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Substitute teachers can have it very hard. They are supposed to fill-in for teachers that have already spent the year earning their students respect. When a substitute teacher walks into the room, students see it as a chance to do whatever they want. After all, their real teacher is not there. It can take months for a teacher to earn the respect of his or her students, but substitute teachers must do so within a few moments of entering a classroom
Here are some tips for substitute teachers to make time in the classroom at least a little easier:
• Dress well. Wear a tie if you are a male or a skirt if
you are a female, etc. Show the kids that you are not a force to
be reckoned with from the very first moment that you step into the
classroom. Look professional. Intimidate the kids with your appearance,
if you must. Do not give the students anything to make fun of about
• To make it through the day as a substitute teacher, you should lay out some ground rules. Do not walk into the classroom first thing and act like the classes’ friend. Make sure you gain their respect first.
• Once you have stated your rules, and if you have frightened all of the kids into submission, then you can start to be nice… until they give you reason to enforce your rules. Make sure that you do enforce your rules – otherwise the students will just walk all over you.
• Have a “gimmick.” Make yourself fun and memorable to your students. If you are going to have younger students, you can act like a character from their favorite movie. For older classes, you can maybe bring candy as rwards.
• Make your own hall pass. Make sure that you have your own hall pass, because you may not be able to recognize the stapler “hall pass” that the regular teacher uses.
• Know your subjects well. The better you know a subject, the better you will be able to fill in for a teacher that teaches that subject. Students will respect you more if you can ask a question and you can come up with the answer.
• If you do not know the answer to the question, involve the other students ask them what they think.
• Know and follow the school rules
• Do not think of the students in your class as another teacher’s students, think of them as your own students. Just because you are a substitute teacher does not mean that you are not a teacher.
• Make sure that your students have something to do. If the teacher did not leave you with enough work to keep the students occupied, be prepared to give them a new assignment.
• Have a back-up plan.
• Respect the students and they will respect you.
Substitute teachers are just as prone to good days and bad days as other people are. So, remember, that just because your first day as a substitute teacher went poorly, it does not mean that your next day will. Besides, substitute teachers do have at least one blessing that regular teachers do not have – if a substitute teacher does not like a certain class, so be it! A substitute teacher will not have to return to that class again!
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