If you have been hanging out with me from the start, you know that I was a day-to-day substitute in my current school for 3 months before I transitioned to different long-term positions. When I was an ESL push-in, I would get pulled to substitute pretty frequently. Before I started my long-term positions, I was trying my best to make an impression on the office staff and teachers that I was substituting for in hopes of being kept in mind for any openings the next school year! I learned very quickly that the most challenging part of substituting teaching is having a concrete way to have classroom management for every class in every grade level!
It is seriously impossible to remember and fully understand each teacher’s classroom management system, especially when you’re in a new room almost everyday. I realized that I needed to come up with something that was easy for me, engaging for the students and effortless to carry around with me. So with that in mind, I present to you… my classroom management for substitute teachers tool!
It all started with this slogan I came up with on a whim… “Let’s have a 3 star day!” So I went to town coming up with this poster. But then I thought it would be really helpful if I could take stars away if the students were not meeting my expectations. I thought of that as an interactive poster since the stars can move on and off the board. The stars worked great when I was substituting in Early Childhood grades but I wasn’t as confident with it when I was in the middle/upper elementary grades. So I had to think about classroom management for substitute teachers who are with older students.
Well of course my go-to is emoji’s. Everyone loves emojis! So I created the same poster and interactive poster with emoji’s for my older students. I even asked the 7th and 8th graders to be honest and give me feedback about using the posters with older grades (keep in mind I work at a Chicago Public School that teachers about well over 1,000 students). They even told me it was “cool” and an easy way for them to know what kind of report their teacher would get from me! WOOHOO!! I don’t know how to be with older kiddos (clearly, as I am calling them kiddos…) so their feedback felt like a massive win.
If you are in the same boat I was fresh outta college and you’re looking for a way to be noticed in the school you’re really interested in, this is the best part of the classroom management for substitute teachers tool! So after the day is done, the last thing you want to do is sit in the classroom forever writing to the homeroom teacher how the day went. To solve that problem, I created a form. Even if you use the emoji poster, you are still essentially giving the students stars! The form is a really quick way for teachers to see how the day went. Now that I am a homeroom teacher and have had to have substitute teachers in my room, I appreciate the thoroughness of the notes that I am left but I ultimately just want the main points! This form is how I got noticed very quickly and I’m so grateful for it. Many teachers came up to me to express their gratitude and appreciation for keeping their students safe and on task.
I know that it came be really discouraging when you are a day-to-day substitute when you really want your own classroom. This classroom management tool is the best way to make yourself noticeable and honestly, make life a little easier as you have to be continuously flexible with your craft. Substituting can be a great way to feel out a school before you put in an application as well! Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and explore. You never know where it will you, my friend.
I hope this classroom management tool for substitute teachers helps you, whether you are the substitute or you leave it for your substitute to use with your kiddos! I would absolutely love to see how you use this tool in your classroom so share with me in the comments below or on Instagram and tag me @myastrobrightlife.