New Teachers

Start Subbing...Tips?

Wed May 07, 2014 12:48 PM

I am going to be getting my emergency teaching credential while I finish my actual elementary multiple subject credential and I am getting more and more nervous about subbing. Coming into a completely unfamiliar territory, unknown kids, classes, etc. I am hoping to sub for my master teacher, whom I'll be student teaching for until December, but after that I plan to sub through the spring 2015.

What are some practical tangible things I should bring with me to feel better prepared (especially for those days with no sub plans)?
Also any other suggestions and advice anyone can offer to prepare myself before I start would be greatly appreciated!

Katrina Adams
Katrina Adams
295 Activity Points

Wed May 07, 2014 4:20 PM

Hey there!

I have been subbing since last semester, and it is definitely a job that you have to get used to. The first couple of time when you walk into a classroom to find the sub plans, it is very nerve-racking and you really do not know what you are going to be doing until 30 minutes before class starts. There is nothing you can really do about the nerves the first couple of times that you sub, but believe me that it gets SO MUCH BETTER after the first couple days. You kinda have to just go with the flow and realize that your main goal is to keep the kids safe. Most teachers do not care if you complete all of the sub plans that you have laid out for the day, they just care that their kids have a good day.

Some things I bring with me when I sub:
-- Stickers. Kids go crazy for stickers and will follow any directions if you bribe them with stickers. Sounds bad, but it is so true.
-- A couple of grade level books. I also have some lesson plans prepared that I can use with the books. Like different writing topics, art projects, or math games. Like for the book The Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, You could have students describe a day where they really didn't have a good day. Or they can write when they had an awesome day. Then the kids can share their stories with the class and this would fill like an hour and a half of time!
-- If you have some spare time, you could probably take the kids out for like 20 minutes of play time on the playground. (Just make sure it is OK with the principal)
-- Songs to sing with the kids
-- Games that I learned from being a cap counselor


If you need any help, let me know!!!!! You will be great. Just don't let the craziness of subbing get you down. You will have both good days and not so good days, but keep your head up!

Corrie Armstrong
Corrie Armstrong
490 Activity Points

Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:12 PM

These are some really wonderful ideas! I just tried them when I subbed and the stickers definitely work!


Thanks

Jessica Nguyen
Jessica Nguyen
1155 Activity Points

Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:13 PM

These are some really wonderful ideas! I just tried them when I subbed and the stickers definitely work!


Thanks

Jessica Nguyen
Jessica Nguyen
1155 Activity Points

Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:14 PM

I had never thought about bringing books before - that's a great idea! I just don't ever want to be that sub that teachers make clear they never want in their classroom again. I feel like the first times are rough, and I am so glad my subbing has only been with children I was acquainted with.

I have subbed in an emergency situation before and was only told what to do right then - not when they finished. Her basket of books was a lifesaver, and I can't believe I hadn't thought about bringing them along in future situations!

Samantha Coyle
Samantha Coyle
2245 Activity Points

Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:50 PM

Thank you for all of the great ideas! These are some great pointers!

Courtney Lucca
Courtney Lucca
620 Activity Points

Fri May 01, 2015 12:27 AM

Ah, these are all great suggestions. I'm definitely going to use some of these tips! Thanks!

Ava Aldcroft
Ava Aldcroft
595 Activity Points

Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:47 PM

Hi,
I must say these are really good ideas and that how student will like you and believe me they will not give you as much hard time they might be giving to some others they do. I heard from many subs that kids get out of control when their real teacher is not their even though they have a lot of work to do they just don't work and play most of the time. So I think by doing that kids will behave well because they will know if they behave well they will get some prize such as sticker or something else etc. I never been a sub but I always apply these types of things when I'm around kids and it always work.

Shamama Nargis
Shamama Nargis
2845 Activity Points

Wed May 07, 2014 5:49 PM

Hey Katrina!

I'm in the same boat. I am about to apply for the emergency credential and it is terrifying. I have mainly only heard about the horror stories of subbing. I think the biggest thing we need to do is keep an open mind and go into every class thinking positive thoughts. Like Corey said, having activities, songs, and games ready are extremely important. Bringing an actual bag ("Bag of tricks") to the class may help you feel as ease with activities you are comfortable with. This website has a lot of awesome sponge activities based on grade level: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/classroom-activit...-k%C2%965. Also, if you know the grade level you are going into, it may help to prepare your "bag of tricks".

This, of course, is all filler activities to use after you have done the sub plan. Hopefully, you can use the knowledge you have gained from the credential program to lengthen the sub lessons.

Talking to fellow subs or teachers before your first few sub days may help too. They can give you insight to what to expect and maybe some good subbing stories to ease your worries.

Kate Schroeder
Kate Schroeder
400 Activity Points

Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:47 PM

I have been subbing for 2 years now at our middle school and love it!!! Once the teachers get to know you they may begin to ask for you when they know they are going to be out. For middle school students I have a list of go to videos and websites to play games with them depending on what they are studying at the time. I also keep my own subscriptions to Brain Pop and edhelper to fill in when I need it. Our sub coordinator is really good about trying to schedule us out ahead of time and it has been rare lately that I am called in last minute in the morning. The biggest thing is to set your authority with the kids at the beginning. Let them know your expectations even if they are different than that of the regular teacher ex. No talking when someone else is talking, sit in your seat, etc.

Patrice Janyska
Patrice Janyska
10 Activity Points

Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:20 AM

Katrina:
Each subbing experience you have will make you a stronger and better educator more prepared to change with each new experience. I always told potential teachers to volunteer in the worst school in the area that you live in. The more different experiences you have the more you are prepared for all the different potential events that can happen in any teaching experience.
Good luck.
Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101470 Activity Points

Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:06 AM

Katrina-
I hope things are going well for you.
I found five websites that may help, if you haven't uncovered them already!

