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Survive and Thrive: Long Term Substitute Teacher Tips

If you've been offered a position as a long term substitute teacher, you might be wondering what exactly the job will be like. You'll have much more responsibility than a substitute teacher filling in for a day, but ultimately, the classroom you're subbing in still belongs to another teacher. Combine the uncertainty of taking over another person's classroom with the difficulties that can be associated with being the new teacher in school, and you might find yourself questioning whether you should have accepted the job to begin with. Long term substitute teaching can be an extremely rewarding experience if you're prepared for the role. Below we will discuss some long term substitute teacher tips:

Visit the school prior to your start date. Familiarizing yourself with the layout of the school and introducing yourself to your future colleagues will help to alleviate some of those first day jitters. If possible, visit the classroom you will be substituting in too. Get to know the students and their routine. Learn the classroom dynamics. Let the students become familiar with your face so that they're more accepting of you as their long term substitute teacher.

Meet with the current teacher. Always make an attempt to schedule a meeting with the current teacher before beginning your position as a long term sub. Ask her to help you map out a plan for your first week of subbing. Discuss where the students are in the curriculum. Don't be afraid to ask for advice, either-- she knows her classroom best!

Open the lines of communication. Parents might be unsure about having a long term substitute in their child's classroom. Be sure to express to parents that you are always willing to discuss any concerns with them-- by email, phone, or during a scheduled meeting. In addition, consider sending home a class newsletter or email each week to let parents know exactly what's going in the classroom. This will help to assure parents that, although the regular teacher is temporarily gone, it's still business as usual at school.

Be aware of the special needs of students. Some students in your classroom might have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) discussing certain accommodations that they require. Some students might have Behavior Modification Plans as well. Familiarize yourself with each student's plan.

Set boundaries. It's no secret that students often test boundaries when a new teacher enters the classroom. Discuss your expectations with the students and include them in creating a set of classroom rules.

Be yourself and have fun! While the classroom technically belongs to another teacher, you can still let your own teaching style shine through! Of course, discuss any major changes you're considering with the principal first, but don't be afraid to leave your mark on the classroom.

If you've worked as a long term substitute teacher, what tips and tricks did you use to succeed in the classroom? Share them with us!

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photo credit: Editor B via photopin cc

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