From kindergarten to twelfth grade, over a year of a child’s education is spent with a substitute teacher. Yet teachers, aides, students, and staff often view substitutes as a glorified babysitter with no credentials and no teaching experience.
Your guest teacher may be a college graduate with a degree in economics substitute teaching a class for the day. Or a retiree who used to be the CEO of a bio-engineering firm. Or even a teaching candidate in the middle of their credentialing program who is trying to gain experience before they graduate.
Administrators and Principals Subs are generally overlooked and ignored by front office staff and principals. They arrive at a new school with no sense of knowledge of the school setting, no comfort or feelings of acceptance from the other staff members as part of the school team, and for most of the day, their efforts to meet and exceed the school’s expectations go unnoticed.
Teachers No matter how much knowledge and quality these guest teachers bring to the classroom, many permanent teachers contribute to substitute ineffectiveness through minimal planning, weak lesson plans, unclear expectations, and their belief that substitute teachers lack the skills to be able to progress student learning from one day to the next.
Students Students can also be uncooperative and disrespectful. Special ed aides who are in the classrooms every day do not feel empowered to assist the substitutes teach the class. They do not offer the support the subs need, especially the ones who have never been in that particular class before.
The good news---these are all easy fixes!
1. Office Managers and Admin Assistants, make sure to take the time to meet and greet every guest teacher who arrives at your school for the day. Ask them questions and make sure they have everything they need before they move on to their classroom. Let them know who to talk to or where to go if they need additional assistance.
2. Teachers, leave strong lesson plans, but also empower your aides to help the substitute in any way possible to create a smooth successful day for the sub and the students. These subs are college-educated folks who can successfully read a lesson plan and are ready to teach the class, not pop in a DVD and make sure the kids go to lunch on time. Be sure to take time throughout the year to work with your students on proper behavior when there is a substitute covering for the day.
3. Principals, make classroom visits to check in on your guest teachers. Students notice these interactions and it sends a message to the students that the principal supports the substitute and works with them. Additionally, you will find increased willingness of substitute teachers to reach out to others on the staff to ask questions, and utilize the team-oriented atmosphere your school has created.
For more information on how we can help your school recruit, train, and sustain a healthy, quality substitute pool to cover your staff absences and professional development days, year after year, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or call us at