Classroom management ideas for substitute teachers

For the most part, the beginning of a class is no different for a substitute than it is for the regular classroom teacher.  When the bell rings and the students flow into the room, if you’re not prepared and on your toes, a potentially great school day could soon turn into a stressful one. Being prepared for those first five minutes makes all the difference in the world.  Have a simple plan to get everyone in their seats and occupied so you can attempt to identify who’s who, call roll, and get their assignment going.

Good classroom management begins in those first few minutes of class.

Some teachers call them bell-ringers, others call them morning handouts, and I’m certain that there’s all sorts of other catchy names that individual teachers refer to them as.  But basically, these are usually single sheet items, ranging from puzzles, current event topics, an interesting story that’s been copied from a magazine and things of the like.  Make sure these items are age and grade appropriate, by the way.  When the students enter the room, hand a bell-ringer to each one so they’ll have something to work on while you’re getting the day’s assignment ready.  You’ll have less trouble if the kids are busy and have something interesting to work on or read.  So if you’re going to be substitute teaching on a regular and permanent basis, start gathering your very own personal collection of bell-ringers to help you get your day off on the right foot.

Try letting them work in small groups.

If you have a good feel for the overall tone of the room, and you don’t see that you’ll have any problems, try letting the students work in small groups.  This technique can often come in handy if you’re substitute teaching subject matter that is not your best field, for example, Chemistry II or Advanced Trig.  Allow the students to work in groups of three and four so that they can help each other.  Basically, classroom management is all about what calls you make as the substitute teacher, in order to get the most out of the class period.

Be creative!

Every class is different and every student is different.  If you’re substituting for a class and you’re having discipline problems, take a deep breath, stay calm, and find the ringleader troublemaker of the room. If you can turn that “ringleader” into your “helper,” then you’ve just cut out much of your problems.  Sometimes the discipline problem students are not accustomed to being called on to help pass out papers or do an odd job for the teacher, so if you take the time to give them a chance, that once “trouble making” kid could help you keep the entire class in check.

If you have more questions or concerns about substitute teaching then feel free to contact us for more helpful information!

Substitute Teacher Lesson Plan – Don’t be a Miss Viola Swamp

Once again, you have arrived in the classroom and discover that you have no lesson plans for the day; students are already flowing into the classroom, bombarding you with questions about why their teacher is not here today. Have no fear! You can still warmly greet your students and get them settled because you know that you have a copy of Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard, Jr. in your bag.

In this book, the students in room 207 have been misbehaving and their teacher disappears, only to be replaced by the witchy substitute teacher, Miss Viola Swamp. This book is an excellent choice for read aloud and discussion with students in first grade through sixth grade. Simply read the book aloud and then select an activity to follow up on the reading.

Possibilities for follow up activities:

Discussion – Ask students the question “Who is Miss Viola Swamp?” Ask them to offer three pieces of evidence to support their response and let the conversation flow.

Writing – Give the students a writing prompt. For example, “How do you feel when your teacher is absent and you have a substitute?” or “What do you think are the best qualities in a fabulous substitute teacher?” Allow students to share their writing if they are comfortable doing so. Do not make sharing mandatory, as there may be personal issues of which you may be unaware.

Creating in a group – Place students in small groups and ask them to design a lesson they would like to teach if they had to be substitute for a day. Allow them to pick a topic (you may want to limit them on the board) and be prepared to teach it to another group. Students typically have fun when they are able to be the “teacher” and tend to be more focused if they know they will be able to share their creations.

Using this book and follow up activities will allow students to engage in meaningful learning while still having fun. Equally important, it allows the substitute teacher to connect with students and minimize behavior issues with the warning “Don’t make me be a Miss Viola Swamp!”

For more great ideas and information on substitute teaching, check out Sub Sidekick.

5 Ways to Become a Preferred Sub This Year

Substitutes can be heroes to students and teachers. A teacher’s absence can disrupt the learning environment, but a substitute can make sure the transition is calm and pleasant. Substitutes who follow the following guidelines will often times become preferred substitutes in school buildings.

