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msusong

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Posts: 122
Reply with quote  #1 

“Effective teachers are PROACTIVE.”

On pages 242-247, a detailed description of a substitute teacher handbook is given. What is one item you include in your sub handbook that you have found to be the most valuable to minimize student disruption? Why? Please describe in detail.

If you have not created a substitute handbook before, what is one item you want to make sure is included and why?  Please describe in detail.


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Maggie Susong
ATPE Member Engagement Coordinator
ktymniak

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Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #2 
A STUDENT SEATING CHART! 

This chart also contains notations concerning student helpers, peer tutors, and chatting issues.  These notations are not secret.  I show each student the seating chart with the information written about them.  If you don't want to be listed as a Chatty Cathy, stop being chatty.

Just the ability to call a student by name rather than saying "Hey you," help the substitute to make connections with the students on both a personal and professional level.  This relationship heads off many discipline issues and also enables the substitute to give me names when reporting any issues.

I am writing up many of my procedures this summer in order to add them to my substitute folder. (I got that idea from an earlier post during this book study!) I feel this will really help the substitute to understand how the classroom works.  I teach many students for four years, and they become used to my procedures.  When a substitute is has different ideas (because I haven't let him or her know differently), this causes problems.

I have had many great substitutes, but I teach upper level French in high school and it is very rare that a substitute is able to teach my class.  I am rarely absent unexpectedly, (no children still at home), but I still write the daily schedule for each level on the schedule board before I leave each day - just in case! 

Before my first planned absence, I discuss the procedure for class without me with each class.  (My birthday is October is usually the first one.)

1. Class comes in and begins bellwork.
2. When bell rings, class stops working, and silently gives their attention to the substitute.
3. Class assistants introduce themselves to the substitute and let them know that after roll is taken, the assistant can explain the assignments and answer any questions the substitute may have about them.
4. roll is taken.
5. class gets to work.

Bottom line, the assignments are on the board. You know what you are supposed to do. I expect it done. Period.  I don't care if the substitute doesn't understand it or even tells you, you don't have to do it.  I take up a piece of written work every time I am out and a take a grade on this every time.  Late work is not accepted and daily grade passes cannot be used. No exceptions.

This sounds regimented and it is, but in the classroom environment, I often have classes with mixed levels (French 3 and 4, or 4 and 5), we have French music playing (run by students), there is a seating section on the floor with pillows, there is a standing work section of four podiums, personal snacks and beverages are allowed, there is a drawer filled with sweaters and blankets, there is a student book cabinet, and students sign themselves in and out to go to the restroom.

The students have earned these privileges and handle them appropriately, but it is a different atmosphere for high school, and can lead to confusion for a substitute who is not used to these procedures.  Which is why I need to write them up nicely this summer.


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Karen Tymniak
   "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur."

   "One only sees well with the heart."
        Antoine de Saint-Exupery
OnaBethDay

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Posts: 30
Reply with quote  #3 
Yes, a seating chart is a must! I have also included pictures, I feel this helps the sub tremendously! The most import is the schedule and emergency procedures. Then of course, procedures, procedures, procedures!
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Ona Beth Day 
lmarvels

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #4 
I am also going to say that a seating chart is a must for the sub. Before teaching high school I was the sub and students that gave me a hard time would tell me a fib as to what their names were for me to leave the teacher. 


Quote:
Originally Posted by ktymniak
A STUDENT SEATING CHART! 

This chart also contains notations concerning student helpers, peer tutors, and chatting issues.  These notations are not secret.  I show each student the seating chart with the information written about them.  If you don't want to be listed as a Chatty Cathy, stop being chatty.

Just the ability to call a student by name rather than saying "Hey you," help the substitute to make connections with the students on both a personal and professional level.  This relationship heads off many discipline issues and also enables the substitute to give me names when reporting any issues.

I am writing up many of my procedures this summer in order to add them to my substitute folder. (I got that idea from an earlier post during this book study!) I feel this will really help the substitute to understand how the classroom works.  I teach many students for four years, and they become used to my procedures.  When a substitute is has different ideas (because I haven't let him or her know differently), this causes problems.

