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Internet roundup: 10 things substitute teachers on Reddit can’t live without

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re new to substitute teaching, it’s not just the students who have things to learn! When starting at a new school, with a new grade, or even just starting out (!), it helps to turn to those with a bit more experience.

And what better place to turn than the Internet?

One new sub reached out to the Reddit community r/SubstituteTeachers for advice on their first day: which items are essential to bring with you to the classroom (and, which ones to leave at home)?

As usual, the substitute teachers of Reddit had all the answers:

“I bring a backpack with a clipboard, notepads for notes to the teacher, and pens. I keep my purse in the bag. I bring a water bottle, ibuprofen, chapstick, tissues. Basically anything I would need during the day. I usually bring my kindle, AirPods, and I alway have my iPhone in my pocket. I usually keep my lunch box in the bag or put it in the fridge in the break room. I try not to carry too much but I like to be prepared.”


“I bring a notebook, pen, a water bottle, lunchbox, Tylenol in a childproof container, usually I hide it in my lunchbox just in case, and bandaids, chapstick, and my favorite thing ever, spray hand sanitizer.”


“It’s not a bad idea to keep some Mio energy if you’re a caffeine drinker. I’ll usually keep that or drink pouches with caffeine in my lunch box just in case.”


“I bring some classroom supplies (clipboard, pens, sticky notes, and whiteboard markers) just in case the teacher has run out or I can’t find them. I also bring a couple kid’s books in case I need a quick filler activity. And in the winter I bring all my winter gear (ski pants, mitts, toque, and scarf) just in case I have supervision.”


And, just as important, here’s what subs say you should leave at home:

“What not to bring: Anything illegal, lots of cash, things of grand sentimental value, books that could be too controversial (avoid things dealing heavily with sex, religion, and non-fiction politics), water bottles/laptops with questionable stickers.”


“I would say don’t bring anything that could create controversy like books or anything that has questionable stickers on it. Also no weapons, unless you’ve been through training and approved and licensed by the district to carry weapons. And nothing illegal.”


Whether you’re a veteran sub or tomorrow is your very first day, know that we’ve got your back through it all. If you’re  looking to learn how to leave good sub notes, how to teach at more than one district, or even what a typical day of substitute teaching looks like, you can find the answers at

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