Subs: What do you do, when just showing up is not enough?

Being a Substitute Teacher is a very rewarding experience. You have the opportunity to help shape today’s children into the adults of tomorrow. However, kids are a handful. We all know it. So, what does a substitute do when the kids are finishing their work faster than the teacher expected or when the teacher forgot to leave plans at all? You have to make your own Substitute Teacher Lesson Plans!

The first thing to do is to check with another teacher. Look for a teacher that is teaching the same grade or, if at a middle school or high school, the same subject. The other teachers generally have backup worksheets or assignments that you can use.

You may also look up worksheets to use from a website like Kidzone. Kidzone offers free worksheets for grades up to fifth grade. However, you can print these worksheets once and use them as a reference for older students. They can also be used as busy work. Keep in mind, if you are using the teacher’s paper to print they may have bought that paper themselves, so use it sparingly.

If worksheets are not enough, you may also make a game out of the work. One game, that is especially good for math or grammar classes is speed race. For math, you put several equations on the board, or on flashcards, and two students try to be the first to complete them. For grammar, you put a few sentences on the board, or flashcards, and the students must try to find all of the spelling or grammar mistakes.

If you do not have the time for a worksheet or an educational game, or if you just want to reward the students there are fun games that can be played as well. For example, point-and-click is a game where the students stand in a circle and close their eyes. When the game master, or the teacher, says, “point,” all of the students pick a point around the circle to point at. When the game master says, “click,” the students must click their fingers and open their eyes. If two students are pointing at each other, then they are out. However, if student A is pointing at student B, but student B is pointing at student C, they are all still in. If student A is pointing at student B, student B is pointing at student C, and student C is pointing at student B, students B and C are out.

When you are a Substitute teacher, you must keep some “tools” in your toolbox: worksheets (or ideas for worksheets), educational games and rewarding games are all tools that can be pulled out at any point.

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