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.

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2 Comments

  1. Ed

    Good article, but should be edited as Sub Sidekick is not free.

    • Ed, thank you for the suggestion. You are correct. Sub Sidekick has a 14-day free trial, but after that you must pay to continue service.

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