The 21st Century Substitute Teacher: Taking Full Control

substitute teaching

Substitute teaching is in many cases a pain in the “ASSET!” How many times have substitute teachers entered a classroom only to find that there are no plans or objectives supplied for teaching and managing the students. Oops! You are also unprepared.

Sub-ology is about being prepared to take full control and responsibility for a classroom even when the teacher has left no indicator of order and direction.

Many times it is the teacher’s fault, but often it is not. A family emergency, a setback in health or a dismissal can result in a teacher-less classroom.
Sub-ology demands that you are prepared from the moment you step in the classroom until the moment you leave for the day.

Follow these principles for success:

Show Your Boss Side

Make sure students know who is boss. Passivity is the wrong quality for substitute teachers. If you don’t have courage to confront the many challenges that occur in the life of a substitute teacher, you are doomed from the start. The students will test you until they have taking complete control of the classroom. Your credibility as a disciplinary goes out of the door.

Embrace Your Objective

Have a clear objective for the classroom. Even if the teacher left sub plans, make sure you also have plans in case there is large gaps of wait time. Idleness can spread throughout the room like wild fire. So give them something to do. Extra materials dealing with word study, math, science, or current news are good resources for students who finish their work early, especially for those who intend to play.
You can go to the library and find and copy useful materials for different grade levels. Your effort will be paid off when you are able to fulfill the teaching void left unfulfilled by the original teacher.

Engage Students in every Lesson

Substitute teachers should not allow students to sit passively in their desk. All students should participate in the demonstrations, questions and answers related to the lesson. The most effective way to know whether or not a student is learning is to observe them responding to your teaching. Just because you are a substitute doesn’t give students a day off from learning something valuable to their future.
The more students are engage in what is being taught, the less opportunities for them to lose focus and play around.

Build Relationships

Treat every student with dignity and respect. Build relationships with them. Don’t yell at students, which indicate a loss of control. Instead, stay poised and confident when issues arise. Redirect calmly or peacefully if students are engaged in independent seat work.
If students keep acting up, apply logical consequences on a consistent basis. An order of management activities are usually applied to student misbehavior. For example; you may give the difficult student a warning first, followed by a timeout, and if that is not good enough, send him or her to a buddy room or the support staff,

Allow Some Freedom

The goal of a substitute teacher should be to strike a balance between being two demanding and granting student’s freedom with responsibility. If the students can manage themselves without redirection, allow them to have break periods after intense teacher sessions. This can help their minds recover from the classroom grind.

Have fun! It’s Just One Day

Have fun! You are only there for a day, in most cases. Attempt to leave an impression that will stay with students for a life time. It can be anything memorable. For example, tell them a funny joke, give them an inspirational speech, tell them how excellent they were or allow them to express themselves in a talent contest, or if they have been an exceptional class, partnership with the regular teacher to give them a pizza party. They will remember you and will be glad to see you come again.

Until next Time: Happy subbing