I have had many great substitutes, but I teach upper level French in high school and it is very rare that a substitute is able to teach my class.  I am rarely absent unexpectedly, (no children still at home), but I still write the daily schedule for each level on the schedule board before I leave each day - just in case! 

Before my first planned absence, I discuss the procedure for class without me with each class.  (My birthday is October is usually the first one.)

1. Class comes in and begins bellwork.
2. When bell rings, class stops working, and silently gives their attention to the substitute.
3. Class assistants introduce themselves to the substitute and let them know that after roll is taken, the assistant can explain the assignments and answer any questions the substitute may have about them.
4. roll is taken.
5. class gets to work.

Bottom line, the assignments are on the board. You know what you are supposed to do. I expect it done. Period.  I don't care if the substitute doesn't understand it or even tells you, you don't have to do it.  I take up a piece of written work every time I am out and a take a grade on this every time.  Late work is not accepted and daily grade passes cannot be used. No exceptions.

This sounds regimented and it is, but in the classroom environment, I often have classes with mixed levels (French 3 and 4, or 4 and 5), we have French music playing (run by students), there is a seating section on the floor with pillows, there is a standing work section of four podiums, personal snacks and beverages are allowed, there is a drawer filled with sweaters and blankets, there is a student book cabinet, and students sign themselves in and out to go to the restroom.

The students have earned these privileges and handle them appropriately, but it is a different atmosphere for high school, and can lead to confusion for a substitute who is not used to these procedures.  Which is why I need to write them up nicely this summer.

lmarvels

Registered:
Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #5 

Confucius once said,” Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” I do not want to set my substitute teacher up for failure therefore I make sure I have a binder with everything he/she may need. Since my schedule is posted outside of my classroom door and included in the binder … I deem the seating chart the most important piece of information in the binder. I make certain it is up to date and I usually print the seating chart with each student’s picture. I also leave notes on the seating chart for the sub to be able to see (for example: this student is allergic to peanuts or this student has access to GCS for additional help).

The seating chart allows the substitute to check attendance easier. Also, if someone is a behavior problem the substitute is able to easily identify the student and do not have to depend on the student to tell their name. 
theteach

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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #6 
I have not had such an organized Substitute Teacher Handbook in the past, but after reading this section I am so going to be more organized!!!  If not for me, or for my sub. 
In the past, I thought I was so cool using a folder that had the following items: welcome letter, roster, schedule, detention slip and/or office referral, a cute premade Sub Notes page, and a multitude of assignments.

NOW, I plan to do all of the information provided on the pages in a BINDER that the sub can see easily and be able to understand what is expected of my students so that she can be ME for the day!  But 2 of the most important aspects that I want to make sure I include are below.

I think that I am going to include a roster WITH pictures so that the sub can easily identify the students.  I had a past co-worker take pictures of all students the first day of school and their names. She then created a roster of the students so that she knew all of the students by face and name.  I wanted to do it this year in my new district, but I failed to do it. I think I will make sure to incorporate this next year and for any time a new student comes into the classroom.  I have never trusted seating charts as I do move students quite frequently and I fail to update the seating charts.

The other item that is a MUST is providing the slide show of the procedures so that the students won't take advantage of the sub and the sub can have a great day and understands what is expected of my students.

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Angela R Ritter
4th Grade Writing Teacher
mmlillie

Registered:
Posts: 44
Reply with quote  #7 
At our school the names are on the students' desks already, clearly visibly to any teacher or substitute, so that's one thing I don't put in the sub folder.  However, after reading this book, I've come to understand just how critical it is to provide the substitute with the procedures that the kiddos have to follow... from the morning routine through dismissal (the major ones that they'll actually be likely to use, not the entire list of procedures). That way she/he knows what to expect and what the students are expected to do.  Another important procedure I'll highlight in some way is the "quiet, I need your attention" signal(s) to which the students respond.  As a past sub myself, it's very frustrating to come into a class and have to try different ones until I find one that works on that particular class.
ehowe

