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.
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.
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.
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.