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Two Teachers

35 EpisodesProduced by Luke and TomWebsite


Episode 29: Avoiding SUBpar Plans

Episode 29 shares our thoughts on creating plans for a substitute teacher that will ensure success in your classroom while you are away. We share some of our secrets for sub plans and discuss some potential dos and don’t that may go onto your plans. After listening to this, you will deserve a day off. Luckily we got you covered with these recommendations.

Obvious and Legal

Sub plans should be in a common, communicated and obvious location. Luke’s hangs by his door and Tom has a folder on the top of his desk labeled “SUB PLANS.” Luke takes i a step further and recruits students who know the procedures and are tasked with checking in with the substitute teacher.

  • Emergency Plans
  • Class Rosters (accurate and up to date)
  • Seating Charts
  • IEPs/504 – Not the original but rather applicable notes for that day’s lesson. The exception here might be a behavior plan that details a certain process for the substitute teacher.
  • Health Information – Unfortunately, this could be life or death.
  • Class Schedule
Academic Must Haves

You must ensure that you are not wasting a day of instruction, but rather setting the substitute up to be successful in replicating what you would normally in the classroom.

  • Rationale / Context – Set the stage for them. What objectives came before and where are you going. Be explicit.
  • Screenshots / Pictures – With students on tech this allows the sub to see what the students might be seeing. Another benefit is they can better hold the student accountable to being on task on that tech.
  • Behavior Management Explanation – How do you normally handle common behaviors in the classroom?
  • FAQs – You’ve likely taught the lesson before or assigned a similar task. What kind of questions might they ask?
Optional Additions

What else might be beneficial for the sub in the sub plans?

  • List of students who could be helpful.
  • Share your lesson plans with the students too.
  • Write-up about the classroom culture. Yes, typically we work in groups. No, students can not have their phone and when they do, I typically just ask them to put them away.
  • A list of “problem” students. DO NOT call it that and do not make it negative. A potentially harmful situation would be to write negative things on paper, display it on the desk and to have a student view that. It may also create a fixed expectation for the substitution. INSTEAD make the “These Kids Could Benefit From…” list. Write comments like, “Johnny could benefit from check-ins throughout the lesson.” “Johnny may need reminders to keep him on task.” “Johnny has troubles getting started. Please encourage him a few extra times.”

Ultimate Sub Plan Template – Coming Soon!!!

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