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Posts: 83
Reply with quote  #8 
Our district provides sub folders for each class that include school wide procedures (ie evacuation plans, etc) and medical information for children with food allergies and asthma.
My grade level is unique in that we have two adults in the classroom, so a sub is never alone. Generally the IA takes on the teacher's role when I am absent. For a planned absence, I leave a schedule and plans with the IA, who is already completely familiar with our procedures and routines.
I really like the sub binder idea, and play on adding that this year. This will help a sub familiarize herself with what is going on in the room and give some guidance as to how to help the class be successful for the day. I also plan to include some generic small group games that could be used during center time.
MJML220

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Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #9 
I include a page in my Substitute Folder titled "Substitute Notes" that is provided for the substitute to make notes  for me to read.  It is divided up into sections for each class since I teach 7 periods.  Sometimes when I return there is nothing written, but many times they have written who had to leave the room, how far they may have gotten in their work, and any problems that may have come up.  I've also received notes from them on how much they liked the form since it's all set up especially for my classes.  If I'm gone for more than one day, there are several pages so they may use one for each day.


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Melissa
raclark

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Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #10 
I have had a sub folder that included many of the things discussed here.  My sub folder always included the roster, referral slips, a schedule and specific information about the day's activities.  I have also created a very detailed list of instructions about how to run the technology in the room.

I will now create a sub notebook and include labeled dividers.  I believe it will make it easier for the sub to find information and I will also include the specific procedures we are using in the classroom.  That is something I have not included in the past and see that it could be very helpful.
sklearner2011

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Posts: 94
Reply with quote  #11 

Since I tutor and substitute, I have not had the need to create lesson plans for a substitute teacher.  A number one priority for a substitute handbook (in my opinion) is detailed lesson plans.  The plans would include extra assignments that tie in with each subject in case the lesson is finished faster than anticipated.  It’s always better to have too much to do (and not get finished) than come up short.  I would also note what students are to do should they finish work early.

  • Start off with a bell ringer for the students, so the substitute teacher has time to get a feel for the day and to take roll and lunch choices.
  • Include schedule noting any specials for the day such as music, computer, or P.E., recess (if any), and teacher planning period. 
  • Bathroom policy.   Students are not generally allowed to leave classroom during a teacher lesson, but may go during others times as deemed appropriate by class policy.  This will cut down on students leaving class unnecessarily. 
  • Lesson plan includes each subject being taught with start/end time along with all necessary materials laid out nearby.  State the objective being taught and what page to go to in the teacher guide.  (Copies of worksheets run and left nearby.)
  • If some of the supplies are located in another part of the classroom, be explicit about where the supplies are. (Or have a student aid’s name noted in the plans to help with classroom materials and other procedures.)
  • I find that dismissal can be bit hectic.  Be sure and include dismissal procedures and let the substitute teacher know how much time to take to clean up at end of day.  It will likely take a bit longer than usual.   It’s important that students are lined up and walked outside on time for dismissal.  This prevents a big back log of cars waiting to pick up their child.
  • Two star students to go to for questions and locating items in the class. 
  • Note those who may need extra help with learning.
  • And don’t forget:  seating chart, phone list, emergency plan, stickers for good behavior.

When I substitute teach, I tell my students that their teacher has invited me to fill in for him/her that day.

Most important part of handbook would be the detailed lesson plans with seating chart running a close second.

The less left to chance the more learning that can take place and disruptions are hopefully minimized.  If the teacher leaves good lesson plans with details for what is being taught, the students understand that this is not a day off but a day of learning.  This makes for a better day not only for the substitute teacher but the students as well.

