5 Tips For a New Substitute

Students at desks listen to their substitute teacher

Ever considered substitute teaching, but don’t have a teaching license? Well now you can give it a shot with Tagg! Tagg is a new web app connecting everyday community members to the classrooms that need them. When you sign up to substitute teach through Tagg, you get access to hundreds of classrooms in your area. Whether you’re a mom, a recent college grad, a part-time employee, or a retiree, Tagg gives you the opportunity to give back to the next generation.

You may be thinking, “that’s great, but I don’t know how to be a subtitute.” Not to worry! We’ve got you covered with these 5 tips for a new sub.

Arrive Early

While many schools may tell you to arrive at the start of the school day, a good rule of thumb is to show up at least 15 minutes before class starts. First, you’ll want to head to the office and let them know you are there. Doing so will not only make you appear responsible, but it will give you a chance to find your classroom and become acquainted with it before students come in.

Dress Professionally

This tip may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how much this can impact your school day. As with showing up early, dressing appropriately and professionally tells the school administration that you care. It gives off the impression that you value your work and take it seriously. In addition, it provides a good example to students and communicates your authority.

Follow the Lesson Plan

You didn’t think you’d have to plan a lesson, did you? Luckily, most teachers leave a lesson plan for you. This document outlines the day and what the students should be working on. When given a lesson plan, it is important to follow it as closely as possible. Teachers write lesson plans because they have a timeline for what they teach. Sticking to the lesson and writing down what got done is always greatly appreciated.

Have a Back-Up Plan

While it is true that most days you will receive a lesson plan, sometimes a teacher didn’t have time to prepare one. In this situation you want to make sure that the students have something to do. You could have a few educational games in your back pocket or a list of writing assignments. Education World has a great list of resources including printable worksheets and activities. The most important thing is to keep your students engaged. The more down time you have, the more likely they are to misbehave.

Own the Classroom

Speaking of misbehavior… as a new substitute teacher, you will inevitably deal with difficult students. Whether they are trying to convince you that their teacher lets them do something or they simply won’t listen to your direction, it is critical to maintain your confidence. Remember, you are in charge.  If you have to, move students that are creating conflict, sit closer to students that aren’t paying attention, and in the worst cases, send students to the office.

As with anything new, the more you substitute, the more comfortable you’ll be. It’s all about practice and with these tips under your belt, you’ll be ready to take on any classroom! If you aren’t yet signed up to sub, contact us here and we’ll help you get set up as soon as possible.


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