Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie

The Pedagogy of a Rural Educator

Substitutes: How to Plan

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“It’s just more work to be gone!” If you ask a teacher why they don’t take sick days, or vacation days, they might respond this way. It’s true, sometimes,  it can be very difficult to decide what to leave for a sub. I spent a lot of time last summer thinking about and researching what to do when you must be out of your classroom for a day. There are lots of things to consider when leaving work for your students. I created this prezi for the REMAST (Rural Enhancement of Math And Science Education) conference this summer. I believe it has some very good tips for planning for your absence.

However,  there are times that you can’t plan ahead.  For this, I recommend having emergency substitute plans. I created a Substitute Teacher Binder this summer:

Binder cover

Binder cover

Within it, I have 8 sections:

  • Contact Information: Information on how to contact me and others in the school.
  • Daily Schedule: Listing of my day’s classes.
  • Technology: How to use the computer, projector, etc.
  • Class Rosters: List of students in each class.
  • Student Behavior Expectations: Class rules and procedures.
  • Today’s Lesson Plans: What the plans are today!
  • Report Form: A sheet for the substitute to fill out about the day.
  • Emergency Lesson Plans: Lesson plans that a substitute can use if I’m not able to make a plan for some reason.

I chose these sections after looking at many different posts and examples of substitute binders. If you have different needs, use different sections!

Does anyone have comments on how to plan for a substitute? Any teachers who have worked as a substitute have pointers for current teachers planning to be away? Please leave your comments below!

Thanks for reading!


Author: sdsuemko

I'm a high school science teacher in a small Minnesota town who loves the world of rural education. I am constantly striving to learn more about my craft and share what I find with others!

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