Show up early

As a substitute, you will be coming into a situation that is unfamiliar in most cases. By showing up even five minutes earlier than expected, you can read the sub plans, find the restrooms, and set up the classroom before students arrive. By arriving early, you’ll be more comfortable with the plan of the day, and you will be able to welcome students into the room when the bell rings.

Enjoy the children

An absent teacher can provide some anxiety to students. If you show up ready to enjoy the children, you will more than likely calm their nerves and set them up for a great day. They will realize you are there to help them through, and they can more easily get to work. Kids can tell whether or not a substitute wants to be in the room. This is your opportunity to save the day by smiling, welcoming them into the room, and answering their questions as best you can.

Work through the plans

The events of the classroom will provide challenges throughout the day. Try your best to work through the teacher’s plans. If you aren’t able to complete some of the tasks, leave notes as to why. Teachers don’t expect things to go perfectly, but if they are aware of what setbacks occurred in the plans, they are better able to picture what went on during the day they were gone, and then they can adjust accordingly.

Meet the other teachers

Before the school day begins, seek out another teacher who is in close proximity to your assignment. This person can help you find the schedule, the restrooms, the lunch room, and any supplies you might need. Throughout the day, socialize with the other teachers. Not only will this make your day more pleasant, but other teachers will see that you enjoy substituting. You will be on their sub-radar the next time they are absent.

Report consistently

At the end of the day, have a consistent reporting style that is your own. If you hand write notes, make sure they are legible.  For the majority of the day’s summary, focus on the positive. Teachers do need to know about severe problems, but small issues that will not affect anyone at the end of the day can be omitted. If your sub notes are done by way of email, having a template that you consistently use with your name and contact information on it can be a nice way to leave your mark. Write the successes of the day, any plans that were brought to completion, any tasks that didn’t get completed, and any issues you may have had. End with a positive note about being in their classroom. Your signature is where you can remind them that they can call you when they need a substitute again.

For more information on how to become a preferred sub, contact us today. Substitutes are so important to our children and our teachers. By following the tips above, teachers will know you are a person they want to have in their classrooms.

Benefits of Becoming a Substitute Teacher

For those that are in the education industry, there are many different careers and job options to choose from. One unique job option to consider would be to become a substitute teacher. There are many benefits of becoming a substitute teacher that are unmatched by other jobs in the field.


One of the benefits of becoming a substitute teacher is that it is a flexible job. When you work as a substitute teacher you will have more flexibility with your schedule. Since subs are often brought in for days or weeks at a time, you will be able to find jobs that fit into your schedule.


Another benefit of becoming a substitute teacher is that it can be a great way to network. If you are interested in becoming a full-time teacher, starting as a substitute is often a great option. This is because you will have the opportunity to meet teachers and administrators at many different schools in your area. This will help you to build relationships with others in the field and develop a good professional reputation.

Varying Subject Matter

Another advantage of being a substitute teacher is that you will get to teach a wide range of different students and in different subject matters. As opposed to being stuck with the same class or year, or only focusing on one subject, a substitute will get to teach in many different subjects. This can help to reduce monotony and make every day you have unique and interesting.

If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher, contact us to learn more about the job and field.

Substitute Teacher: Side Hustles and Your Life

As a substitute teacher, you might be thinking of picking up a side hustle. For those not in the know, that’s a side job. The phrase is beloved by the younger generation. It differs from a part-time job in that side hustles have more flexibility. You might just do some jobs when your schedule allows, in a side hustle. That’s what makes side hustles ideal for sub teachers.

Or you may choose to work on particular projects or with specific projects. You usually don’t commit to a specific set of hours.

Side hustles might be in a field related to your teaching. If you are great at web-based design or writing, for example, you might move more into it through picking up a side hustle in design or writing projects. Sometimes people start their own businesses through a side hustle.

How Do You Know When You’re Ready?

People don’t always know when they’re ready to start their side hustle. Maybe the idea has been in the back of your head for several years, but you keep putting it off. You’re rather hang out with friends and family in your hours away from your main job rather than doing a side hustle.

