Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I left home very early at 6:15am so I can be at work in time at 8:00am. I live 30 miles (Waldorf MD) from Washington DC and it usually takes me 45 minutes to one hour to drive in ordinary days. But this morning, it took me an hour to drive 3 miles, yup, believe it. DCPS is open and there are no announcements of a two-hour delay.

Heavy snow was coming down and the cars before me were driving less than 5km/h at a very very slow speed. The roads were slippery and it's really treacherous to drive now. I called my AP from his celfone, left a message in school's answering machine, then emailed all the administrators as soon as I got back home safely. This is an inevitable circumstance.

My first absence was in December when I woke up with fever and not feeling well, I still drove to school so I can give a substitute folder and prepare the class for the substitute teacher. Today is my second absence and the feeling of being out and leaving my class to a substitute teacher makes me worried that they are not receiving the same instruction that they get from me :(
Lesson learned: I need to be ready and I need to prepare my students in advance for emergency cases like this. I believe that as an educator I can help assure that my absence will still be constructive for both the substitute and my students. It is essential that learning continue even in my absence.
Here are 8 Tips For Helping Substitute Teachers that we should do as educators:
1. Early in the year, inform the students of your expectations of acceptable behavior when a substitute is present.
2. Agree with a nearby teacher to help the other's substitute when one of you is absent. The teacher can help the substitute get settled and become familiar with your procedures.
3. Develop a substitute notebook that includes all information he or she will need to make the experience successful. Be sure your notebook is clear and precise, avoiding special codes or abbreviations the substitute may not understand.
4. Don't forget to inform the substitute of the special needs of your students. For example, I have one student who really has to be reminded to go to the bathroom at 11:00am (otherwise he will pee in his pants) and another student has to be told which class to go next (I have buddies assigned to them too to help me remind them).
5. Your recent lesson plan binder should always be ready for emergency absences. I have mine updated weekly and placed on top of the teachers desk, always accessible for those who wants to see it (parents, administrators, etc), and it's also accessible from the class website.
6. If you know you will be absent several days, invite your substitute to visit your class beforehand to meet your class and to discuss your lesson plans and classroom procedures with you.
7. Ask your substitute to leave a note describing how the day went. It helps to remind the students ahead of time that you will be soliciting feedback from the substitute. You might express you appreciation to your students if the report is favorable.
8. If you have a substitute who does perform particularly well, drop him or her a note to express your appreciation. Let your principal know as well. I usually give a card made by my students with a discount coupon from Wendy's or Subway (Eat Fresh!).
Some innovative techie teaching tip: If you know ahead of time that you will be absent, make a videotape for the substitute to show at the beginning of the class. In this presentation you can give the students instructions on what you expect them to do that day. You might also videotape and save demonstrations or some lectures for the substitute to use.
Reference: Classroom Teacher's Survival Guide

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Thanks for the tips...what do you expect your sub to do with a Promethean board? Are they trained to use them?

Promethean Planet


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