Friday, January 22, 2016

Worry Free Sub Days

Hi everyone! Queen of the Jungle here! At least for now. Next week I might be stuck in bed, sipping chicken soup and reaching for the tissue box.  It seems that colds and the flu are just starting to make their way around at our school. How about you?  Feeling a little under the weather?  Do you want to say no, even if you aren't feeling quite up to par? If so, I bet it's because you dred having to take a sick day and leave your class in the hands of a sub. Am I right?

Sub days are hard on everyone.  It's hard on the administration because they may have to be dealing with discipline problems coming from an ordinarily peaceful classroom.  It's hard on the students because they are thrown off their routine and no doubt missing you.  It is hard on you, because even though you are sick at home, you are worrying about your class and how the day is going. But, most of all, it is definately hard on the sub.  That fearless person who is standing in for you.  He or she is doing their best to teach an unfamiliar group of students, with lesson plans they just found, and deal with unexpected situations, in who knows what kind of conditions.  So, it would seem to be very important to make their day as easy as possible.  For everyone's sake!!

One thing I have always had prepared and left for my subs is a packet of clear instructions for the basic day to day functions of my classroom.  I leave helpful information such as: a class schedule, roster, seating charts, helpful school staff and emergency procedures. I also include information on classroom procedures, the discipline management system and where to find my lesson plans. I also think it is important to include a sub comment page, so the sub can leave notes on how the day went.  For a free copy of my comment page, click the picture below.

I have put together all the things I used into a product I call the Substitute Survival Kit.  It has an editable template that can be customized to any classroom.  I have several themes available in my TPT store.

I place all the updated Substitute Survival Kit pages in the brads of a pocket folder.  In the front pocket, I put several copies of the Sub Comment Page.  In the back pocket, I put a map of the school.  I place the folder in my Sub Tub

My sub tub is a big plastic file box where I store 2 or 3 days worth of lesson plans, activities, games, books and worksheets for my sub to use in case of an unexpected absence.  I even include some stickers, pencils and other small incentives for the students. This way, I know anyone can come right in and have an organized day with plenty of activities and work for the students.

As a special treat, I have a Sub Survival Box.  This is a pencil box that I put a few treats in to make the sub's day a little brighter.  I add one or two small snacks, a pack of gum, a box of Tic Tacs, and change for the coke machine.  This way they can help themselves to a snack and cold drink.  So many subs have told me this little box is such a nice surprise.

Being prepared for your sub makes one less thing you have to worry about if you end up having to take an unexpected sick day.  You can stay at home, curl up on the couch, rest and recouperate with less worry about what is going on at school.

Until Next Time,


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