Showing Up Strong as a Substitute Teacher

As a guest teacher, you’ve been here before. It’s time to greet your students for the day and you hear the whispers and giggles in the room from the thirty or so new faces glancing your way. Students have extra sensory perception when it comes to interacting with a substitute teacher.  What proactive steps will you take to the be the best substitute teacher possible?  As you consider this question from both the student and classroom teacher perspective, don’t hesitate to contact us with your wonderings.

From the Student’s Perspective

Whether or not they are likely to admit it, students don’t like change.  Especially a big change,  like who’s in charge for the day.  Some students will naturally challenge anything different that comes their way.  This can look like silliness, boredom or even challenging behavior. You can combat all of these issues in the first few minutes of class by simply being as genuine as possible with the students in front of you.  All students, no matter their age,  want to know one thing.  The adult in the room is a competent and capable teacher who likes kids. Breaking the ice by sharing with students who you are and why you are happy to be with them is a sure way to gain their approval for the work that lies ahead.

From the Teacher’s Perspective

Most teachers would prefer not to miss class and prepare substitute lesson plans.  They are hard to write and difficult to design if both students and guest teachers are to be honored.  The very best substitute from a teacher’s perspective will adhere to the following:

  • Follow the lesson plans as closely as possible.  They were written for a reason and the student’s learning trajectory depends upon them being honored.
  • Leave a written and detailed recap of the day’s events calling out what went well and what might have been a challenge.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The teachers across the hall or next door wants you to succeed.  It’s likely they are on the lookout for someone exceptional to cover their class should the need arise.  Show up as a learner and ask for help or clarification when needed.
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