Thursday, November 29, 2007

What to Do as a Substitute Teacher

Do you have the desire to be a substitute teacher? Do you think substitute teaching is easy?

I was a substitute teacher for five years and worked for two school districts in St. Louis, Missouri. Substitute teaching can be rewarding; however, it is very challenging.

If you mess up, the school administrators might write a bad report to the school district's personnel office without saying anything to you. I will do my best to guide you to success.

On the days you teach, you should leave your home wearing your badge. Go to the office after you arrive.

The first thing you should do after you report is to read the instructions given to you by the secretary and classroom teacher. 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 day you should wear jeans, shorts or gym shoes is when you know you will 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 district map, download one from the district's web site. Make a trip to the schools you have not visited to avoid being late if you are asked to work there.

School officials do not like tardiness. 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.

You can follow these steps and still be darned. You must have support from the administration. I loved working with the students but I reached the point where I had to move on. Good luck!

Todd Hicks owns Skill Development Institute, an enterprise that provides a keyboard typing lesson and academic study guide. He has a communications degree and lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Todd has also written many articles and posted them on his web site.

1 Comment:

MKuehler said...

So in the beginning of my year as a substitute teacher, I always dressed nice and very professional. However, I would see the regular teachers in jeans everyday. So I felt that since they were allowed, I am too and no one complains.
Having a good class and well-behaved students is like a miracle sometimes.


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