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February 28, 2014 Your Substitute Teacher Folder Checklist By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Normally during this time of the year I would not be thinking about substitute teacher plans, especially with all of the school closings in my district due to snow days. But looking at my schedule, I realized that I needed to revisit my substitute plans. Every September, I create a substitute plans folder for anyone covering my classes. It is filled with information about my students. For the most part, when I know ahead of time that I am going to be absent, I am able to produce my lesson plan for that day. In the event of an emergency however, I have a folder containing emergency plans. My thoughts when I created this folder were not about planning my lesson for the substitute. Instead, this folder contains information about documenting routines that allow for a smooth transition while I am absent.

    Classroom management routines and procedures are not just for those times when I am present. They create a structure so that when I am not with my students, the class is able to exist as if I were. Most substitutes who cover my classes often tell me that my procedures are very easy to follow. This helps to make the day run smoother. Now I am not going to say that my students are perfect angels while I am out — they’re not. I do have some students who will try to take advantage of the situation. By having the routines laid out for the substitute, you can help to alleviate that likelihood.


    Creating a “Sub” Folder

    My sub folder can be found in the organizer on my desk. It is clearly labeled R. Stewart, Sub. Plans and contains the following:

    • Lesson plans for the day

    • Routines and procedures — You will need to include even the simplest of routines, from time schedule, class transition times, bathroom procedures, and more. Be sure to note procedures for fire drills, lockdowns, and other emergencies that might occur. 

    • Seating chart — Essential! There will be some students who will think that it is perfectly fine to change their seats and cause havoc. A seating chart eliminates this possibility. If you can, include a picture of each student. My district has a grading program that allows teachers to create a seating chart by class.

    • List of resources/materials — This is needed for the students to complete the assignments for the day. You might want to include a fun activity to change things up. The activity can be given at the discretion of the sub.

    • Substitute feedback form — This is extremely beneficial. (I have included a sample form.) It reinforces the relationship between the teacher and the sub. It gives you some insight as to how the students behaved during your absence and what needs to be tweaked for the future to avoid mishaps.

    Pearls of Wisdom — Remember to let your "buddy" teacher know where to find your sub information in your classroom. This will help to prevent any confusion with the plans that you have prepared for your class.


    Do you have any ideas that work your class during your absence? Please share!



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