CHAPTER 2 - PREPARING FOR BATTLE

 

 

A Substitute's day is nothing less than a preparation for battle. One of your main responsibilities is keeping control of the classroom. Some days, this will be your only duty. Since keeping control of the class is tough enough for the best Substitutes, you need every advantage that you can get. Students will attempt to get at you in every way possible: if you leave a window of opportunity open to students, they will take advantage of it. Before you step into a classroom, you must prepare yourself for battle. The way you dress, the way you speak, and your knowledge of the class subject are factors that you should consider before stepping into the classroom.

HAVE A CHANGE OF CLOTHES IN TRUNK OF CAR

Be able to substitute for a P.E. Class, even though you were called in to substitute for a Trigonometry Class. Be able to supervise the painting of banners during lunch even though you wore a suit and tie to school. Be able to redeem yourself after wearing 1 green sock, and 1 yellow sock. Be able to sweat after class while cleaning up the room. An extra change of clothes kept in the trunk of your car will enable you to be able.


TRAIN YOUR VOICE

Your voice is very important to your role as a Substitute Teacher. The first 10 words out of your mouth will determine how the rest of the class is run. Before you step foot in a classroom, decide how you want your class to see you, and, with a cassette recorder, practice being this person. "This person" can be a "demanding" person, a "jovial" person, and "understanding" person, or any other type of person. As you play the tape back with your voice on it, make sure that the person on the tape player is the same person you want your students to see.


DRESS WELL

If you are a male, wearing a tie is mandatory. If you are a female, make sure you are well dressed. You need to be as professional as possible. The students will point out (over and over again) all that is not professional with your appearance. Students target Substitute Teachers for practical jokes, and compromising situations. Sloppy dressing makes you an easy target for these jokes. Even if you are well dressed, an unzipped pair of pants is as bad as wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes.


KNOW SUBJECTS AS WELL AS POSSIBLE

While it is impossible to know everything about all subjects, it is, in most cases, possible to get into the classroom early and look through the textbook. Get to know assignments, terms, ideas and even some of the answers. If possible, read the book and learn the material thoroughly. A second option is to use the Teacher's manual. Some Teacher's Manual have "Key Points", "Discussion Topics", and "Answers to Questions" in the book's margins. A Substitute has to learn to use these margin notes to their advantage. A third option is to wait for the first student to enter the classroom, and ask this student about the subject being taught.


KNOW SCHOOL PROCEDURES

Know when the Pledge of Allegiance is said, when to read the School Bulletin, the difference between an earthquake alarm and a fire alarm. Know the school's discipline procedures and other procedures peculiar to each school. This information is many times contained in a folder given to each Substitute Teacher upon arrival at the school. If no folder is given to you as a Substitute, this does not relieve you of your responsibility to know school procedures.


SKIP THE COFFEE

Coffee is the Substitute's enemy. It raises the probability of needing to use the restroom. Sometimes the day is arranged so that you need to go 3 hours before you will be able to use the restroom. This leaves the Substitute Teacher in a situation that they would not be in if they had not drank that last cup of coffee.


MAKE YOUR OWN HALL PASS

Make a pass with your name on it and take it to every class where you teach. Do this because, while some Teachers use a pass that says "PASS" in big letters, other Teachers will use staplers, rocks, bricks, articles of clothing, or other less obvious forms of passes. If you must stop class to write a pass, it is a hindrance on the steady flow of a classroom. A suggestion for your pass is to put them on cardboard, or heavy form of paper. They can be computer generated, or handwritten one minute before class begins. Make sure you get the pass back from students who use them, and always have a spare pass.


HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

Use your backup teaching plan when the absent Teacher doesn't leave a set of lesson plans for the day. Backup plans should be kept in files in your car: the Substitute Teacher should have at least one Plan for an English Class, at least one plan for Algebra, etc. Every Substitute Teacher should plan on days when they know nothing about the subject for class they are teaching, and no lesson plans were left for you. In such a case, the Substitute Teacher may assign "Busy Work"


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