 

TXnature1

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Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #12 
I teach 1st grade so detailed lesson plans are so important. I include a schedule, lesson plans, and procedures all in 1 document and then put everything the sub will need lined up sequentially in my 'Sub Survival Bin'.
The format for my sub plans includes: 
Welcome and thank you
Morning Procedures
Names of helpful students
Time-  Activity:     duration of activity
Explanation of activity
Procedures used before, during, or after
Time-  Activity:     duration of activity
Explanation of activity
Procedures used before, during, or after
(repeat as necessary)
Dismissal Procedures

This keeps the sub informed and also keeps them from having to flip back and forth. Many subs have told me they like subbing in my classroom because it was organized, had easy to follow the plans, and all 'right there'. 

I would say the most important part is the schedule and procedures - then the detailed lesson plans. Not all of the lesson plans will be followed (I try to leave plenty to do with extras) but ALL of the schedule and procedures will most likely be used and help the sub to have a great day.

I really like the idea of having a tabbed binder - I will definitely add that to my 'Sub Survival Bin'. 
I also love the saying in the 'You Are THE Teacher' box - as any good teacher I 'borrow' [idea] any good idea I think will help me or my kiddos - so I will add that to the welcome part of my sub plans. Thanks!

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sdcatoe

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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #13 
For my sub folder, I find it helpful to have several things.
    1. seating chart
    2. list per class period of any student with medical information with pictures (diabetic, epilepsy, etc.) or students that are needing extra monitoring
    3. letter to the sub in regards to the day and who the other coach will be for each class period in the gym as well as 2 students that are helpers for the class periods
    4.  school map 
    5. list of procedures
    6. map with emergency designations

    7.  I do have some referrals in the folder but they have not needed to use them.  (Most of the referrals for our district are online.)

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StephC.
22209

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Posts: 65
Reply with quote  #14 
The school I taught at developed a sub folder policy with a list of mandatory items to include in it. Our sub folders were actually checked at the beginning of each school year to make sure we were "sub ready." It was really helpful to have these folders set up ahead of time and equipped with extra emergency assignments for the kiddos. I don't remember exactly what had to go in them, but it seemed like it was mostly the same at this book recommended.

The item that I found to be most helpful within these binders was the classroom procedures page. I felt like that conveyed explicitly to any substitute who stepped into the classroom, exactly what my expectations were for the students and how I ran my classroom. I felt like that was really important, as each teacher does things a little differently within his/her own classroom. When I was a sub myself, I would have loved to have a page like this for every classroom that I subbed in! Even basic things like lining up the students, elicited responses like, "That's not the way our teacher does it" (sometimes even after multiple spiels about how things were going to be run a little different since there teacher wasn't there). As a teacher, I felt like writing out my procedures for the subs helped them to feel a little more comfortable stepping in and taking over for the day(s). I wrote down everything from how to line the kids up to how they request bathroom breaks to what to do with early finishers to how I disciplined students. I hoped knowing those procedures up front and being able to refer to them throughout the day would help the substitute's day to run as smoothly as possible. I also provided a list of students they could ask for help or for further information if a procedure did not make sense. I wanted his/her day to be as easy as possible because a smooth day for the sub usually meant a smooth day for the kids and a smooth return for me!
BurntOrangeStrong

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Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #15 
While I believe that leaving the procedures and a seating chart with pictures is supremely helpful for a substitute to have going into a foreign classroom, there is something that I believe to be even more important: Lesson plans and work!  Students who have been trained the procedures and who've you cultivated a relationship of mutual respect with are much more likely to respect the classroom procedures and rules in your absence.  Rather, students should understand that they are expected to work hard with 100% effort regardless of the adult present.  That isn't possible without work and a detailed lesson plan on how to deliver the instructions and lay-out the assignment.  I also understand that some students work faster than others so I always leave a little extra in case some students finish early.  Once students get busy and stay busy with the work of the day then problems with behavior tend to wane.  This frees the substitute to walk the classroom and assist students when needed rather than dealing with putting out small fires.

Fortunately, I work with an excellent math team and we are all friends.  Our rooms are close together, we have a planning period together each day, and we see each other in the hallways during passing periods.  So in addition to leaving work and lesson plans, I also leave a note letting the substitute know which teachers close by can help if they have any issues or require any assistance.  My team will also check in with the substitute regularly throughout the day to make sure they are doing ok.
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