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Help! There are no Substitute Plans!


An experienced substitute teacher knows that part of the job is the ability to be resourceful and think on your feet. This is the case then when you arrive at a substitute teaching job to find that the primary teacher left no plans. Idle time with students is a surefire way to encourage off task behavior and classroom management problems. In the event of no plans, here are some on-the-spot solutions that will rescue your day.

Check with Colleagues

Curricular alignment across departments is a common occurrence in schools. If you were left without plans, seek out another teacher in your department to see if he or she can help decide the day's plans. It's also possible that the teacher you're subbing for may have emailed plans or spoken to a colleague in preparation for the absence.

Utilize the School Library

If you are without plans, contact the school librarian and to see if there's open library availability during your teaching periods. Students can use the library to check out books, use computers, or take advantage of the librarian and your help in completing assignments for other classes. This is a good alternative to simply holding a study hall in place of the class.

Come Prepared

Many substitute teachers will bring with them several emergency substitute teacher ideas in the event they find themselves with free time with students. As we have discussed before, these may include group team building games, puzzles or activity sheets, or literacy focused many lessons.

Your job as a substitute teacher is to serve as a stand-in for the primary teacher when they are unavailable. This can be a particularly daunting task when there are not adequate plans left for you. In working through the problems and finding a solution that is best for students, you not only demonstrate your value to the school as a substitute or are you also leave a favorable impression with teachers and administrators.

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