Kuwait

5. Australia

The study found variations within countriestoo. For example, middle school students in Colorado are more sleep deprived than their counter parts in Massachusetts.

The low level of sleep in affluent countries like the United States and Saudi Arabia is attributed to students having cell phones and tablets at their fingertips literally. The light from the screen, held close to the face, makes it harder to fall asleep.

If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to hear from you!

Photo © SpencerBodian

Photo © NotDressedasLamb

Summarizing the Many Benefits of Substitute Teaching

With the US economic recovery moving along slowly, Americans of all ages and demographics are discovering the benefits of substitute teaching.

While these benefits are pretty obvious, it is nonetheless important to take a closer look at them. First and foremost, of course, is the flexibility that substitute teaching providers.

During busy school years, your typical substitute teacher can essentially work as much or as little as they want to. Substitute teachers can also plan ahead. For example, they can work a lot during the school year and save money knowing they’ll be in good shape when the summer comes.

Substitute teaching also bolsters your resume and in most cases, the pay is quite good. The typical daily rate for a teacher can range from $60-80, depending on the location. Last but not least, substitute teachers get to, well, teach children. And could be more important than that?

Remember that SubSidekick is here for any other your substitute teaching management needs and please contact us should you have any questions about our services. We look forward to hearing from you!

Photo © kmsmith545

Do You Have What It Takes to be a Substitute Teacher?

If you’re in-between jobs and have a background in a particular subject – such as English, history or a foreign language – becoming a substitute teacher can keep your head above water. But just because substitute teacher jobs are in demand in some school districts doesn’t mean you should apply for work.

Sure, being a sub can put cash in your pocket and fill your days as you search for permanent employment. This work, however, is not for everyone.

Before submitting your application, consider whether you have what it takes to be a substitute teacher.

  • How do you deal with last-minute notifications? In a perfect world, substitute teachers would always receive a 12-hour notice of work. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, with many substitute teachers receiving work calls as early as 5:30 a.m. There is no consistency and being a sub means always being ready to work.
  • How well do you handle change? What’s more, how do you deal with different challenges? You don’t know what you’ll face in each classroom. Some kids will be polite and happy, whereas others will test your patience.
  • Can you improvise? The teacher may not leave work for the day. This can happen when the teacher is away longer than anticipated. Do you have what it takes to keep the class under control and busy, despite limited direction.
  • Do you like children? Children can be impetuous and chatty, and if you don’t like being around kids, this makes for a very long day and you’re likely to lose your patience quicker.

Remember that SubSidekick is here for any other your substitute teaching management needs and please contact us should you have any questions about our services. We look forward to hearing from you!

Photo © kmsmith545

Photo © ReneeBertrand

The Best Substitute Teacher Treats Each Day Like An Interview

What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes: Write a Winning Resume and Cover Letter and Land Your Dream Interview, by Richard N. Bolles is a recent book that illustrates some of the changes in hiring that have taken place in the past decade. Although it doesn’t focus specifically on education, it supports why it is so important for a substitute teacher to always be striving for success. Bolles explains that candidates are more likely to find success in the job market, not by compiling a strong resume, but by finding opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities. Substitute teachers have this opportunity every time they are assigned a job.

There is a misconception that substitute teachers are glorified babysitters, incapable of carrying out proper lessons plans in the absence of the regular classroom teacher. To be an excellent substitute teacher, you cannot let this become a self-fulfilling accusation. It’s easy to coast through a substitute assignment if you view it as nothing more than quick supplemental income. If you are an educator who aspires to transition into a fulltime teaching position, substitute teaching may be the gateway into the profession.

Here are some general tips that will help you treat each day like an interview:

On time means five minutes early

Arrive at your building a few minutes early. This will not only give you time to better prepare for the day’s tasks, but it will also demonstrate that you are professional and dependable. Also, don’t race out of the building at the end of the day. A substitute teacher who volunteers to stay at dismissal and assist with bus duty speaks volumes to administrators.

Dress the part

Some schools have a lax dresscode for teachers, but you should always dress as a professional. Arriving at a job in professional attire shows that you are committed to your assignment and you are taking it seriously.

Be assertive

Many subsitute teachers bring a book, newspaper, or computer tablet to help pass the time. If you are hired as a substitute, you are in the school to work. Don’t spend downtime sitting idle at the teacher’s desk. If another employee at the school witnesses this, it immediately sends the wrong impression about your work ethic. Instead, stop down to where you first reported for the job and ask if you can assist with anything. Even if all rooms are fully staffed, schools can always use an extra set of eyes in the hallways or cafeteria.

Bolles explains in his book that a job candidate should find ways to demonstrate positive characteristics because “doing is more important than telling.” Your unfaltering work as a substitute teacher will help employees see your potential firsthand. Contact us for more ways to maximize substitute teaching as a way to transition into an opportunity for long term employment.

Photo © CubaGallery

A Summer Guide for the Substitute Teacher

As summer comes crashing toward your doorstep, it is once again time for substitute teachers to devise a plan to get through the coming months. For all, it should be a time for some relaxation and reflection. For others, it is time to boldly go where a school year cannot take you.

For some folks, this means keeping up financially. Since substitute teaching is at a premium during the summer, some may want to look into teaching for a summer school or summer camp. Begin looking early in the spring for the best chances at obtaining a paying job. Other professional endeavors may include summer nannying, sitting, or tutoring. This will keep you current working with the population that you most want to deal with, whether the environment be leisurely or paced to progress in an area of study. Scoring standardized testing might be an option depending on where you live.

