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Monday, August 17, 2015

Tips for Substitutes

Having arrived in Knoxville just a week or two before school started and still waiting on my TN teaching license (deep breathes, count to ten, jump through hoops..), I have forged ahead with my plan to substitute this year!  The school system I’m subbing in has a great website that lists all available jobs on-line which allows for the ability to be selective about only taking certified teaching positions and most importantly the ability to plan ahead instead of taking a call at 5:30 in the morning to work that same day!  

After obsessively refreshing the website at all hours of the day and night, I’m happy to report that I have taken a job every single day that I have been able to work!  The very first job I took was for the second day of school in a Jr. High! I'm not going to lie, as an early elementary school teacher I have always thought that teaching Jr. High seemed slightly terrifying (yes, I said it!).  As it turns out, I have absolutely LOVED the opportunity to get to work with Jr. High students! Who knew?!  (Note to self: TEACHING Jr. High is not the same as BEING in Jr. High!)

Aside from expanding my horizons in the vast world of education, I have also loved getting to be in so many different schools and learning from each and every one.  Every school operates differently and I have been trying to glean as many best practices as I can!  Exactly one week into this subbing gig, I have learned a few things to expect/be prepared for:

  •         No lesson plans!  Being a teacher and having years of experience (and Pinterest boards full of fun activities) has given me a leg up on this one!  Rest assured, I am brainstorming some little-to-no material activities to get me through those surprise days with no sub plans.  (Check back soon for what I come up with!)
  •          Breaking the Ice.  Maybe it’s just because it’s the beginning of the year and I’ve been in mostly Jr. High classes, but I’ve enjoyed doing ice breakers just to put the kids at ease and help class flow smoothly!  2 Truths and a Lie has been my go-to thus far.  
  •       Downtime! Sometimes while subbing you find yourself with downtime-sometimes quite a bit of downtime!  What I wouldn’t have given in the past while working at new charter schools with not much infrastructure to have all the great planning time that a big district offers their teachers! After offering to help with anything in the front office during these planning periods, I have enjoyed a little time to myself that I probably wouldn’t make for myself otherwise! I always have a book to relax with or my computer to work on creating fun Teachers Pay Teachers goodies!

The year is off to a great start and looking forward to all this year will bring into my life! Hope you all are enjoying back to school season as well!

Happy teaching y'all!

**UPDATE!  That first day of subbing at a Jr. High that thrilled me so actually led to me being offered a job there a mere 2 and a half weeks later!**


  1. Awesome! I was also pleasantly surprised to find I loved junior high. Who knew?! It's now actually my favourite place to be as a sub!

  2. Me too knitwit! Although I do the next 4 days in a still-vacant position in high school! It'll be their second week of school with no teacher. I like to think that I think best ony toes/under pressure...guess we'll see tomorrow :) But maybe I'll love it as much as Jr. High :)