Guidelines for Substitute Teachers

Do you have the desire to be a substitute teacher? Do you think substitute teaching is easy? Substitute teaching can be rewarding; however, it is very challenging. If you mess up, the school administrators might submit a bad report about you to the school district’s personnel office. I will discuss the guidelines you should follow to succeed.

On the days you teach, do not leave home without wearing your substitute teacher’s badge. Go to the office after you arrive at the school where you are scheduled to teach.

The first thing you should do after you sign in is read your instructions. At the end of the day, turn in your keys and ask if you can come back the next day.

Dress professionally to gain respect from the teachers, administrators and students. Wear a collared shirt, slacks and dress shoes. The only time you should wear jeans, shorts or gym shoes is when you teach gym.

Follow the school district policies and the policies of the school where you teach. Use your free time to read the safety procedures and other information posted in your classroom.

It helps to know where every school in your district is located. If the district does not give you a map, download one from the district’s web site.

School officials do not like tardiness. Make a trip to the schools you have not visited.

Keep in mind how long it takes to reach each school. You could get out of bed by 5:30 in the morning to give yourself more time if you are called between 6:30 and 7:00 and asked to report to a school by 7:30.

If you ride the bus and know you do not have enough time to report to a particular school when you suddenly receive a call in the morning, let the caller know you cannot accept the request. It is better to lose a day of pay than your job.

If students prepare to engage in a physical fight, take them to the hall and close the door. Students are much less likely to fight away from an audience.

Never step between people who are throwing punches or kicks. Call the office or school security. Let a student get help.

It helps to know the names of students who misbehave. Look at the seating chart and student identification list on your desk.

Do not eat in the classroom if the school has a teacher’s lounge and you have a scheduled lunch break. If you must take a nap, do it on your free time in the classroom or restroom.

Sleeping in the lounge will make you look bad and upset the school officials. If you do not have a class during a particular hour and you are unsure about what to do, call the office.

Your biggest challenge is to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning while not being draconian. Do not give disruptive students more than one warning.

If the class is out of hand and a student asks to get help, you must deny permission to leave and immediately get tough with the class. I once let a girl who wanted to get help leave.

She came back with the principal. The principal criticized me for not being able to handle students.

Your room must be kept clean. If an administrator comes and sees clothes on the floor, your life is over.

Follow these guidelines to be a successful substitute teacher!