Besides employment in areas dealing with children, other types of seasonal or part time jobs can be found. Some areas near big cities or tourist attractions will need people to fill all sorts of roles, from bicycle tours to selling burgers at a local ball game, cleaning hotel rooms to fishing. Find your fun spot and follow that to a job that’s right for you during the hot summer months. Other possible options include temp agencies and house painting to round options out.

For substitute teachers who wish to extend their professional side, summer is a time to improve your credentials. You could take a course online or from a local college. This is one way to update your certifications or increase the CEUs going toward that status. Some workshops travel throughout the summer and set up shop in hotels, where they rent a hall to teach the masses when teachers can get refreshed on the latest in skills and techniques. It’s a great opportunity to keep up with the local curriculum. Networking is a sidebar to these gatherings to know where the best places to sub are located. Another is to be ahead of the game by seeing if your district uses the latest technology, Sub Sidekick, to get substitute teachers in place quickly. Contact us to see if you are ready for the upcoming school year.

No matter how a substitute teacher decides to spend their summer months, it is always a goal to have a plan that will help you maintain or gain your strengths into facing a new school year fully refreshed both personally and professionally.

Photo © CubaGallery

Photo © GreenlightForGirls

5 Easy Substitute Teacher Tricks: One For Every Age

The first impression you make as a new substitute is supremely important. Whether your assignment is for one day or one month, the impression you make on those kids will mean the difference between respectfully engaged children, and total chaos. The students will test you. They’ll want to know if you’re a fun substitute, or an army sergeant substitute. In reality, you’ll have to be a bit of both.

Worry not, my fellow sub. There are ways to get your student’s attention, and still foster a fun learning environment. It all depends on their age. Here are 5 Substitute Teacher Tricks, each for a different age group.

1. Kindergarten

These kids are generally fun-loving and rowdy. They will listen to you because you’re an adult. A common challenge is that they’re usually not accustomed to student life yet. Don’t expect them to sit still for more than 10 minutes at a time. A great trick is to have a sing-along. Nothing keeps a young child’s attention more than learning a new tune. Get them singing and dancing along to your movements as soon as you can to help them get all that energy out!

2. 1st-2nd Grade

Kids in this age range are just starting to develop individual personalities. They’re still up for anything, but are likely to question something they don’t understand. Get their brains going with some fun word games and riddles. They will get engaged, and they’ll be yours the rest of the day.

3. 3rd-5th Grade

You’ll have to be firm with these kids. Enter with a decisive walk and write your name on the board. This will immediately assert your authority. Speak clearly and let them know what you expect of them. A reward system is a good way to achieve positive results. They’re still at an age where small things entice them. Let them know if they behave well, they’ll get to pick from the “reward bucket”. You can have small candies, little toys, plastic bracelets, and other fun little things!

4. 6th-8th Grade

You’re now dealing with adolescents. They will likely be more interested in socializing when their regular teacher is absent. Be firm and clear about what you expect from them. If they finish their assignment early, review it again. Have a fun game in your back pocket, just in case. Twenty questions is good for kids in this age range.

5. High School

Don’t be scared, most kids ages 14-18 are relatively self-contained. Kids this age love independent study. Let them know that if they’re quiet, and finish their work satisfactorily, you’ll give them 15 minutes of “study hall” at the end of the period. Let them start their homework, or do work from a different subject. They’ll love you for it!

The idea of walking into someone else’s classroom can be daunting. You must remember not to be too hard on yourself. Let the kids know you’re the boss, and that respect is a two-way street. If they’re respectful to you, you’ll be respectful to them. It’s a good lesson in life, too. For more information, and other substitute teacher topics contact us.

Photo © GreenlightForGirls

Photo © ToniVC

Substitute Teacher Tricks – Time Management Game

Experienced teachers will attest to good planning as the reason why they have so few discipline problems in their classrooms. When students are bored, confused, or sitting idle, they are certain to find trouble. Sometimes this happens despite the best planning; students may finish an activity quicker than expected or the pacing of the lesson was underestimated. Regardless, every substitute teachers knows that the final 10 minutes of a class period can be the most dangerous when students have completed all work and have nothing to do. Here is a simple teacher trick that students love – it will keep them out of trouble and make it easy for you to manage the class.

Game: Motion Detector

Target Audience: Students in grades K – 8

Materials needed: None

Overview: One student is chosen to be the leader and another is chosen to be the detective. The leader leads the group in a series of hand gestures, claps, and movements as the detective attempts to guess who is leading.


  • Have students sit in a circle, either on their desks or on the floor. They need to able to see each other reasonably well.
  • Begin by choosing a detective. Ask this student to move away and face with his back to the group.
  • With the detective unable to see, silently choose a leader by pointing to a student. Ask the rest of the group to nod their heads in confirmation if they see who is the leader.
  • The leader will now begin to do some kind of hand movement such as snapping fingers, clapping hands, etc. and the rest of the group will do the same. Whenever the leader changes to something new, the group will follow the pattern.
  • Ask the detective to rejoin the group and stand in the center of the circle. The detective gets three guesses to identify the leader.
  • If necessary, impose a 30 second time limit for each guess to keep the game moving smoothly. Also, encourage the leader to change the hand movement frequently to keep the game interesting.
  • After three guesses or when the leader has been identified, the round is over. The detective can rejoin the group and new students can be chosen for each role.

Rounds of Motion Detector can continue indefinitely until the class period is over. Students enjoy the competitive nature of the game and find delight in coming up with creative things for the leader to do. Motion Detector works as a great time management technique. The next time you find yourself in a classroom with time to spare, remember that the sound of students clapping in unison is far better than the alternative!

Contact us for more tricks and tips for better substitute teaching.

Photo © ToniVC