Being a substitute teacher is no easy task! You can potentially go to a different school and teach different class everyday—trying to learn the school as you go. I commend you for your flexibility! I have written a few tips that may make your substitute experience a bit smoother next time.
#1: Ask questions. Ask questions to two people: your company's supervisor and your school placement's supervisor. Be sure to get as much information as you can when you accept your assignment, so that you can have some context when you walk in. When you arrive at your assignment for the day, ask questions to the supervisor. Have him/her explain the context of the class and highlight need-to-knows. The more information you know, the better off you will be.
#2: Introduce yourself--to everyone! Be sure to introduce yourself to staff members--they can offer you a great deal of support throughout the day. Most important, introduce yourself to students and try to get to know them the best that you can.
#3: Actively engage in teaching. I know it can be difficult trying to teach a lesson with which you are unfamiliar, but engage yourself in teaching as much as possible, Review the lesson and determine how you will execute it. Actively move around the classroom and monitor students.
#4: Implement accountability measures. As a substitute, it is often difficult to hold students accountable, especially if since you don't have access to all of the systems in place at the school. To create a sense of accountability, be sure to collect student work, use rosters to take notes on students, and leave a note for the teacher/administrator.
#5: Leave feedback! Just as I mentioned in my previous blog, be sure to leave feedback before you go! Believe it or not, we use that feedback to help improve substitute teachers' experiences in our schools. We want both you and our students to have a good experiences when their regular teacher is out for the day.
***Pro-tip: Respect the teaching space! This is always something that I hear from teachers, and have even experienced myself as a teacher, Please respect the teacher's space. Avoid allowing students to go into cabinets, find items (supplies, etc) in the teacher's desk, or handing out treats that may be stored away.***
I hope you have found these tips helpful! As a teacher and administrator, these are always characteristics of our best substitute teachers who have the best experiences. If you want help thinking of questions to ask when you arrive at your assignment, check out last week's blog based on the opposite perspective.