The Importance of Prepping for a Substitute

Life throws us a curve ball now and then. Like the Monday that I was rear-ended on the way to work. I was out for five days.  Five unexpected days.  Unexpected, but not unprepared. Years ago I learned a vital lesson in being prepared. That is when I created my substitute lesson folders.  Glad I had them when I had my car wreck. And, I was also glad I had them when I had a case of the flu that took me out for 3 days. You can't always predict when you will have to call in sick. It can sneak up on you during the wee hours of the morning. You don't feel like getting out of bed, let alone trying to type lessons and instructions for a substitute.  If you are not prepared, your children lose a day of instruction, and you have to spend double the amount of time catching up. 

Substitute folders are important. I'm not talking about the plan that says read this page in the text and answer the questions at the end of the chapter and where to go when there is a fire drill. But... real lessons that will keep your students on track.  Lessons that will continue teaching and reinforcing the skills that you are teaching. It will take some thought and some planning.  

Look for generic lessons. For my reading classes I found a passage or text that I could use to teach an important reading skill. Then I created a lesson to go with the text. For example, I wanted a lesson to reinforce finding evidence in a text. I would locate a passage that was interesting and create a printable to accompany it that would give my students additional practice finding evidence in a text. Or, I would create vocabulary printables covering vocabulary skills. I know that other subjects will be more difficult to prepare for and elementary will be even more time consuming, but it is possible. Before I taught in a departmentalized setting, I created a folder for each subject.

Keep everything simple. Don't require a substitute to use various forms of technology. You know those days when nothing works right?  You don't want to put a substitute in that position. You want to provide simple, straightforward lessons that teach skills that your students need.  Keep the instructions basic. I am not indicating that substitutes can't handle teaching like a pro, but I am saying that everyone has their own style and expectations. Don't expect a substitute to be you. And, I am speaking from experience. Currently, I sub on my days off. Complicated lesson plans that assume I understand procedures are frustrating to me. Not because I am not capable of teaching, but because I don't know every procedure for every teacher in  every school that I work. I appreciate basic, solid lessons with clear instructions.  

 Make space in a convenient place for the plans, like a file drawer in your desk. I created enough plans for five days and placed each day's plan in a separate folder. They were labeled with numbers one-five.  As one was used, I created a new one to replace it. Substitute notes for the lesson were in the folder.  Policies, procedures, and location of sub lesson folders were kept in the sub folder in the office. All bases were covered. So... if I needed to call for a sub, the only sub plans I had to do was tell them which folder (#1-#5) to use. A little planning in advance made it easy when I needed it to be easy. 

So, prepare substitute lesson folders. Takes a little time in the beginning, but well worth it. You won't dread having to call in for a substitute and your students won't lose a day of quality instruction. 

Like my Facebook page, Chocolate 4 Teachers (to hear about my newest products, hear the latest teacher news, or get a 'teacher' laugh),  OR my Pinterest page, Chocolate 4 Teachers for previews of my products (including some new lessons suitable for a sub folder).  And, by following my TpT store, Chocolate 4 Teachers you will receive emails every time I publish a new resource, like these substitute resources! Each resource contains two complete lessons. Each resource is $1.75. Well worth it!
White Tigers

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