Swing Education substitute teachers help students in thousands of classrooms across the country every week. We recently tapped into our community’s collective expertise and experience by asking our subs to share their top substitute teaching tips.
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Here are 10 of our favorites:
“In challenging schools, be prepared for kids that will challenge your authority, but focus on the kids that are there to learn. Subs always spend too much time focused on the misbehaving kids and taking the good kids for granted. I always address the bad behavior but do not dwell on it. My focus stays with teaching and my eyes are on the well behaved kids. The misbehaving crave attention, and eventually get bored if you don’t get distracted from the teaching, which they are really trying to sabotage.” – Martin D
“Give the students ground rules in the beginning of the class period so they know what you expect from them and what needs to get done. Also, keep an eye on them and walk around the classroom throughout the day/period to make sure they’re working/not slacking off.” – Jessica R
“The moment you look down on your students, the moment they’ll look down on you. Always give them the level of respect that you’d like them to give you. This changes their attitudes from ‘just another strict sub’ to ‘Hey, this sub is kinda cool and cares.'” – Hannah F.
“Make sure to arrive at schools early to familiarize yourself with the lesson plans. The better you know the material, the smoother the lesson will go.” – Claire A.
“Stay on task, and leave a record. Follow the lesson plans as much as humanly possible, leave detailed notes for the teacher about what got done or didn’t get done, which students were awesome and not so awesome.” – Ebonie P.
“Relationships are key. Find small ways to build familiarity with a class. It goes a long way with classroom management.” – Jasmine W.
“First days at a new campus can be tricky, but don’t forget to utilize the awesome coworkers around you. Others at the worksites will often help you locate your classroom, find materials, and help you learn how to report attendance. They all want your class to be successful, just like you do.” – Tiffany F.
“Always circulate. Proximity is a valuable tool as the kids will feel cared for!” – Anson O.
“Try to remember names, as it makes the kids feel important.” – Trevor P.
“Be kind, be courteous, be considerate. Students have different needs, and with a little time and some patience, you can potentially reach every one of them in your own special way, no matter how long you have them in your presence.” – Donnie P.
Or, if you’d like to start subbing in a classroom near you, spend two minutes filling out our registration form!