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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tips for Substitute Teaching: Part 2!

Here in Knoxville we have just finished the 3rd week of school!  It's been a whirlwind! I have learned so much and along the way and I've come up with a few more Tips for Substitute Teaching!  (See my previous list of tips here.)

1.  Have business cards!  You can get business cards so cheaply nowadays...and you must do it! Having business cards will ASSUREDLY improve your livelihood. Not only does it set you apart professionally, it provides a direct line of communication between the school and yourself.  After just a few days of subbing I was being referred for positions and receiving calls directly from the school to take a position instead of being called for/searching through random available positions. If you love the school and want to sub there again, leave a business card with the sub coordinator, with your notes to the classroom teacher you subbed for, any other teachers you meet or compliment your subbing skills, and the principal if you get a chance to meet her or him. 

I purchased mine through Vistaprint with a pre-designed template.

I splurged for a back (albiet b&w).  I wanted to show my passion for education!

2.  Utilize on-line resources!  More often than not, I walked into classrooms with no lesson plans.  If this happens to you, don't let the class devolve into chaos!  Come up with a plan by searching the web.  Pinterest is a MUST-HAVE for teachers.  A quick search of grade level and subject will give you hundreds of ideas!  Also check out TeachersPayTeachers! Enter any subject into the search bar and then you can filter responses on the left-hand part of the screen for grade level and price...there are plenty of FREE resources!  If there are no sub plans the school should be happy to make copies for you!

3.  Dress business professional.  This is particularly important while substitute teaching in Jr. High and High School.  Dress professionally and you will be taken more seriously and given more respect.  Take yourself seriously and the students will follow suit! This will also set you apart in the eyes of administrators and get you more jobs. Caveat...I wear business professional with tennis shoes because being on my feet all day for years has given me planter fasciitis and you need to...  

4.  Circle the room like a vulture.  Constant movement around the room will keep the students on their toes and on task.  Linger next to the student(s) that are goofing off and they will be instantly calmer.  Another great option is to use those goofy students (I do love me a class clown! As long as there is no disrespect...) as your helper.  They want attention so give them positive attention and a place to channel their energy.  

5.  Reflect.  Before I started subbing I knew there were going to be some tough days and I would need to figure out what I could learn from these tough days in order to be a better teacher. For this reason, I made sure to have a dedicated reflection journal ready to go and with me at all times! Before, during, and after my sub jobs I reflected habitually. Don't just run out of the building after a tough day and never think about it again!  Reflect and think about what you would do differently next time.  When next time rolls around you WILL have a better day.  This journal is also a great place to write down the names of all the teachers and staff that you meet for when you come back to that school next time!  

6. Don't complain.  There are going to be tough days.  Even if you've had a nightmare day, DON'T take to social media to vent your frustrations. DON'T partake in complaining about the students even if it's another teacher who started the conversation!  And DON'T spend all night complaining to those around you.  If you can't help but do one or all of the above, DON'T take a job at that school again!  It's not worth your frustration and will not help you get more jobs if you are miserable and have nothing nice to say about the experience. Staying positive will help you prepare for whatever comes next.  You can do it!

7.  Keep an excel sheets of your jobs.  Accounting departments make mistakes.  Make sure you keep track of the days you work, where you work, and the pay for that day so that you have all the info you need to make sure your paychecks are coming out correctly!

Well, I had plans to make lots of installments of my tips for subbing, but this will be my last blog on the topic because one of my subbing positions turned into a full time teaching position!  Check out my blog on How To Get a Teaching Job from Subbing next!

Happy teaching :)  

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