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Don't Fear the Emergency Lesson Plan

Messy. © by JessicaHume.

Congratulations! You’ve just secured your next subbing job through for tomorrow morning. So, what will you be teaching?

You’d like to assume that the teacher you’re subbing for has left you a well planned, neatly typed up lesson plan with all the worksheets printed out for you. Fortunately, there are teachers who are that organized and have thought ahead like that. We subs love those teachers and mentally thank them every time we open up their tidy substitute teacher binders.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of teachers who haven’t had the time to plan ahead or the belief that they might need a sub. These teachers leave partial or non-existent emergency lesson plans. As a sub, you know you run this risk. You are too experienced to end up having a panic attack in front of the class and hoping that the students are willing to just read silently like good little angels. So what do you do? You come prepared with an emergency lesson plan of you own.

If you’ve subbed before, you probably have a treasure trove of lesson plans to which you can refer. Most lesson plans can be adjusted for grade level, which essentially multiples your existing supply of lesson plans. If you already have a lesson plan for third grade based on a popular book, you can add in a couple higher order analysis questions to make that lesson plan suitable for a fourth (or even fifth) grade class. If you’re teaching a second grade class, ask more fact based questions that will be a little easier for the students. Also, take a look at the vocabulary you work on in the lesson plan. Have the students work on easier or harder words depending on their grade level.

If you don’t already have a lesson plan you can adjust, don’t worry. There are lots of resources online for emergency lesson plans for subs. There is even an entire Pinterest page dedicated to emergency lesson plans! A lot of the emergency lesson plans you’ll find come from the personal blogs and websites of other substitute teachers. These blogs and sites contain entire lesson plans based on popular books or topics. They are divided up by grade level and by academic focus. Simply type “emergency lesson plan” into your browser to pull up these resources. Add in the topic you’re looking for and/or the grade level to find more specific results.

Emergency lesson plans available and easy to find - both in your personal collection and online. Here is something to consider if you end up using someone else’s emergency lesson plan: If you make changes to the lesson plan, do you go back to the source and let them know the changes you made?

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