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Substitute Teaching can be EASY!

Need some ideas or resources for substitute or supply teaching?  The New Teachers Kit can help!

Substitute Teaching is the way many new teachers begin their careers.  What a baptism of fire it can be if you are not prepared!  Nadia Distel, author of the New Teachers Kit, suggests the following strategies when starting out as a substitute or supply teacher:

-       Go prepared to the classroom as if the teacher who runs the class has nothing prepared.  If you get there and there is work available, it’s a bonus – but don’t rely on it, because in my experience 9 times out of 10 there will be nothing there for you to use.

-       On expectations – make them clear to students at the very beginning of the day.  Do you expect them to raise their hand to talk?  Then tell them that – even better, write down 3 simple rules on the blackboard before you start.  Then you can refer back to these if there are any issues, and also use them to praise students for doing the right thing.

-       When managing behavior, try your best to do it positively, and by that, I mean give the students something to work towards that is desirable to them, and contingent on their good behavior. 

-       One strategy I used (especially with the older classes) was to allocate 30 minutes of sport at the end of the day, provided their behavior was to standard. I would use a chart I made, printed and laminated, in order to monitor their behavior.  If there were infringements on the behavioral expectations, I would cross off one number (i.e. – the first infringement, I would cross out 30, which meant that they only had 25 minutes of sport.  Then, if something else happened, I would cross out 25 and then they would have only 20 minutes of sport.  If their behavior improved, I ‘reserved the right’ to erase the cross I made to reinstate their sports time. 

I found this was a really great way to use peer pressure to your own advantage – after all, a child who mucks up and subsequently causes the whole class to miss out on sport is not a popular child!  And using this peer pressure helps you manage the behavior and show students that they are effectively responsible for the outcome of their school day.  I have included the chart on the next page.

-       Be prepared for the fact that the students may behave differently towards you than they would their regular teacher, simply because you are their supply teacher.  They know you don’t know the usual expectations placed upon them, so they will try to pretend there are no expectations! 

-       Have some ‘time filler’ games prepared that require little equipment.  What you use entirely depends on the age range you are teaching.  Some awesome, printable ideas for lower, middle and upper primary that I have used are listed in the New Teachers Kit, so check it out!

You'll also find a completely free Supply Teachers Compendium of activities at the New Teachers Kit, so make sure you download it to ensure you start your career in the classroom armed with excellent resourcesHealth Fitness Articles, and subsequently - confidence!

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New Teachers Kit a complete set of downloadable, printable resources and classroom strategies, designed for a newly qualified primary or elementary teacher.  Work smart, not hard, with the New Teachers Kit!

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