How to Plan for a Substitute Teacher

Part of the Rookie Teaching For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As a rookie teacher, you know the queasy feeling you get when you walk into a classroom unprepared. Don’t leave your substitute teacher in the lurch! Don’t just leave lesson plans — make sure you also include the following:

  • A copy of your class schedule (and the bell schedule if your school has one)

  • A seating chart for every class (if you don’t assign seats, make sure you indicate that)

  • A map of the school, including directions to each of your rooms if you teach in more than one or if students receive instruction in other rooms (like the music room or gymnasium)

  • Emergency instructions, including the evacuation route assigned to your room (if you have multiple rooms, include the evacuation routes for all of them)

  • Important information about students, including medical conditions

  • A copy of all your policies, including bathroom and hall-pass policies

  • A complete student roster, on which the substitute can record attendance

  • An explanation of all your duty assignments (substitutes usually have to fulfill duties as well as cover classes)

  • The name and room number of a nearby teacher who can help out if things go wrong or add to the assignment if the kids are finishing too early

  • A list of trustworthy kids in each class (and perhaps a list of kids the substitute should keep an eye on)

  • Your home phone number, so that the substitute can contact you if all else fails

Do not leave your grade book behind, even if you trust the substitute, because you cannot guarantee its safety or security.

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