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Emergency Substitute Teacher Lesson Plan Ideas

Normally, the teacher leaves the substitute a lesson plan. What happens if the teacher forgets? What if you are sitting in for a Spanish teacher and you majored in French? It can be hard creating a substitute teacher lesson plan if you are teaching an unfamiliar subject. There are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve to insure you are never left unprepared.

Look at the teacher’s schedule. Are you teaching a history class, foreign language, math, science, etc.? Does the teacher teach one subject or multiple classes? You can find where the students are in their course once you familiarize yourself with what is going on. Have the students read the next chapter, or have them answer review questions.

If you cannot find the teacher’s schedule, look on the school’s website. Usually, materials are arranged by course. Find a handout kids can complete and turn in by the end of class.

Carry printouts of puzzles. Word searches, crosswords, and other games are great ways to keep students busy. Common games are entertaining too. Play a game of Pictionary by placing slips of paper with popular movies, songs and such into a bag. Have the class split up into two teams. Each team takes a turn at drawing the item on the slip of paper.

Writing assignments are a sure way to get the students thinking. Have them write stories about themselves. Ask the class, “what if…” questions. Another option is to start a sentence on the board like, “It was a dark and stormy night…” Have each student contribute the next sentence in the story.

If you have a talkative bunch, ask them questions. Get to know the students. Ask them, “Who is your hero?” A group discussion is a great way to keep control.

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

Photo © COEComm

Photo © COEComm

Tutorial: How to Accept a Job Using SubFinder

You’ll find that using SubFinder is incredibly user-friendly.  One of the most important things you’ll need to know how to navigate is the Available Jobs screen.  Let’s review how to accept a job using SubFinder, so you’ll be prepared to start accepting jobs as soon as you finish reading this article!

Log In

  • The Welcome screen:  On the left side of your screen there will be a list of menu items.  Click on Available Jobs.

Available Jobs

  • View the jobs you are qualified for.
  • If you have been requested by a teacher, you’ll see those jobs listed first.
  • Look through the list to find jobs of interest.
  • To look at a job more closely, click on Select in the Job ID column.
  • View lesson plans for the day and any notes the teacher has left for the substitute.
  • Make your selection before the time has expired.

Accepting A Job

  • To accept a job, simply click Yes at the bottom of the screen.
  • Read additional instructions from the teacher.
  • Record the job number for future reference.

Look At Other Jobs

  • To go back and continue searching, click No or Return To Available Jobs.

It’s as simple as that!

SubFinder is a great system for substitute teachers because it gives you a full overview of the types of jobs you can choose from.  It also gives teachers the option of choosing a substitute they’ve worked well with in the past.  Why not log in right now and try it out?

For more information on SubFinder, contact us today!

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Substitute Teacher Tricks to Keep Students on Their Toes

The average teacher misses 6-13 days of school per year. This means that students are spending a good portion of their days with substitute teachers. You might remember when you were school-aged and much of your time was spent guiding subs down the wrong path.

Substitutes get to choose the age group for which they will fill in. They also get to turn in their key to the school at the end of the day. This means they don’t have to take papers home for grading. Subs truly have the upper hand here.

Imagine walking into a classroom full of kids you don’t know and stimulating them with creative and fun assignments. The right sub will be able to keep control of a classroom. This is a hard feat in itself. Subs stand out to the students who appreciate the effort. When a student is prodded with knowledge in a unique way, it keeps them engaged. Of course full-time teachers do this as well but it’s the subs that are remembered because they don’t stick around for long.

There are outstanding substitutes as well as mediocre and bad ones. The subs that do their jobs flawlessly have tricks hiding up their sleeves.

Walking into a rowdy classroom is anxiety provoking. When the class won’t settle down the old fashion way, it may be time to pick a name out of a hat. The chosen student will have to take over the sub’s duties and teach the class himself. Perhaps this student will guide the class through the previous night’s homework assignment, do some creative writing, or read a story aloud and discuss it afterward. The student will have a newfound respect for the substitute teaching job and will hopefully pass the word along to fellow students.

