Do you dread writing sub plans? I know Ido! Do you dread coming back from a day out of your classroom and reading the note from the sub about your students’ behavior? Yup, I did. I can’t help you with sub plans today but I can help you with ways to help your students behave better for a guest teacher in your classroom.
I have TWO easy tips for you!
Tip 1: Teach Expectations
At the start of a new school year, you take the time to explicitly teach students your expectations for their behavior in the classroom. I used to believe that teaching those expectations would be enough for no matter who was teaching in your classroom. However, after years of experience as a classroom teacher and some experience as a substitute teacher, I know this is rarely true. To resolve this issue, I began teaching specific expectations for behavior BEFORE a substitute would be in my classroom. When I know that I am going to be absent in the early part of the year, I incorporate “Substitute Expectations” in my lesson plans but you can start implementing this at any time of the school year.
I came up with 3 simple expectations for behavior when a substitute is in our classroom: Be Respectful, Be Helpful, and, Be Flexible.
I asked my students a question, “what do you do at home to prepare for when guests come to visit?”. We discussed how we usually clean the house and prepare to make our guest feel welcome. Then I asked, “how do you behave at home when a guest is visiting?”. My students discussed how their family expects them to be on their best behavior when people are visiting their home. This discussion leads to the point that we should do similar things when we have a substitute teacher since they are an important guest in our classroom.
Tip 2: Incentive and Reward