Organizing Information for Your Substitute
While you never plan to have to miss school, it's inevitable that for some purpose or occasion - whether expected or unexpected - you will be leaving your classroom in the hands of a substitute teacher. As with any other aspect of teaching, you need to have a good game plan for helping your replacement get through the day - providing them with everything from class rosters and activities to where to find all the important materials and the daily class schedule. A substitute tub or binder is a great way to collect all the information in one place and will give you peace of mind in the event you're ever called from the classroom without notice.
We found several great examples to help you put together your own sub tub/binder!
Melissa over at Teach Bake Love had an extra plastic storage container so she decided a sub tub was in order. Inside you'll see that the tub contains various hanging file folders, each one labeled and easy for the substitute to surmise what the folder contains. Two things we love about this sub tub...
- Melissa created emergency plans for an entire week, including enough copies of each activity for all her students and answer keys as well. Not only can Melissa rest easy knowing that there's a plan if something unexpected happened and she was pulled away from the classroom for more than a couple days, she's also made it extremely easy for her substitute who won't have to go running to make copies between classes!
- All the essentials - i.e. bell schedule, classroom tour, student roster, etc. - are included in Melissa's "Stuff the Sub Should Know" folder, but we love that she also included information on each of the Team Teachers + other helpful teachers should the substitute have any questions. This is a great resource for subs who may be unfamiliar with your team; they'll have the names and locations of helpers in the event they have questions or need support!
Jackie over at My Organized Classroom put her sub plans in binder form - and actually provides the template for FREE at her blog! Even if you plan to make your own, we love Jackie's colorful book and figured it could be used as a 'checklist' of sorts. It is very organized (the table of contents is a great way to make sure your substitute can find things quickly!) and quite helpful for making sure you have all the necessary information collected for your substitute!
Last, but not least, this substitute binder found on Pinterest has a key feature that would be a great addition to your substitute tub/binder - photos of the classroom and pictures of where to find important materials! Sometimes it's difficult to explain exactly where to find something and it is definitely time consuming to write where everything is located. The picture method allows you to show instead of tell, and is a more clear and concise way of helping your substitute get acquainted with the classroom! [NOTE: The best part is, if you employ the use of a classroom photo tour at the beginning of the school year to help your kiddos get accustomed to daily procedures, centers, and material locations - this will be a snap!]
These are just a few ideas/tips to help you get your substitute plans in order! While you can't always control what pulls you out of the classroom, a substitute tub/binder can help to ensure that, even though you're not there, the day goes off without a hitch!