I honestly can’t believe that the month of September is finally over. It went by so fast! On the bright side it’s finally October which means fall decorating and Halloween!🎃
Today I want to write some tips for any new substitute teachers who are needing any extra help.
I’m currently on my third year of being a substitute teacher. I know that isn’t a lot of experience, but it’s quite amazing what you can learn in such a short time.
Here are some tips that I’ve learned and I hope they can help you out!
Setting the Mood
From the moment you step into the room the students are analyzing you. They want to see if you’re going to be a strict substitute or a pushover.
I always begin by instructing the students to have a seat and stay quiet.
I make sure to always introduce myself whether I do a full day or half day. When I introduce myself I am not Ashley, I am Ms.Barron.
I explain to them of what I tolerate and don’t. I make sure they completely understand the consequences of misbehaving. Also, a lot of students believe that we as substitute teachers don’t have a lot of power. Make sure to let them know that you were informed by their teacher that you are allowed to send students to the principals office. Even if you weren’t told or allowed it always works with my students.
I cannot emphasize how important it is to set the mood at the beginning of class. Setting the mood is by far the most important tip I can give. It will make the rest of your day so much easier if you set the mood at the beginning of class.
This is probably my favorite tip and has made my day so much easier.
I usually go to the Dollar Tree and spend no more than ten dollars on knick knacks. I don’t buy individual toys because that would be crazy expensive and not everyone would be able to receive a prize. I usually buy packets of little prizes similar to Peter Piper Pizza or Chuck-e-Cheeses prizes.
Spending ten dollars so your kiddos can behave is totally worth it. Ten dollars worth of prizes will usually last you a good while. I’ve also gone to target and purchased sixty mini erasers for only one dollar, which is amazing!
I always explain to the students the rules in order to be able to win a prize. If I have to call on them more than three times they will not be able to win a prize at the end of the day.
For reference, I try not to give the Pre-Kinder and Kindergarteners anything that they can eat or choke on, like the mini erasers or play-doh. I try to give them pencils or stickers for safety reasons.
Also, try not to give candy away as prizes mostly because some students can be allergic to certain ingredients in the candy or they’re just not allowed to eat certain foods.
It is always best to be safe then sorry!
Don’t have unrealistic expectations
Now this is a tip that took me a while to figure out. At the beginning I always had unrealistic expectations. I expected my kindergarteners/first graders to be completely quiet. Which is nice in a perfect world, but far from reality.
I’ve come to realize that some of my classes will never be completely quiet. We might have quiet moments here and there, but for the most part, expect the unexpected.
Overall having unrealistic expectations just makes it stressful for yourself, and for the class.
Have a middle ground
It is important to have a middle ground when being a substitute teacher. You don’t want to be that overly-strict substitute, but at the same time you also don’t want to be that pushover substitute.
Being a substitute teacher has been a crazy roller coaster. I can definitely say that I’ve come to really appreciate what teachers do and say that their job is not easy!
I hope these couple of tips were helpful to any newbie substitute teachers and if you’re not a substitute teacher but are considering wanting to become one I highly recommend it!
It is a great job for students, parents and pretty much anyone with an unpredictable schedule. I definitely love the freedom this job has given me. As a substitute teacher, you have the option of going into work whenever you want, so you pretty much make your own schedule!
It’s great for me since I’m currently a student at a University and sometimes I have exams that I have to study way ahead of time. If I need extra time for my classes I just won’t go in, but if I have free time I can schedule in work days whenever I want.
If you like kids you’ll definitely have a great time!
I hope you have a great weekend and make it a good one!
-Ashley N. Barron
Prizes I have used:
–Fun Express Mini Eraser Assortment Novelty (500 Pieces) : $9.30 plus shipping and handling.
– Assorted Colorful Kids Pencils (144 pack): 14.75 plus shipping and handling