How to treat substitute teachers

01 Jun

Office staff

  • Say hello, exchange names, give sub info, key, schedule, locations of classroom and staff restroom, and any other important information. Give out your extension number in case it’s not easily available in the classroom.

Teacher that requested sub

  • Provide folder with emergency info, contact people, student rosters and/or seating charts, basic routines and policies of your classroom, and any passes or disciplinary forms that may be needed. If necessary include information on special challenges that may occur (with student names), and your expectations, so the sub can provide continuity with your established patterns.
  • Post a phone list near the phone, not just with names and extension numbers, but positions held.
  • Assume the sub has full teaching credentials, experience, and some knowledge of the subject area (s), unless you know otherwise.
  • Write clear sub plans that include more material than needed, with options. (Personally, I like plans that allow me to practice my skills and engage students on the topics covered, rather than just show a video.) Make sure you explain where to find all necessary items. If the sub will be using electronic equipment, make some instructions available, or name a person who can assist. Include some tasks the sub can do to help you or other staff during their prep period.
  • After returning to your classroom, read the sub’s notes. Then ask your students for feedback. Not just “How did you like the sub?” as a general question to the class, but ask specific students, discerning ones, whether the sub was a good teacher, handled situations effectively, etc. Any willing students can fill out an evaluation or write a note.
  • Fill out and file an evaluation and file a copy in your records, and in the other usual places.
  • Add the sub to your preferred provider list if things went well, and send them an encouraging email if you have time. If you engage a certain sub numerous times with good result, ask them if they are looking for a contract position, and if so, offer to write a reference or give an administrator a good word on their behalf.

Regular teachers and staff

  • Pop in before classes start to introduce yourself and offer support that many be needed or other helpful information, especially if you teach the same grade.
  • If you need to come in during class time to get something or talk to a student, check in with the sub first to explain what’s up. Do not ignore the sub–that’s uncomfortable for the sub, especially if you haven’t been introduced, and a poor example to students of professional and social etiquette.
  • Introduce yourself and be friendly in the lunch room, then carry on. Subs don’t mind being quiet observers as they discern the atmosphere on each staff and learn what’s going on in the school and community.
  • If you believe a sub is unable to handle a situation, assist in a way that preserves their dignity in the eyes of students and themselves. Communicate privately with the sub about such situations.

Principals and other administrators

  • Pay attention to the subs in your school. They may be among the candidates for jobs soon to be posted, and your observations and feedback are valuable. Pop in and introduce yourself. Be willing to observe and evaluate the sub during instruction if requested. Read sub evaluations in your spare time, or at least if they apply for a job in your school.
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Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Education, Relationships


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