Tip 1: Show Staff Areas
Substitutes have reported going to schools where they weren’t even shown where the staff bathroom is! Subs appreciate seeing where to use the restroom, where they can heat up their lunch, and where to get materials for prep work that a teacher may have left for them to accomplish.
Tip 2: Give a Heads-up on Drills
While it is important to check the readiness of staff and students by holding unannounced emergency drills, this can be a particularly difficult experience for a sub. Subs appreciate a heads up and brief review of emergency procedures.
Tip 3: Treat Them as Staff in Front of Students
Subs share that classes were more respectful and attentive when an administrator or staff member introduced them to the class, by name, as the teacher for the day. Subs also share that it helps when staff, such as aides, refer to them by name rather than “the sub” when speaking to students.
Tip 4: Have Detailed Lesson Plans Appropriate to Time Frames
Subs understand that many times they are needed due to an emergency absence, which requires more flexibility with plans. However, when teachers have a scheduled absence, subs appreciate lesson plans that are detailed and that provide students with an appropriate amount of work for the timeframe.
As one sub shared, “I was in a class where students were given one task for the entire hour. Most finished in a few minutes, and then it was pandemonium.” Subs are willing and happy to facilitate more detailed lessons.
Tip 5: Foster Connections with Other Staff
Subs share that it can be lonely going into new schools and not having any connection with other staff. Subs appreciate being introduced to teachers near the classroom they are in and having staff members check in during the day. Subs feel hesitant to ask for even basic help when they don’t know anyone they can talk to.