Supply Survival Folder: How To Never Leave A Sub In The Lurch
September is about covering all avenues ready for the year ahead. Lesson plans, classroom creativity, behaviour management, how many pens you need to buy, AND a folder for supply teachers (which is often forgotten). For most, it's inevitable that at some point over the next 12 months a bug still strike and you'll be bed bound, along will come your classroom saviour AKA educational substitute for the day and they'll take over the teaching that you've already started. Although it's easy to just print a few work sheets out and let them get on with it, we all know how many of our pupils see a day of cover as a free pass to doing zilch.
Lesson plans - Keeping your pupils on track with current topics will help you, the children, AND the supply. Create tasks that fit in with previous lessons so that the class don't feel like it's pointless work. Although a poster/copying from a textbook is an easy and quick option, everyone is more likely to behave the plan is to keep their brains ticking.
Routines and procedures - Nothing is too simple to be included. Remember that it may be the teacher's first time in the school, so any kind of help is appreciated. What times do lessons start and end? Do you have bathroom procedures? Is there particular behavioural rules that everyone must abide by? Who do you go to if you have any problems? Include where first aid boxes and fire exits are located and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Map of the school - Nobody wants to spend their whole lunch trying to work out where certain rooms and offices are. Draw out a nifty map of everything they may need to locate. Toilets, the staffroom, the canteen etc.
Seating - We've all been there as children, teacher's ill? We'll sit next to our friends then. Seating plans will help the sub to control the class and to work out who is who, simple.
Feedback sheet - This is a fantastic way of reinforcing the relationship between the teacher and the sub. If there's been issues, particularly well-behaved students and notes to pick up on, these can be left ready for when you arrive back. Having an insight into the way your class performs when you're not there is always important.
Around the clock pupil support - It is vital to ensure that the pupils who need academic, emotional or behavioural support, get it, even when you're not around. How does he/she act? How are they to be handled?
Time fillers - Time to spare? Leave a few fun class fillers to help ease them in.
Extra responsibilities - Lunch duty? Prep for the next day? Homework? Included all that is expected of the supply so that they don't face any nasty surprises.
Out and about - Sometimes, supply teachers have free periods between lessons that need covering, so leave a list of coffee shops, restaurants and libraries around the school area. We all know how stressful a new class can be, so an hour to relax and gather their thoughts will definitely be appreciated.
A little something - Pop a few teabags/coffee sachets in a polly pocket at the back. Supply staff have to be out of the door within minutes of a call so grabbing a hot drink is sometimes at the bottom of the list, a small gesture like this can go a long way (and so can a quick cup of coffee!)
Substitute teachers need all the help they can get, so really thinking through the folder and providing as much information as possible is the best plan. What’s something you do to try and make a supply's life (and yours) that little bit easier?