Thriving as a Long-Term Substitute Teacher: Tips for Managing Your New Classroom

Making the decision to become a long-term substitute teacher is often exciting and a little nerve-racking. Being offered a long-term position means that the school staff believes you are competent, reliable, and fully capable of running your own classroom. You, however, might not feel as confident. After all, being a long-term substitute teacher is very different from filling in for a day or two here and there. You will essentially have your own classroom and all of the responsibilities that go along with it. Below we will discuss some tips for managing your classroom as a long-term substitute teacher:

Schedule a meeting with the regular teacher. If possible, set up a meeting with your new class’ regular teacher. Together, you can establish a plan for the first week in your new role. Additionally, you can discuss any curricular questions or behavioral concerns during the meeting.

Introduce yourself to the parents. It’s important that the parents of your students feel comfortable with you as their children’s new teacher. Many might initially feel uncomfortable with the idea of a long-term substitute, so it’s your job to reassure them that it will be business as usual at school. Consider sending a letter home to introduce yourself and invite the parents to contact you with any questions or concerns.

Familiarize yourself with the special needs of students. It is imperative that you’re aware of any Individual Education Plans (IEP) in your classroom. A student’s IEP will make you aware of any special accommodations that must be made for that child. Some students might have behavioral modification plans that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with too. These plans discuss specific strategies for modifying students’ disruptive behavior.

Establish your authority. It’s no secret that many students view having a substitute teacher as the perfect time to break the rules. For a long-term sub, it’s essential to establish your authority in the classroom from day one. Consider having the students help you create some classroom rules to follow during your time together. Be confident and clear in your expectations.

Don’t be afraid to have your own style. The regular classroom teacher might have provided you with several lesson plan ideas, but don’t be afraid to modify them a bit to showcase your own teaching style. It’s important that you keep students actively engaged in the learning process, so aim for creative lesson plans that complement the curriculum.

For more information and tips on managing a classroom as a long-term substitute teacher, please contact us.

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