Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Note to Teachers

I am in the position where I can view the classroom from a visitor's eye - as a guest teacher (commonly referred to as a substitute).  Over the years, I have come up with a list of suggestions (pleas, really) for classroom teachers.  And I know of what I speak - I am a teacher myself.  I am simply a "homeless" one at this point.

If you are going to have a substitute in your room...please:

1.  These people are not substitutes.  They are guest-teachers.  They are doing your job for the day (or week, or three-month maternity leave).  They deserve the respect of being called guest-teacher.  Not sub.

2.  When you see them in the hallways, don't ask them, "Who are you today?"  They are themselves - everyday.  They are not morphing into the teacher for whom they are guest-teaching.  My standard (read "cranky") answer to that is, "I am Mindi (everyday).  I am guest-teaching in Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So's room."  Nothing makes a guest-teacher feel lower than not being called by their own name.

3.  Overplan.  Have more plans than what the school day can hold.  You never know when the Promethian Board won't come on, or the school will have a fire drill, or the sub can't find the materials for science.  Give them other options from which to choose.  The worst thing that can happen is that the guest-teacher has to come up with something for the kids to do.  That is your job.  It is their job to make sure that it gets done.

4.   Leave a class list and a seating chart, for pity's sake!!

5.  Leave detailed instructions on how to call the office and/or the teacher next door.

6.  Leave them an hour-by-hour schedule of your day.  They need to know if they have time to use the restroom between classes or if they have a break at some point during the day.

7.  Leave them a list of students with allergies or behavior/medical problems.  This is necessary.  Really.

8.  Leave them a map of the school with pertinent places (office, restrooms, lounge, playground, fire exit) highlighted.  It is a courtesy, and a greatly appreciated one.

9.  Don't leave them a movie to watch unless it is part of your actual curriculum.  Kids choose this time to misbehave - believe me.  If you do leave a movie, provide an assignment to go along with it so that the students are forced to pay attention.

10.  Leave out the materials that the guest-teacher will need in nice, neat piles.  Don't make them take their eyes off the class so they can hunt for something you could have left out for them.

11.  If at all possible, schedule tests for the days that the guest-teacher is there.  This makes their job slightly easier.  You can even leave an answer key and I bet they will grade them for you!

12.  If they did a good job for you, request them again.  They do not have job security like you do.  They get jobs based on their performance.  Many of them are licensed teachers (like me).

That's all, folks!


1 comment:

Loren St. Peter said...

Make sure all procedure policies are up to date and can be followed by a guest teacher. Nothing like calling a lock down and the guest teacher has no means of locking down anything let alone the correct "new" procedure. :)