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5 Tips and Tricks for Substitute Teachers

You finally got the call: The school needs a substitute teacher for one of their classes and they chose you. If you are new to substitute teaching, you might be nervous. It’s not easy to stand up in front of a class whose students don’t yet know you. While it may not be easy, substitute teaching is something that you will become comfortable with in time. The tips in this article will make it easier for you to ease into your new role. Good luck!

  1. Train Your Voice
    The way you use your voice is of the utmost importance when it comes to establishing authority and connecting with your class. The first words you say will set the tone for the rest of the session. You must make sure that your voice reflects the image you wish to present to your audience. The best way to make sure your voice is properly trained is to practice. Record yourself speaking. Think of the image you want to portray and practice speaking in a way that expresses that image. Play the recording back to see if the voice you use lines up with the impression that you want to give your new class. Practice makes perfect!
  2. Arrive Early
    You should arrive on campus at least half an hour earlier than you were asked. There are many different things that must be done before you actually start the class. These things can include: finding the school, finding a place to park, finding the room you are to teach in, locating the roll sheets, preparing lesson plans, learning school procedures, and mapping out your teaching strategy. You will not have time to do these things if you simply arrive on time.
  3. Take the Good with the Bad
    You are going to have good days, and you are going to have bad days. One day, you will walk into a classroom full of angelic students who want nothing but to drink from the fountain of wisdom that you embody. The next day, you may enter a classroom full of obnoxious and ill-mannered students who will stop at nothing to disrupt your lesson plan. Regardless of the class you have that day, just do the very best you can. Don’t allow any negative behavior to affect your mindset or attitude. If you have a rowdy, disobedient class, just remember that this too shall pass.
  4. Grade Homework
    Want to make a favorable impression on the absent teacher? Take the initiative to grade her homework assignments for her. Sure, this is not actually your job per se, but if they leave an answer key, this is something you can do to get the teacher to love you. This will raise your standing on the list of substitutes that are called when the teacher is absent again. This also helps the educational process by making things easier on the absent teacher.
  5. No. 2 Pencil and Red Pen
    Always make sure you carry a red pen. These two items are imperative for a substitute teacher. The pencil should be used for roll call and the red pen is used for grading, marking, important notes, etc. There’s a good chance these items won’t already be in the classroom when you arrive, so don’t assume that they will already be there.

Substitute teaching can be very challenging, but also very rewarding. Making sure that you are properly prepared will make your experience much easier.

Last Updated: April 14, 2015