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Ideas for Substitute Teachers: 5 Things to Keep in Your Bag of Tricks

Being prepared for the unexpected is a quality that can make you a great substitute teacher. A wonderful way to always be prepared is to carry a sub bag. A sub bag is essentially your bag of tricks for when the day does not go according the classroom teacher's plan.

Maybe the teacher had to leave unexpectedly and there are little to no plans at all, maybe a lesson that should have taken an hour only took the class 20 minutes. However it happens, substitute teachers are often left with a classroom full of students who need something to do. This is when you can go into your sub bag and have all you need. Here are a few ideas for substitute teachers as to what are helpful items to always have with you.

  1. Storybooks appropriate for three different grade levels: When in doubt most students, even the older ones, like to be read to. Students can relax and just listen or you can choose guest readers to help you tell the story.
  2. Name tags: These are easy to find at most office stores.  Students tend to listen to you more and stay more engaged when you use their first name.
  3. Extra Sharpened pencils: No student should be able to pull the "I don't have a pencil" excuse when you are around.
  4. Treasure bag: A large Ziploc baggie filled with small things for rewards. This can be as easy as small stickers or fun erasers from the dollar store.
  5. Blank Report Forms: Teachers want to know how your day went. Create your own easy to fill out form that lets the teacher know how the day was while they were out. It's a great way to get called back to sub for that teacher again.
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