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Get ready for substitute teaching in the 2024-25 school year

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Believe it or not, a new school year is just around the corner. Before classes are back in session, here are some ways you can prepare yourself for a fresh start in the classroom.

Figure out where and what you want to teach

It’s a new school year! Whether you’re new to substitute teaching or you’re looking to try something new this year, it’s important to first determine the grade levels and subject matters you feel most comfortable teaching. Take some time to reflect on your previous experiences and strengths, as well as consider the age groups you most enjoy working with. When you identify your preferences, you can focus on your efforts on finding substitute teaching gigs that best align with your skills and interests.

When you partner with a substitute teaching agency, you aren’t limited to just one school or district, so take the time to explore the various options in your area and see what fits you best! If you’re subbing through Swing, you’ll be able to mark your favorite schools and get job notifications from us first!

Brush up on your classroom management skills

Maybe it’s your first time substitute teaching, or perhaps you just need a bit of a refresher after coming back from summer. Either way, effective classroom management is essential for creating a positive learning environment and maintaining student engagement. 

  • Establish clear expectations: Before students enter the classroom, be sure to create (and enforce!) a set of rules and expectations that you can communicate to the students. By clearly articulating your behavior expectations and academic goals, you’ll help students understand exactly what is expected of them.
  • Be prepared with engaging activities: Whether you finish the sub plans early or the students just need a quick break, it’s important to come prepared with a repertoire of engaging and educational activities that can help keep students focused and motivated. Being proactive in providing meaningful learning experiences will help manage classroom disruptions and keep learning fun.
  • Build positive relationships: Take the time to really get to know your students, show interest in them, and actively listen to their concerns. By creating a supportive and caring environment, you can foster a sense of community and cooperation among students. 

Be intentional

With so much prep that goes into back to school, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by checklists and to-dos. However, it’s important to remember why you are subbing in the first place, and prioritize bringing intentionality and values into the classroom.

  • Foster an inclusive and positive environment: Substitute teachers should make a conscious effort to create a welcoming space where all students feel valued and respected. This looks like learning student names, active listening, and confronting any instances of bias or discrimination.
  • Set clear expectations: Rather than going in blind to a new school or classroom, substitute teachers should take the time to familiarize themselves with any policies and procedures, as well as any guidelines from the absent teacher. Clear communication about goals, behavior, and routines will encourage students to take ownership of their education.
  • Embrace meaningful engagement: In an age of digital distractions and short attention spans, substitute teachers need to work a bit harder to capture students’ interest and foster a love of learning. Embracing educational apps, digital platforms, and online resources will help enhance the learning experience, while creating a dynamic and engaging classroom environment.

With school starting any day now, it’s time to dust off those teaching supplies and make your heroic return to the classroom. Embrace a world of flexibility, variety, and personal growth as you kick off a new school year.

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First day checklist

This unique list of free activities and resources will keep your students engaged and occupied if you finish early.