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Tips for Subs from Mary Poppins

[caption id="" align="left" width="250"] Practically Perfect![/caption]

If you want to be a better sub, be like Mary Poppins, nanny extraordinaire.

Her biggest secret to success was being prepared.  Think about it: she had her umbrella in tow and always kept her carpet bag filled with useful items.  She had everything from lamps and mirrors to a magical  measuring tape that could size up anybody, adult or child.  And, of course, she was very, very organized.

So, take a lesson from Mary Poppins.  Be prepared.  Be organized.

To help the day to flow smoothly, here are some things you might try.  First, make sure that you have the following:

  • A list of important contacts and their extensions in the school.
  • Your prep, lunch, and duty times including how to get to them
  • A student roster
  • Emergency procedures
  • A feedback form (You can make one and leave it for the teacher at the end of the day.  It's a nice touch.)
Then, like Mary Poppins, have a well-stocked carpet bag or canvas tote.  You won't find a magic sizer-upper, but you should be able to fill it with these:
  • Dry-erase markers
  • Chalk
  • Paper
  • White board (a small one - after all, sometimes, pictures are worth more than a thousand words)
  • A list of games for student-centered learning. (Make sure that they are relevant to instruction.)
  • Stories, stories, and more stories.  All kinds of stories.
Stories are very important.  They'll give you that enchanted edge. Depending on the ages and stages of your students, stories can be used as discussion starters, writing prompts, catalysts for creative interpretation, retelling.... You get the idea.

One more thing: make sure that you know the stories that you want to tell. Because if you tell them, you want to tell them for a purpose and with finesse.

And smile.

You'll be a hit!

Just follow these tips and you'll be Practically Perfect in every way!

What things do you do to be an always-prepared sub?

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