You’re ready to start a side hustle if:

1. The idea excites and energizes you. Successful side hustles are something you want to do. You feel engaged and you want to hit your computer, phones, and contacts. You can’t wait to get into it.

2. More income is optimal. Being a substitute teacher is great, but you may need to optimize your income. The more you optimize it, the more flexible you can be as a sub. Side hustles are a great way of increasing your income.

3. Related elements have fallen into place. Sometimes people want to start a side hustle, but life gets in the way. If you were raising a family or working a great deal as a teacher, you might not have been able to. Then, your kids are more grown up or your job demands abate. You’re ready.

Contact us for further information.

Ed2Go Can Change Your Life!

One of the more popular Online Professional Development Websites is ed2go. There are more than 2,100 top colleges, universities, and other organizations that network with ed2go, and by doing so, hundreds of engaging online courses are available to be taken in your home, a coffee shop, or wherever you have your laptop.

As far as affordable online learning is concerned, ed2go is the industry leader for adult education. By taking a look through their course catalog, you will see that they offer course types ranging from fundamentals to advance career training. And the course topics are endless; they range from Arts and Crafts, to Health and Fitness, and include a variety of fields including Writing, Math and Science, Computer Programming, Test Prep, and many more.

And for you substitute teachers, ed2go offers ongoing Teacher Professional Development courses. The district that you work for may require you to take a particular course, or you may choose to take one just to strengthen your skills as a teacher and add to your resume.

These online classes have different course lengths. They length of some of the shorter courses are zero to six weeks, and they progress from there in the order of six to 12 weeks,  12 to 24 weeks, and for the lengthier and more concentrated courses, 24 plus weeks. As you navigate through their website you can see the individual prices for the various courses.

Even those these classes at ed2go are competitively priced, they may still present a financial hardship for some wanting to enroll in their program. So, if this is the case for you, make sure you research their financial assistance page to learn how you may qualify for generous education loans, military tuition assistance, or government funding.

If you choose to take a course with ed2go, you have the opportunity to ask questions, give or receive advice any time during the course. Additionally, after you successfully complete your course, you’ll be rewarded with a certificate of completion which can be downloaded and printed out.

We at SubSidekick know very well the value of education, and we are happy to pass on this information about a high-quality online learning system that could very well improve not only your life, but your career! Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have questions or concerns about our services and good luck with your career in the education field!

And remember……

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Summer Tutoring for Substitute Teachers

Summer tutoring offers many benefits to a substitute teacher. It is a fantastic way to add relevant work experience to your resume, improve your teaching abilities, and make extra cash during the months that school is out of session. Various opportunities exist that are suited for different availabilities, student-teacher ratio preferences, and specific skill sets.

Private Tutoring

One of the most flexible ways to become a tutor is to simply advertise yourself for private hire. Consider getting permission to post flyers on billboards in relevant areas, like summer school bulletins, library boards, summer education camp offices, or community college campuses. Online advertising through highly frequented sites like social media marketplaces or internet sales sites can also broadcast your availability. Private tutoring offers several advantages: your rates, subject matter, and hours are self-selected, giving you a high degree of freedom. However, advertising and recruiting clients is your own responsibility.

Hired Tutoring

A more reliable source of income can come from applying as a hired tutor for companies that specialize in offering additional help to students. The pay is generally determined by the company, and part of it is withdrawn as overhead, but some companies can be flexible about working around your preferred hours. This choice, though often less lucrative than self-marketed tutoring, allows you to work without the hassle of advertisement, as students are assigned to you.

Test Preparation Instructor

For those who are able to dedicate more time, choosing to work as a test prep instructor is a great way to practice teaching a small-sized classroom for set hours every week. Generally it is expected that employees be able to contribute at least 6-9 hours a week to work, but they frequently compensate for prep time in addition to time spent teaching. The qualifications of the various test-prep companies differ, but it is often worth investigating for those who are suited to apply. Test prep centers frequently allow enrolled students the chance for private tutoring after class at an additional, competitive, charge.

