Sunday, December 4, 2011

Preparing for the Sub

Holy guacamole!  I have not posted in a LONG time!  I blame it on the fact that I have been busy in my classroom and finishing up my grad work.  On top of that, my husband and I found at that we are having a baby...YAY!  I am now in my second trimester and my little brain has been thinking lately, "How ready am I to have a sub in my classroom?"

Here are a few tips for helping out your sub, whether it is for one day...or one month:

1 - Post Important (But Not Confidential) Information:  No matter how many times my students practice lining up in ABC order for our lunch line, we inevitably face those random arguments about who goes where in the line.  Be sure to post your lunch line order or any special order that the kids need to remember.  Here is a picture of our lunch line order (right), as well as a list of our bus riders (left).  They hang just to the left of our doorway and they are up high, so they do not occupy valuable wall space.

My students know their assigned squares on the carpet.  However, they have a tendency to squirm around and get into the squares of others - which can cause arguments and interruptions.  Help the sub to quickly fix the problem (and move on with the lesson) by posting your carpet seating arrangement.  I used an unused pocket chart and student photos.  This hangs on the wall near our carpet area.

2 - Post Emergency Procedures:  Of course every good teacher leaves directions for Emergency Procedures in her sub folder.  But how useful is that to a sub teacher, when the bell is ringing in her ear.  She does not have time to scramble for that sub folder.  Thanks to my awesome neighbor Kindergarten teacher, we have these Emergency Procedure posters hung above our doorway.  A sub teacher can simply pull them down as she walks out the door.  I also keep a red folder nearby that includes an updated class list and a pencil.

3 - Store Important Items in a "Sub Tub":  I do not have a photo at this time of my "Sub Tub," but it is simply a large, clear plastic tub labeled "Sub Tub."  Here is a short list of suggestions of items you may want to keep in your "Sub Tub."

- Welcome Letter
- Emergency / Back-Up Lesson Plans and Materials (for those days when you were not planning on being absent)
- Student Name Tags / Necklaces  (Ours our lanyards from Office Max with flat, wooden tags attached to them.  They are technically ornaments that I bought from the clearance rack at JoAnn Fabrics after Christmas last year.  I find they are more durable than plastic name tags.)
- Updated Class List
- Photos of Your Students, labeled with their names
- Candy, Coins for the Vending Machine, or Other Treats  (Show the sub how much you appreciate that they are there!)
- Sub Feedback Form  (Ask the sub to jot down some notes about things that went well and things that did not go so well.  You need to know what you can do to make the next experience even better for future subs.)
- Master Schedule and Specialists Schedule
- Classroom Procedures  (I have mine labeled as, "Everything You Need to Know About Room 105!")
- Teacher (Lunchroom, Recess, Bus, etc.) Duty Schedule

There really is so much more you can do as the homeroom teacher to help out your sub.  I feel like this post has so many holes!  I am going to take more photos in my classroom and update this post later, so be sure to check back!


  1. Congratulations! I was out for six months (non paid) and worried about the sub. After a while, I realized my little one mattered more. I was always a phone call away.

  2. Thank you, Mrs. Parker! I know I will worry, too, but I'm hopeful the sub will be someone I know and am comfortable with. You're right though, my soon-to-be bundle of joy is most important! :)


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