When in doubt, the substitute can load up on educational crossword puzzles and word searches. Break the classroom into teams and make it a challenge.

The sub can hold a debate depending on the subject he is subbing for. Students rarely resist the opportunity to stand up in front of the classroom to speak their mind. This may also get some of the shy folks the time they need to speak up for all the things they remained hushed on in the past.

Games can also be fun. Charades never gets old. The sub can come up with a bunch of subject matter depending on the class so the kids can be silly and learn at the same time. Chances are, come test time, the students minds may be triggered by something that was acted out during the game.

These are just a handful of tips substitutes can utilize when facing the battleground that is the job ahead.

If you’re a substitute teacher in search of a new way to obtain jobs, check out SubSidekick.  This is a free service provided to substitute teachers that will continuously search for jobs based on your criteria (title, school, assignment plan) and alert you by email or text when a job becomes available. The job can be instantly accepted using either method. Contact us today to get started.

Want To Be A Great Substitute Teacher? Read On!

It’s five o’clock in the morning and you just accepted a job as a substitute teacher for the day.  While you’re excited about the job, there’s always a bit of uncertainty that comes along with heading into a new classroom for the first time, with students you don’t know.  You want to have the best day possible, and you want to become a great substitute teacher.  Here are a few things you can do to revitalize the way you approach your day and that new class.

Be Happy

It might sound a little too easy, but sometimes you have to make up your mind that you’re just going to have a great day.  You know the saying, “Fake it ’til you make it”?  Do that!  Don’t concentrate on the nervous feelings you get when you stand before a class for the first time.  And don’t think about how frustrating it gets when the boys in the back of the room start talking to each other during the lesson.  Instead, think about the perks of your job.  You didn’t have to plan a lesson, and you don’t have to meet with parents every day after school.  You get to walk into a room and be a teacher that encourages young minds to learn.  Your job is important, and you’re going to be great at it.  The more you can tell yourself these positive things, the better you’ll be at teaching.

Be Prepared

You don’t know what the day has in store for you.  Quite often, substitutes get to school and find that the lesson that was left for them is really too short, or it’s only a review of things the kids have already been learning.  Be prepared to fill in the extra time in case you have some.  If you play the guitar, maybe you could bring it with you.  With the kids’ help you might put together some short songs to help them memorize facts for an upcoming test.  Or perhaps you can think of some games that will help you reinforce their lessons.  As long as you’re prepared with a few different activities, you’ll quickly become a favorite among substitute teachers.

Be Interested

The kids you’re teaching will respond favorably to you if you show genuine interest in them.  When you can, single them out and respond to them individually.  This can work wonders with students who are prone to misbehaving when their regular teacher is away.  Quite often, those students only want attention, so when you give them positive attention, the result is students who are eager to learn from a teacher who really seems to care.

Remember, your job as a substitute teacher is an important one! You provide an invaluable service to your fellow teachers, and you have the chance to influence the lives of countless numbers of children.

How to Cancel a Job Using SubFinder

SubFinder is an innovative platform that provides one place for organizations throughout North America to post substitute positions. Persons interested in being a substitute teacher can easily log-in, review available positions, apply and be accepted. You can efficiently search for positions based on your qualifications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Everyone recognizes that circumstances may arise that prevent you from fulfilling a job you were accepted for. How do you cancel a job? Perform this function by reviewing your assignments. Below is a guide to the review section of SubFinder.

