Teachers tips

Read books about substitute teachers with the students.

We love The Berenstain Bears and the Substitute Teacher and Miss Nelson is Missing.

Be honest.

“If I didn’t understand the math lesson (2nd grade for example), then I would just teach them something math related. I may have them grab rules and count by two’s, five’s, measure items in the room, etc. I always leave a note for the teacher letting them know who was a big help, who I had issues with, what I got through on their lesson plans, and what I didn’t understand and improvised. Sometimes teachers know what needs to be taught and how, but it’s hard to explain on paper. I’ve never had a teacher tell me I should have just figured the math lesson out instead of teaching math my way.” —Hannah T.

Listen to a read-aloud.

These days, you’ll find the biggest selection of read-alouds on YouTube. We’ve gathered our favorites here.

Be flexible, and tell the students they need to be flexible.

They may say they don’t do things a certain way, and I just tell them to be flexible, and we’re going to switch things up today!” —Lloyd C.

Make feedback fun!

Check out these free, adorable “While You Were Out” templates from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Bring some fidget toys.

Even the best of students can use a little bit of help. These DIY fidgets are easy to bring along with you.

Be strong early on.

“Don’t be a pushover. Assert your authority early. You can always become a little more lax later, but they need to know they are not going to get away with stuff while you are there.” —Jillian E.

Bring a game.

“Have a backup plan if possible. My plan was Boggle. It’s educational and quick to put on the board. It can be played as a whole class, teams, or small groups.” —Katie W. Check out our favorite educational games for the classroom!

Advertise yourself.

“Make up a flier you can put in the teacher’s mailboxes to let them know about your experience and how to get a hold of you to sub. If you want to sub at one school in particular, put it in every mailbox.” —Jen M.

Be social.

“Eat in the lounge and be the one to introduce yourself to teachers as they come in.” —Jay O.