Great teachers are known for giving every ounce of energy they have to make sure their work is of the highest standards of excellence. Sometimes, however, this outstanding output of mental and physical fuselage can come with a cost. When teachers are exhausted, the weather shifts, students come to school with colds, and flu season starts, there’s a chance a teacher will get sick. And it will happen suddenly.
Then there are conferences, meetings, and even emergencies that can force the most dutiful teacher away from the classroom with little warning.
That’s why having an Emergency Substitute Teacher Kit ready will ensure the teacher’s classes will stay on task and not miss a beat with his or her absence.
Here are the must-haves in your kit to help the guest educator continue your model of excellence. A binder filled with all of the following will be an ideal way to share all the need-to-know information with the substitute.
- Introduction Letter
First and foremost, welcome the guest teacher into your classroom and thank them upfront. You want to give them a sense of warmth and confidence as they enter this new teaching situation. The letter should let them know where to look for all important information, office phone number, emergency exit plans, names and room numbers of other teachers who can help, your daily schedule, and contact information so they can reach you if needed. (They probably won’t, but it’s helpful to know you are there if they need you.)
- Seating Chart
Keep an updated seating chart for all your classes in the binder. This will allow the substitute to take charge of the class and use students’ names to help keep them on task and accountable. It will also help with attendance. Substitutes have to move quickly and having this chart will make the day more easy to navigate.
Here is where you can leave the assignment and instructions for the day’s lesson. You may have a modified version of the one you were planning, to allow for the substitute teacher to collect work, keeping students mindful of their accountability. This is also the place for “emergency lesson plans” in case you will be out longer than expected. These are general stand alone lessons and assignments that can be implemented by an educator and still reinforce skills you’ve been teaching your students throughout the year.
- Incident Report Sheet
You hope your students will be wonderful for whomever is teaching, but just in case, make sure to leave incident report sheets so the substitute teacher feels comfortable with any discipline that needs to happen.
- Student Stories
For each class, it’s helpful to have a short summary or biography for each student. This is a way to alert your guest educator to any important facts or warnings traits about an individual student. It can be about their attention struggles, how they can tend to get “chatty”, or how they are conscientious and would make a great helper. It’s up to you. Keep the notes on students as constructive and neutral as possible.
- End of the Day Feedback Sheet
This final piece of the kit will ultimately be the most useful to you when you return to the classroom. This is place for the substitute teacher to fill you in on everything that happened during the day. It can allow them to rate your classes’ overall behavior and focus on the task assigned, celebrate the students who went above and beyond, and update you on the progress made on the classwork. This is their chance to answer your initial welcome letter from the beginning of the kit, and is a crucial piece of dialogue between and your substitute. Remember, you’re a team and this is where they can breakdown the action you missed.
What do you like to leave for your substitute teachers?