First, let me start by saying that substitute teachers are educated, knowledgeable and also teachers. This post is not meant to say that substitute teachers are not capable teachers, rather they are part of our profession and deserve to be part of the collaborative process as well.
Let’s face it though, they are not the regular classroom teacher, they do not know the processes, procedures to our classroom or our school and they may not even know the structure/floor plan of the school we work at. This is a time of transition and the more information we can give our substitute the better it is for us (when we return), for the substitute teacher and for our students.
At the beginning of the year, I prepare a package for general information that does not need to be prepared again unless changes have occurred. I call it my “Go to Folder”. This folder should help anyone understand how the school functions, how your classroom functions and how you want things accomplished while away.
The general items I include in my folder are the following:
- A master schedule
- A list of supervision duties (including exits and entrances)
- A classroom seating chart
- A floor plan of the school showing where the emergency exits are and the alternate exits
- A fire drill list for roll call (I also include lists for times when I have other students (rotary) ; you may teach different periods therefore for each period you should have a list)
- A list of students that take the school bus
- A list of procedures for washroom breaks, drink breaks, lunch breaks
- Procedures for lock down situations and location of spare key to lock the door
- Procedures for fire situations and where to gather after exiting
- A teacher name and room number located close by that my substitute can ask for help or clarification
- A breakdown of classroom discipline procedures and the paperwork (reporting forms) connected with this
- Important students information, for example Peanut Allergies, or a kidney infection requiring multiple washroom visits
- A form for the substitute to report back to you the events of the day
I always prepare detailed lesson plans with all photocopies that are required. These are specific to that day and are not emergency plans or general plans.
There are some instances where there is an emergency and you do not have the time to leave detailed plans. In this instance, the substitute can have access to my emergency plans. At my school, these are held in the main office and 3 full days of emergency plans are prepared. I tend to never use these plans but they are always good to have on hand.
What do you leave for your substitute?
Let us know what you include to ensure the safety and consistency we all strive to have in our classrooms.