A few years ago, my family relocated for my husband’s job and I left my job of 8 years in Minneapolis Public Schools. It was one of the hardest decisions for me because I loved my job, my coworkers, my school- all of it. But I hated the commute. I was driving about an hour and a half both ways, daily, with my kindergartener. So much of my day was wasted, and I felt pulled in two directions- my old life in the city and my new life in the country.
So I left my job and took a substitute position in my new town. I have enjoyed it a lot- learning a new school, new grades, a new way of teaching. I spent the first year in my new city subbing in three different grades- 3rd, 4th, and Pre-K. Because of the change, I was inspired to create several new teaching products, including a bunch of substitute resources. I hope some of these can help some of my fellow substitute teachers!
First, you need to get yourself a sub job.
Included in this bundle:
1. Sub Report- A quick report that you can fill out in less than 5 minutes at the end of your day to leave notes and comments for the teacher!
2. Record of Substitute Jobs- Because we know you can’t remember which schools and teachers you do and don’t want to sub for again!
3. Editable Teacher Resume
4. Editable Teacher Cover Letter
5. Substitute Flyer to hand in workrooms/ teachers lounges.
Hopefully this can help you get your name out there in a few districts, so you can get to subbing right away! Next, you’re going to have to introduce yourself:
You will just fill in your info (introduction, education, contact, favorites) and you’re good to go! I used it for the first day of school and I have it hanging outside my classroom for curious eyes. 😉
Then, you need to have a plan. Ideally, the classroom teacher that you’re subbing for will have plans nicely laid out for you. However, every substitute has their own horror stories about walking into a class with no plans at all, no idea when things happen, etc. I have a few stories of my own that I’ll save for another day. But I have learned now that substitutes need to come in with a few things they can pull out a moment’s notice.
Here are some fun suggestions:
Kids love these puzzles where you have to search out a certain number on a 100 Chart, color it the right color, and figure out what the picture is. I’ve done it as a race- who can finish it first?- or as a filler when kids finish early. Even older kids (3-4th grade) enjoy this!
Writing is a great way to fill out a literacy block. Sometimes teachers don’t leave quite enough plans, and writing is a great way to do something useful and productive. First, teach a quick mini-lesson on an appropriate writing skill- maybe sound spelling in kindergarten or using different types of sentences for 3rd grade. Then give the kids a prompt page from this bundle, or let them choose their own prompt! Let the kids write, then let them share their stories on the document camera! Done and done! You could even compile their pages into a class book to show the classroom teacher, if you have time!
This is a fun (FREE!) activity that any grade can do. Students search the room for 10 titles that are non-fiction and ten that are fiction. Before the hunt begins, do a quick review of “clues” that students should look for that would tell if it is fiction or non-fiction. You can do the scavenger hunt in partners or you could do it as a race. Easy, worthwhile activity!
I hope these ideas will give you something to keep in your “bag of teacher tricks.” Good luck, substitutes!