  • Click “Current Jobs.” Once you have logged-in, the “Current Jobs” button will list all your current assignments in start date order. This table will give you complete details, including who you are substituting for, the position, the site location and the dates and times applicable to the job. There are also hyperlink columns entitled “Special Instructions” (SI), “Itinerant Schedule” (IS) and “Substitute Notes” (SN). The hyperlinks are active when information in those categories is available.
  • Select the “Job ID.” The “Job ID” is located to the far left of the review table. Click the job you need to cancel to reveal a new window with detailed information, including a “cancel” option.
  • Click “Cancel.” SubFinder will want to verify you want to cancel. To confirm, simply click “Cancel Job.” If you change your mind, choose “Don’t Cancel.” In some cases you may be prompted to add a reason for the cancellation.
Photo © COEComm

Classroom Management Made Easy For Substitute Teachers

As difficult as being a teacher can be, if you’re a substitute teacher, you definitely feel the stress in your job.  When students are introduced to a substitute teacher, their first response is often to think, “Today’s a day to goof off!”  Here are a few classroom management tips that will help you to wrangle even the toughest group of students into submission.

Establish Your Authority

One of the problems many substitutes have when they’re looking at a new sea of faces in a classroom is lacking authority.  You’re in charge.  The authority has been given to you by the school district to take charge of that classroom.  While you want the kids to like you, they need to know you’re just as authoritative as their regular teacher.  The kids will respect you if you demonstrate that authority right from the beginning.  Speak loudly and use body language that reinforces your level of confidence.

Don’t Yell

Yes, you’ll probably lose your temper.  But if you can maintain your composure, you’ll maintain control of your classroom.  Kids are used to their teachers yelling at them, and it doesn’t really do any good.  Yelling at kids shows them that they’re gaining the upper hand, which is the last thing you want them to think.  Speak in a firm voice that’s low enough that the kids will have to stop talking to hear you.  You’ll get their attention.

Use Rewards

Kids love rewards.  Even older kids will rise to the occasion to earn a free hall pass or a homework pass.  If you can find out from their regular teacher a few types of rewards that will be okay to hand out, you’ll quickly gain the confidence of the classroom. Kids generally expect punishment from substitute teachers, so by using rewards, you’ll give them (and you) a positive classroom experience.

Your job is important.  Even though you don’t have the opportunity to get to know a group of students really well, you provide their teachers with a valuable resource.  Learning how to effectively manage your classroom will help you enjoy your job even more than you already do.

Photo © COEComm

Photo © COEComm

Why You Should Consider Using Substitute Teaching to Obtain a Full Time Position

Getting into the education field has become much more competitive. Years ago, it was relatively easy to gain entry into the field, but now even substitute teachers have to obtain a license to work in most districts. However, sometimes you may want to consider using Substitute Teaching to Obtain a Full Time Position. This is especially a good option for people that want to get into the teaching profession, but they may need some time to transition from another career.

In most school districts, anyone can become a substitute teacher if they have a bachelor’s degree and they complete an application and a background check. Once you have become a substitute teacher, you can work on gaining experience as a teacher. Many schools will give substitute teachers perference when it comes to hiring decisions because it shows your commitment to teaching.

As a substitute, you can use your time working at the schools as part of your practical experience and begin taking classes toward your teaching certification. It is also very common that school districts offer alternative certification programs. These are programs that are designed for people from other fields to become teachers. Alternative certification programs are typically offered in conjunction with local institutions where students can take classes on the weekends or evenings and gain experience teaching in schools while staying in their current positions.

Given that there are more people interested in getting into the teaching profession, some of these programs are more competitive now. They look carefully at your grades, Praxis scores, and background before allowing you admission to the program. Also, some districts only hire a certain amount of substitute teachers every year as well.

In order to figure out what is the best path, you should research the programs offered by the district that you would like to work with first. Look at their options and then make a decision that will fit into your current role in the district.

Photo © COEComm

Photo © COEComm

How to Use Long-Term Substitute Teaching to Obtain a Full Time Position

Using long-term substitute teaching to obtain a full time position is an excellent way to get to know the school district, its practices, and its teachers and staff.  It’s also the best way for the district and everyone from the food and maintenance personnel to the office and administrative staff to get to know you.

Moreover, this is where the right kind of first impression can make or break your chances for future full-time, permanent employment.

