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Substitute Teacher Tips - Be a Better Hall Monitor

Occasionally a school hires a substitute only to realize that he/she is not actually needed because the class was covered internally. In situations like these, the school often opts to keep the substitute teacher on hand for the purpose of providing additional support in other areas of the building. When this happens, the substitute teacher may need to handle the duties of a hall monitor or teacher aid. While these positions may not be ideal for a substitute teacher who is interested in working with students in a classroom, they are none the less important to the overall functioning of the school. If you find yourself hired to be a hall monitor for the day, here are some things to keep in mind.


Bathrooms are one of the few areas in the school that are completely unsupervised. As a result, this is often where students get into the most mischief. As you travel around the building, be mindful of groups of students entering a bathroom together. This is a tell-tale sign of trouble. If you are comfortable doing so, it is acceptable to duck your head into a bathroom when you suspect problems.

Hall Passes

Every school addresses the issue of hall passes differently. Some have a standardized paper pass that must be completed and signed by teachers before students can leave the room. Other schools just ask teachers to provide students with a physical object that indicated that they are allowed to be out of the class. Before beginning your day, be sure to know what to do if you find a student without a pass. Ask where to send him and who you should follow up with. Planning ahead in this matter will make dealing with difficult students in the hallway easier.

School Rules

As a hall monitor, it is likely that you will encounter students breaking other school rules. These may include dress code violations and inappropriate or unallowed use of cell phones or other electronics. Some schools expect monitors to be vigilant; others leave it to the discretion of teachers. Before beginning your day, ask what the expectation is for you regarding these issues.

Other Responsibilities

Serving as a hall monitor may also include other responsibilities such as cafeteria duty and bus duty. In cases like these, be sure to actively monitor. Circulate and be aware of what students are doing. Many times in situations like these there are multiple adults assigned to the duty. You may feel pressure to mingle with these adults and make small talk. Avoid this; doing so will hinder your ability to watch students.


Regardless of your role as a substitute teacher, it's important to put your best foot forward. The impression you leave at a school will determine future job opportunities. Knowing your role will make you be a better sub!


photo credit: Send me adrift. - cc
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