Many high school teachers often say it is more work to be gone than to be at work. Quite often, missing a day of teaching whether due to an illness, conference, or family emergency does in fact generate extra work due to dealing with any problems of the previous day, updating attendance reports, checking e-mail and regular mail, and possibly reteaching lessons. As such, preventing mishaps and being clear in a substitute teacher’s lesson plan is vital to making a teacher’s day of return much easier as well as more beneficial for students.
General information should be provided in a folder at the beginning of the school year.
Quite often the school office maintains a substitute teacher folder with the basics for a sub. Teachers assemble the folder in the fall, including information like student rosters, school emergency procedures, and classroom rules. If the office does not maintain such information, an individual teacher should consider making a folder like this for their desk for convenience purposes. With the classroom’s general information provided, all a teacher needs to put into a substitute teacher lesson plan are the details that change more frequently.
What information should be included in a daily substitute teacher plan?
First of all, a brief greeting and the date help verify to the substitute that he or she is in the correct classroom, on the correct date, and for the correct person. If the teacher does not mind sharing, explain to the substitute teacher the reason for the absence. Sometimes knowing the reason for a teacher’s absence allows the sub to reassure students if necessary. In addition, it makes the substitute more reputable in students’ eyes, as if he or she is privy to direct communication with their regular teacher. Students may actually behave better as a result.
Second, list each hour or course in order. For each, the teacher needs to decide whether a review day or an extension topic is best. Typically it is not advisable to expect a substitute teacher to deliver a new lesson topic, but from time to time it may work if prior arrangements can be made.
When writing the details for each class, do not simply write a page and problem numbers. Explain the details such as due dates, whether students are allowed to work together, and where supplies or books are located for each assignment. Also include the expected classroom noise level and whether calculators or other tools are allowed.
Third, include some management ideas. These include only allowing one student out of the classroom at a time, expecting students to remain seated, or listing a student who would provide reliable assistance if needed. Be sure to include seating charts for a sub to take attendance. It saves them a lot of time and they can honestly say, “If you are not in the correct seat, then you will be marked absent!” It also empowers the substitute teacher, often preventing behavior issues.
Including these aspects in a daily substitute teacher lesson plan can save many headaches for the students, the sub, and the classroom teacher. What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any additional substitute teacher plan ideas to share with others? Please leave a comment below.