While substitute teaching is an enjoyable and reward experience, many teachers use this profession as a stepping stone toward a full time teaching position. Substitute teaching prepares you for everything from lesson planning to collaborating with colleagues, and even maintaining a positive and safe classroom environment. But despite this preparation, it is only natural that, upon getting selected as the successful candidate for a full time position, panic quickly sets in. Here are three things to do before your first day in front of your very own classroom that will make you a better teacher:
Depending on the circumstances of the position, it may be possible for you to meet with or communicate with the teacher who previously filled the position. This may prove invaluable as you get your initial sense of what is expected of you by the school and its various stakeholders, such as school officials, students, and parents. If that person is a recent retiree, they may even share materials and lessons! In some instances, the previous teacher may still be in the classroom and the school can arrange a brief overlap in employment. This is ideal because you get to co-teach with each other. There is no faster way to learn the daily routines than to experience them firsthand!
Immediately following the job offer, you will be tempted to shout it from the rooftops proclaiming that you are now a bonafide full time teacher. Hiring practices vary, but it is almost certain that your name and proposed teaching appointment will need to go before the district Board of Education or other managing body. They make the final decision. While it is rare that they turn down a request to appoint, it is possible. Avoid posting on social media and sharing the good news with all your neighbors until you have received the official word that you are now a teacher.
Big Picture Planning
Your impulse may be to begin planning those first day activities and lessons. These are important, but by doing so, you are still very much in a substitute teacher frame of mind. Instead, reach out to a department chairperson or a curriculum leader in your school to request a copy of the department or grade level’s scope and sequence plan. This is a document that serves as a roadmap for the school year. You will find that planning day-to-day is easier when you can see from this long term perspective.
Have you recently been hired for a full time teaching position? How did you prepare? Tell us about it in the comments!