1. Education World-specific tips for subbing and links t may other great resources, including the National Substitute Teachers Alliance.

2. Substitute Teaching Ideas on Pinterest-Ideas for different grade levels

3. The Guest Teachers Bag of Goodies - Ideas for Substitutes-Survival Kit for Guest Teachers

4. Ideas for Substitute Teachers With No Lesson Plans-Survival tips for those days when there are no plans!

I hope this helps!

Naomi Beverly

Naomi Beverly
Naomi Beverly
19130 Activity Points

Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:13 PM

Thank you so much for sharing! These are all really awesome and helpful websites for teachers that are just beginning their subbing. I can definitely see myself using some these "tricks" that are provided on the websites.

Marci McGlin
Marci McGlin
375 Activity Points

Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:52 PM

Those are some fantastic resources! Thank you for sharing!

Courtney Lucca
Courtney Lucca
620 Activity Points

Fri May 01, 2015 12:29 AM

Some of the tricks are great! I definitely will include use some of these great ideas while subbing. I know the kids will love it.

Ava Aldcroft
Ava Aldcroft
595 Activity Points

Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:09 PM

These are all great tips! Thanks!

Arielle Gutierrez
Arielle Gutierrez
995 Activity Points

Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:59 PM

I have been subbing for the past year while I finish up my bachelors. I mainly sub in middle schools. My biggest tips: Follow the plans, remember your classroom management strategies, and leave a note telling the teacher about the day and thanking them. I also leave my name and number so they can request me in the future :) Good Luck!

Melissa Kennedy
Melissa Kennedy
720 Activity Points

Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:40 PM

I Have been subbing for over a year now and the first time is always a little nerve wrecking in the classroom. One thing that always helps me is being prepared with extra activities that keep the students busy when there is free time or when they are finished with their assignments before the other students because that's when they get the loudest and start distracting students. One thing every class I have ever had loves, is riddles!
They try so hard to solve the riddles and they think its funny. I usually don't tell them the answer till the end of the day so that they are constantly working on it when they are finished with work.

Allison Oharriz
Allison Oharriz
610 Activity Points

Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:58 PM

I am wanting to sub for a while after I graduate and these are all great tips! Thank you guys for sharing. This will definitely help me in the future.

Jessica Villarreal
Jessica Villarreal
1385 Activity Points

Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:01 AM

I have not thought about subbing before because I thought I would not be able to but after reading the stories and experiences that the other teachers have had here, I would like to have known this earlier so that I could get some experience working with students. I also feel that this was very helpful in knowing what I should prepare as a future teacher for when I have a substitute.

Nanako Kaieda
Nanako Kaieda
1850 Activity Points

Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:46 PM

I am so glad I found this forum! I am going to start substitute teaching at the end of the month and wanted to get tips from individuals who are currently subbing. Bringing grade level books is a great idea! You never know what the teacher will already have in the class. I have a slight obsession with children's books so I already have a book in mind. The book is called The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. It is especially good for younger kids who still love coloring with crayons! It would be a great way to entertain and engage students if the teacher doesn't leave enough work for them to do.

Pilar Zenere
Pilar Zenere
445 Activity Points

Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:28 AM

Just remember... Subbing is entirely different than being a teacher. You really don't have a rapport with the kids and they are just happy the teacher is gone. It is often a rough way to go.

Some schools like arlington, va has in-school-subs which is a slightly better gig. Check that out.

FYI. Arlington Va has a job fair next saturday, march 21st.

Daniel Carroll
Daniel Carroll
18550 Activity Points

Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:51 PM

A lot of great advice here! I'm taking some notes since I plan on subbing the semester before I student teach!

Stanethia Miller
Stanethia Miller
1040 Activity Points

Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:08 PM

I just subbed for the first time over the last couple of days and it was very nerve racking especially because the first day the teacher was unprepared and left me little too do with them and as for the worksheets she left there was not enough for all the classes I had to see that day. The second day was better because the teacher was better organized for me, however classroom management was the biggest issue because the students were a bit challenging. It got easier each time I subbed and the good news is that by subbing all different grades and classes I am able to get a better feel about which grade I would prefer to teach when I graduate with my teaching degree.

Lori Gillespie
Lori Gillespie
3030 Activity Points

Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:10 PM

Hello,

I'm in a very similar situation. Everyone has had such great ideas. One things I would say is don't be afraid to ask the students what they usually do and where they should be. It's usually pretty apparent the students who love to help the teachers and you can ask them what they should be doing and where certain things are.

Uchenna Agbahiwe
Uchenna Agbahiwe
335 Activity Points

Sun Apr 19, 2015 5:36 PM

Hi everyone! I am a current student teacher, finishing my credential next month. I have only subbed for my master teachers, so I am a little nervous about subbing for other teachers and working with students that do not know me. My fear is having a class with poorly written lesson plans or no lesson plans! Thanks for the great suggestions! I agree is is important to have activities to keep students engaged and busy, especially while other students are working.

Amber Escobedo
Amber Escobedo
680 Activity Points

Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:48 PM

Thanks for the thread!

John Pacheco
John Pacheco
1215 Activity Points

Fri May 01, 2015 10:13 PM

I am in the same boat and would love to hear of resources I can use to have with me in case there aren't sub plans (or not very good sub plans). My guide teacher has recommended having some storys with you that will interest the students and still have educational value. Therefore, you can use these stories during a read aloud.

Michaela Baca
Michaela Baca
325 Activity Points

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