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What to do if you’re late for a substitute assignment

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whether you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic or stalled by a flat tire, luck is not on your side today — you’re going to be late for your assignment.

We get it, sometimes life gets in the way! Tardiness is a natural part of being human. So we’re here to equip you with the tools you need to handle the situation calmly and with grace.

Call the school

Once you realize you’ll arrive after the bell, you may start to panic; the key is to take a step back so you don’t set a negative tone for your work day. Step one: Stay calm knowing that the situation is out of your control.

Once you’ve regained your balance, reach out to your designated school contact. While we definitely
encourage creativity in the classroom, honesty is the best policy here. Ask clarifying questions to determine where to go once you arrive:

  • “Where should I report when I arrive?”
  • “Is there anything else regarding the class I should be aware of?”
  • “Is there anything else I can do to support the school to make up for the time that I’ve already missed?”

You may also want to present an option to mitigate any inconvenience — perhaps you can stay late to make up for it or come in early next time.

(If you are unable to reach the school administrator, Swing Education has your back. Contact us at or (650)-413-9268, and we’ll get in touch with the school for you.)

<< Tips when you land a long-term assignment>>

Once you arrive

When you get to school, head to the designated classroom confirmed by the administrator or listed in the request details.

At your earliest convenience (and definitely before heading out for the day), be sure to check in with the administrator to thank them for their understanding. While the occasional late start is normal for most of us, it is important to take responsibility and make every effort to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.

Prepping for success

Running late is the number one cause of stress. Maintain your calm and combat anxiety with preparation:

  • Use your calendar. Add the assignment and set email and text reminders
  • Plan your route the night before — figure out how long it takes to arrive at the school, and pad in extra time to be safe
  • Pack your bag and meals the night before
  • Set an alarm… or two. There’s no shame in needing that extra push to get out of bed

Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself — occasionally running late isn’t a character flaw.

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