So, to make that first impression a good one, here a few tips to follow:

  • Pour over the school procedures well in advance of the start of your contract, and create a checklist of pertinent tasks.
  • Introduce yourself to colleagues so that they know who you are, and make it clear that you will appreciate any guidance that colleagues offer.
  • Keep lesson plans simple, readily available, and submit them in a timely fashion.  If you are unsure of the district policy, ask.
  • Listen to goings on to learn the dynamic of the school because it has its own personality, and you want to be a good fit.
  • Always be on time – if not early.  If you have bus duty, be there before the students arrive on the bus.  If you have cafeteria duty, be in the cafeteria before anyone might look for you, prepared to lend a hand – and jump right in and help, especially if no clear guidelines are set and you see where help is needed, but always with the idea that you are open to direction.
  • Use email to correspond and to follow-up on all school related matters, and be sure to carbon copy everyone who might be connected to your discussion. In this way, you ensure a response to questions and have a readily accessible record of goings-on that might be important in the future.

To learn about long-term substitute positions, check with your school districts sub-finder such as AesopOnline, SubFinder, SmartFindExpress, and WillSub.  They’ll let you know what positions are available, including the school and grade of the students.

Photo © COEComm

Photo © COEComm

Substitute Teacher Communication Shows Preparedness and Professionalism

Most school districts require every teacher to have backup lesson plans available  in the event that something unexpected comes up.

However, just as the lesson plans are often disconnected from the regular classroom routine – and, even worse, the topic being discussed by the class, details of the schedule and pertinent procedures are often lacking.

To ensure that the day runs smoothly and to leave a good and professional impression, create a Substitute Teacher Communication document that features a checklist with check in points, an area for notes, and a place for feedback for the teacher for whom you are substituting.

Your checklist should detail the following information in order to ensure that the basics are covered and to ensure that you are where you need to be, doing what you need to do:

  • Room number, location, and map
  • Office contact information
  • Class roster
  • Lesson Plans folder
  • Teacher schedule
  • Extra duties, times, and locations
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Medical information of students, if necessary

The notes area pertains to the lessons and classes, and it will fluctuate depending on the grade of the students.

For example, if you are substituting for a classroom elementary teacher, you might have the same students for the full day, but if you are substituting for a specialist, middle school or high school teacher, you’ll probably encounter several different class groups.

The notes are ultimately for your benefit, and can be used for reflection or to help you recall information that you want to relay to the teacher.

Finally, add a feedback form to record the highlights of the day for the absent teacher and to thank him or her for the opportunity to sub.

In this way, you’re more apt to have a positive experience and likely to be asked to sub again.

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How To Become A Substitute Teacher – Follow This Process

How to become a substitute teacher may vary depending on the state protocols; however, the following are general guidelines for becoming a substitute teacher in a public school setting.

First, contact the desired school district to speak with personnel director in charge of substitute teachers or research the qualifications and procedures on the district websites.

Generally, substitute teacher candidates are required to have earned 60 credits from an accredited college before being eligible for substitute certification.

Once a candidate can produce an official transcript, he or she should make an appointment to visit with the personnel officer to complete necessary forms and to provide any other required documentation.

The next part of the process is fingerprinting. All persons dealing with students are generally required to undergo a background check and fingerprinting to ensure the safety of any children.

Reimbursement for this process is at the discretion of the district and will be disclosed at the time of the initial visit.

Moreover, the results of this process vary and notification will be typically be sent to the candidate and to the district office for verification.

Following the application and completion of the background check, the substitute teacher candidate will receive a certification or notice to teach in that district, and finally the procedures for securing substitute teaching jobs will be outlined.

There are several ways to find out when sub positions are opened in a school district. In addition to contacting the school directly, many schools provide services like AesopOnline, SubFinder, SmartFindExpress, and WillSub that list available jobs on a website or alert substitute teachers of job openings by telephone.

Once the substitute is in the system, it’s a simple matter of accepting the jobs that are right for them – and usually that’s on a first come, first served basis.