HELP!!! Substitute teaching tips!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-2005
HELP!!! Substitute teaching tips!
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 9:27am

Hello all!

I am a recent college graduate who needed to pick up subbing as a means of income. I have no experience in the classroom, although I have done some outdoor education for a couple of years ( I am an environmental management major).

I have not had my first "job" yet and I am SO SCARED!!!!! I have no idea what this experience will be like. I honestly have no idea what to do! They throw you blindly into the job.

I was wondering if any of you have subbed before. If so what tips can you give me. Also, I want to know what the teachers usually leave behind for subs (lesson plans, worksheets,etc.). Are there things that a sub should be weary about? What if no plans were left for the sub, then what?! Would reading time and homework time be appropriate? Or should I have something for them to do!

I could really use the advice and help right now!

Avatar for judy_joey
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 1:59pm

Congrats on the new job! I'm a high school teacher so I can say that in my building most teachers leave worksheet type activities. It would be very difficult to step in and teach high school because of the content.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 2:54pm

I am only a student teacher, but I have LOTS of sub experience (certifications get lost when you move, and you often have to start over.)


DO make sure you have something for the kids to do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 6:51pm

Hi, Kaite. Beth gave you some good advice. Other suggestions I'd offer:

For elementary prepare a bag of general things for primary and intermediate levels that you always take. These can be games, a book or two for read-alouds, basic activities for the grade level such as worksheets for basic skills etc. You never know when you'll need time fillers.



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-13-2008
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 7:25pm

While all teachers SHOULD leave plans, that doesn't always happen for whatever reason. I highly recommend taking a book of word searches/crosswords to keep kids busy. Or ask another teacher for something to do. I do not recommend reading/HW time because that equals time to get in trouble. If a kid quietly comes to ask if he/she can do their homework, you could give consent individually.
And always tell the kids that you think the work will be graded. That way they'll do it.

I teach HS so perhaps ES teachers have different ideas. Just remember that you're mostly there as a babysitter. Don't worry about trying to teach a subject, just keep control of the class. If that means sending a kid to the office, do it. Don't take nonsense/attitude off of anyone.