Being out of the classroom for the day and having a substitute teacher can be stressful, even for the most experienced teachers. Not only do you have to put in a lot of preparation to make sure the day goes smoothly, but you also have to trust your class to follow expectations. Hopefully, these simple steps can make leaving your class with someone else just a little bit easier.
#1 Have a Sub Tub Prepared
Picture this–it is the day before you need a substitute. Maybe you planned to be out, or maybe something unexpected came up. Either way, you are probably scrambling to get everything together to make sure your substitute’s day goes as smoothly as possible. At this moment, it may be hard to think about what you might need to leave.
This is where a sub tub comes in. A sub tub is a tub, or possibly a binder, of information and resources that you know your substitute teacher is going to need. It includes things like a class list, a class schedule, emergency information, and sub plans. You should also include an outline of classroom rules and expectations, details on how students get home, and any other information you think a classroom visitor might need to know.
This type of information typically only changes each school year, so they are easy to prepare in advance. Having those items printed and ready to go means that there is one less thing to worry about when you are preparing to be away from your classroom.
#2 Think Ahead
Another step to help prepare for a sub is thinking and planning ahead. Specifically, think ahead to what skills you will be working on each semester or every nine weeks. Try to think through what you will be doing at specific times in the year and in each subject area. This will help you create a set of grab-and-go printables that you can use anytime you need a sub.
Try to pick worksheets with instructions that will be easy to follow for students and easy to explain by substitutes. It would also be helpful to your substitute if you choose resources that students can complete independently at that point in the year.
This step is not only helpful for any time you could need a substitute teacher, but it is crucial for times when you have to miss school unexpectedly.
#3 Try Not to Worry
I know that this step may seem impossible, but try not to worry. Yes, there are still behavior issues while you are out. Yes, it is difficult to leave your classroom for even one day, especially knowing how much you need to cover in a school year. And yes, I know that you feel as if you begin playing catch-up as soon as you return. However, it is important to remember that your students are in good care. Following these steps allows you to equip the substitute with everything he or she might need to make the day go as smoothly as possible.
I hope these three simple steps help you to feel more confident when you leave your classroom in the hands of a substitute. Having a sub tub put together and thinking ahead helps you to be better prepared. In turn, you experience less stress when planning for a substitute, which is especially helpful in unexpected situations.