Whether you decide to find students on your own, work through a company to offer additional help, or practice teaching small groups as a test preparation instructor, choosing to tutor over the summer is great way to offer valuable experiences to your teaching repertoire. For more information on how to improve your substitute teaching credentials and be alerted to new employment opportunities in the area, please contact us.

Mineral Sunscreens: No Substitute for Safer Sun Protection

One of the many perks of the summer season, more time to spend outdoors with your family and friends. You know you want to avoid a sunburn, but when you consider the risks of slathering your skin in potentially hazardous chemicals and skin irritants, you may wonder if you were better off in the safety of the classroom.

Your concerns are justified. Many sunscreen products rely on the use of synthetic, UV absorbing compounds. Chemical sunscreens convert light energy to heat energy and disburse the heat through your skin. While these chemicals will help protect your skin from burning, there are potential risks associated with their use. The health risks associated with just a few of the commonly used chemicals include:

  • Retinyl Palmitate-potentially speeds the growth of cancer cells
  • Octinoxate– shown to cause reproductive issues and thyroid alteration in animal testing
  • Avobenzone- chemical changes during product breakdown is known to cause allergic skin reactions.
  • Oxybenzone- shown to reduce testosterone levels in adolescent boys and shorten the duration of pregnancy
  • Fragrances- many components are linked to multiple health concerns

Protect Your Skin with a Mineral Sunscreen

You can protect your skin from the potential health risks associated with chemical sunscreen use by selecting a mineral sunscreen. The active ingredients in mineral sunscreen, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide, provide natural sun protection without the risk of chemical absorption or hormone disruption. There is little risk of a mineral based sunscreen causing an allergic skin reaction.

How Mineral Sunscreens Protect Your Skin

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide skin protection by deflecting and reflecting UV radiation away from the surface of your skin. Mineral sunscreens are not absorbed the way that chemical sunscreens are. Some of the benefits of mineral sunscreens include:

  • Protecting skin from premature aging
  • Reducing the risk of skin cancer
  • Not absorbing into skin
  • Protecting against UVA and UVB rays (full-spectrum)
  • Minerals do not degrade from sun exposure

Reducing Residue with Micronization

The biggest drawback to mineral sunscreens is the white residue they leave behind. Today, many manufacturers have eliminated that concern with a process called micronization. The mineral particles are broken down into nanoparticles. These smaller particles result in a product with a lighter consistency that does not leave a visible residue.

Sunscreen Scout Provides Product Recommendations 

You won’t need to spend all your valuable time away from the classroom searching for the best sunscreen for your needs. Sunscreen Scout helps you make informed decisions by providing product reviews, pricing evaluations, and listing product ingredients, so you can get back to enjoying your time in the sun. Just a few of the products recommended by Sunscreen Scout include:

ThinkSport Kids Safe Sunscreen– a broad- spectrum product free of oxybenzone and other chemical UV absorbers. ThinkSport kids has an orange creamsicle-like fragrance and is manufactured in the US.

Bare Republic– a reef-safe, broad-spectrum product free of chemical additives and synthetic fragrances. Bare republic contains skin-soothing ingredients including shea butter, aloe and chamomile extract.

Badger– a broad-spectrum sun protection product that contains only six simple ingredients. Badger provides broad-spectrum UV protection and is gentle to sensitive skin.

Take advantage of your time in the sun, without worrying about the potential health risks associated with chemical sunscreens by selecting a mineral sunscreen product. For best results, reapply your sunscreen every two hours. For more information on the benefits of mineral sunscreens, product reviews, and sunscreen recommendations, visit Sunscreen Scout.

To stay up to date with timely alerts of job openings for substitute teachers, visit Sub Sidekick.



Podcasts for Every Teacher

A podcast, as a review, is a series of audio files available online. If you have a device, whether it’s a tablet, laptop, or smartphone, you have access to an unlimited amount of podcasts, providing you have internet service. The difference between online internet radio and podcasts is that online radio involves streaming and podcasts require downloading. Some extra trivia is the term “pod” is an acronym for portable on demand.”

