Tips for Working as a Substitute Teacher

Sunday, October 29, 2017

As you may know, I studied teaching during grad school but unfortunately, I wasn't finished in time to apply for full time teaching positions this fall. This kind of left me in a weird place because teaching jobs are really only available during one part of the year. Instead of full time teaching, I am working as a substitute teacher. Working as a substitute teacher can be a great stepping stone into a full time teaching job or as a great way for a college grad to make some money before landing their dream job or starting grad school. However, subbing is definitely a completely different world than any other job I've ever had so I've put together a list of tips for rocking life as a substitute teacher!

Accept jobs online in advance | If your school district has an online portal for sub jobs, utilize it! Nobody likes being woken up at 5 AM with a phone call for a last minute job! Your life will be so much easier if you can know most of your jobs in advance! These jobs will also have a much lower risk of showing up to a classroom that doesn't have any sub plans ready for the day!

Hang all of your teaching clothes together | Putting together an outfit in the early morning can be tough, so I like to keep my teaching clothes hung together in my closet. My teaching wardrobe is typically black pants and a blouse so mixing and matching pieces is super easy! 

Keep your teaching bag packed | I like to keep my substitute tote packed with everything that I could possibly need at all times. You never want to be running around trying to find everything you need in the morning after getting a 5 AM call! I usually just have to throw in my wallet and go!

Keep your fridge and pantry stocked | Putting together a lunch last minute and super early in the morning can be a nightmare so I like to keep items that are easy to grab and throw in my lunch box. I typically keep items pre-portioned in little cups or baggies so I can mix and match foods. I also make sure to keep a large S'well bottle full of water ready to go so I can stay hydrated all day!

Get there early | This is especially important if you have never subbed at this school before. You should get there early so you can get acquainted with the front office workers, the bell schedule, and the layout of the school! You don't want to end up taking the kids to lunch late because you didn't know their lunch time or couldn't find the cafeteria! It's also important to have some time in the classroom to review the sub plans!

Have a classroom management strategy | Every classroom should already have their own in place but sometimes it can be tricky to figure out what the teacher does. Have a backup management plan ready to go that you can quickly explain to the students at the start of the day. 

Keep some time filler activities in your sub tote | This is mostly only relevant for elementary school but sometimes the kids will finish their activities early. Sometimes you'll have an extra 5 or 10 minutes before lunch or before the end of the day. Having some fun activities ready to go can help you fill that time. These could really be anything from GoNoodle to a game or an academic activity as long as you keep it relevant to the grade you're in!

Go into everyday with a positive mindset | Substitute teaching can be a really challenging job. Sometimes you end up in a less than ideal classroom for the day but it's important to make the most of whatever the day gives you because you are there to help shape the minds of a future generation, as cliché as that sounds!

Make time for self care | This can be daily or weekly, but it's important to take care of yourself! Subbing can be a stressful job and it's important to take the time to destress and relax. Even something small like a nice bubble bath after a long day can make a huge difference! Some great self care activities are bubble baths, face masks, a glass of wine or some chocolate, or spending some time reading or enjoy Netflix.

Have any of you worked as a substitute before? What tips and tricks would you add to my list?

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!