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Three Tips to Avoid Getting Eaten Alive in the Classroom: Tips for Subs

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Children can smell fear: students know when a fresh substitute is coming into the room. Kids are genuine and good-hearted; however, at the end of the day, they are kids and they will try to push the limits to see what they can get away. Check out tips for subs and follow the following tips: learn the classroom routine, have a backup plan, and pick your battles.

Most teachers have routines in place that the class practiced since the first day of school, and when this routine is not in place chaos can ensue. In order to create an auspicious learning environment, students need structure and routine. This includes things like transitions, lining up, passing out materials and what their day-to-day learning looks and sounds like in the classroom. If the teacher does not leave explicit directions, then recruit a helpful student to serve as a co-teacher for the day. This person can reiterate the classroom expectations for the students and the substitute.

In addition to not leaving directions for classroom routines, the teacher might not have left enough work for the students to complete. When students have downtime, they are more likely to engage in negative behaviors. To evade these behavior issues, come with brain teasers, word games, or math puzzles: great free sites to obtain these include Superteacherworksheets, Edhelper, and Commoncoresheets . If you or the kids have access to technology, then Brainpop or Coolmath would be great appropriate resources to supplement the topics they are currently learning in math and or across curriculum.

With a routine in place and meaningful and engaging activities in place, there will be less issues; however, behaviors are inevitable. Therefore, a tip for subs is to have a toolbox of behavior management tricks readily available. One of the main things to remember is to pick your battles. These are children and you should not engage in a bickering match with a minor. You might feel frustrated but do not lose your cool. This is the fear children can smell and this will cause you to lose control or incite more outbursts and disruptions. One should highlight positive behaviors verbally. Redirect negative behaviors with nonverbal cues or address them outside of the general classroom away from peers to avoid embarrassment.

Meanwhile, if the school you are working in has a positive behavior intervention system (PBIS) in place you should learn what this entails and how to reinforce the system in the classroom. Most schools with PBIS reward positive behaviors with stickers or tickets and have teachers paired up for buddy rooms for reflection breaks. The student who helps reinforce the daily routine could be a great resource for helping you implement the behavior and character values that the classroom and school embody.

Working in a classroom for a day or extended period of time has it challenges, but it is rewarding for a substitute to get the opportunity to meet many diverse kids. Whether you are planning to continue to sub or you are working towards having your own classroom one day, one will pick up many tricks of the trade and improve one's pedagogy and behavior management. Additionally, a sub gets to experience the impact educators have on young children. It could be your one day in the classroom that sticks with a student, so have fun and hopefully the experience will be a positive one for you and the kids. One of the great things about teaching is the next day is a new day. So, if the routine was not quite in place or you need to come more prepared, then you can make adjustments to meet with success.

With live subjects you never know what kids will say or do. Some of the best professional development is to talk to those in the field. It is important to share successes and failures. Feel free to share some of your Arnold-Schwarzenegger-Kindergarten-Cop-sub-freak-out moments with SubAssistant by sending a tweet. What are some of your tricks of the trade for substitutes or the dos and don'ts of substitute teaching?

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