For those of you that use Apple MacBooks, iTunes Store allows you to browse through hundreds of thousands of free podcasts. If you don’t already know this, Apple iPhone and iPads have a preset podcast app that you should be able to quickly locate on your phone. And for Android and PC users, Google Play makes podcasts easily accessible.

Now what makes podcasts so cool is that you can listen to them on your schedule. Whether it be in the house as you’re doing chores or cooking, or even on the drive home from work. Podcasts can be both entertaining and educational, in addition to being motivational. It seems that the vast majority of podcasts are free, but there are some that charge.

The subject matter and categories for podcasts range from Arts, to Business, to Comedy, Health, Games & Hobbies, and many more. There’s something for everyone. For teachers and those working in the field of education, there’s even a category devoted exclusively to Education topics.

Here’s just a few examples of popular podcasts available for substitute teachers, career teachers, and those in the education field:

Education Innovation – This podcast offers a lot of short, 20 to 30 minute episodes in its series ranging from topics such as – “How to Achieve Deeper Learning in the Classroom” to “Reinventing Learning Using Games.”

Talks With Teachers – Another popular podcast that focuses on “Inspiring Interviews with America’s Great Educators.” They have guests on their shows that include National Teachers Of The Year, and various other well recognized names and leaders of the field in education.

Teacher Tactics – This podcast is geared more toward high school teachers and discusses things such as classroom management techniques, tips for dealing with difficult students, parents, and self-care.

These are just a few of the many different podcasts available; the list is almost endless. There are new podcasts being added every day.

And one last thing, don’t forget that teachers can use podcasts in class, whether it’s for a lesson, a bell-ringer, or winding down the day. 18 Best Podcasts For Kids in Elementary, Middle, and High School. You can find stories for the kids to listen to, podcasts about Science, History, and many other subjects. The podcasts geared toward students are also educational and entertaining.  Additionally, when the students have to actually listen, as opposed to watching a screen, they seem to sit still and listen better than usual!

So look into these podcasts and see if you can find something to help you or your class. 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!

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

Teach English Over the Summer at VIPKIDS

If you’re a substitute teacher that’s looking for summer employment, one company to consider submitting an application to is VIPKID. At VIPKID, you teach English online to Chinese children and earn anywhere from $14 to $22 an hour. Additionally, you’re able to set your own schedule, choose your hours and work as many or as few hours that you want. Some teachers are making as much as $2,000 a month working as little as 20 hours per week!

No Lesson Plans or Grading!

As a teacher working for VIPKID, you’re not responsible for any lesson plans or grading; the lesson plans are provided for you. So there’s no rushing around on Friday afternoon or Monday morning to get your lessons plans in order and turned in! VIPKID supplies all of the lesson plans for you, all you have to do is report to your computer! As one teacher was quoted as saying…..“I get to teach, but I don’t spend hours planning.” So in addition to no lesson plans, there’s no papers to grade and no parents to deal with!

What are the Requirements to Work at VIPKID?

To be eligible for employment at VIPKID, applicants must:

  • You must have a Bachelor’s degree.
  • You need to be experienced in teaching students between ages 5-12.
  • You must pass a criminal background check.
  • You must be a native English speaker.
  • You’ll need a reliable computer with high speed internet access.
  • And you’ll need a headset and camera. (Most laptops now all have cameras on them.) The headset and camera is for seeing and communicating with your Chinese students overseas.

Are There any Specific Teaching Hours?

Once you’re hired, you’re the one who chooses the times that you want to teach; generally, the times are between 9:00am – 9:30pm Beijing time. On average, teachers teach between 15 and 20 hours a week, but you can teach more, or less, depending on what your personal schedule permits.

VIPKIDS has been ranked #1 on its 2018 “Top 100 Work from Home Companies”

VIPKID was founded in 2013 by former teacher Cindy Mi and it’s now turned into a multibillion-dollar startup business. Additionally, it has a great online community and it employs thousands of teachers. Some full-time contract teachers have left their public school teaching jobs to work full-time for VIPKID, and some full-time teachers are earning incredible extra income working for VIPKID as a second job.

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