How to Prepare as a Substitute Teacher

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So you’ve decided to be a substitute teacher, congratulations! As one of the most difficult jobs in education, it’s also one of the most important. Substitute teachers are necessary for every school across the country almost every day, and it’s vital that these educators are prepared for the job ahead.


It’s more than likely that you’ve attended some form of formal training in order to be qualified as a substitute teacher, although some schools don’t require any training at all. No matter the case, it’s important to be prepared for any job, especially one dealing with educating children and young adults. Take it upon yourself to schedule a short meeting with the principle as a way to introduce yourself. If this isn’t possible, try to obtain a copy of the school’s student handbook. This will give you a solid understanding of what the school expects from their students and teachers.

If the school has a substitute teacher policy, familiarize yourself with it. Carry this handbook with you and refer to it whenever necessary. Use it as a key to guide you through your first day as a substitute teacher.

Your First Day

Like any first day on the job, you should arrive early enough to prepare before any student arrives. After checking in at the appropriate place, familiarize yourself with the school. Locate the nurse’s office. Introduce yourself to the teachers in nearby classrooms. They may be able to give you additional tips specific to your students or the school in general.

You’re going to have some characters in your classroom, and the best way to handle these students is to understand how the classroom operates. During the first period of class, establish yourself as an authority figure in the classroom to gain respect from the loudest of young students. Stick to the lesson plan that the teacher provided for you, and make sure not to deviate from the directions.

It’s important to remain strict and professional during the day. Understand the importance of staying on task to regulate the flow of the classroom and the participation from the students. Once you’ve established yourself as an effective substitute teacher, you’ll be able to enjoy the thrills of teaching!

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