Teacher Tip: Emergency Substitute Plans

Did you join Girl Scouts when you were a child?  If so, you are familiar with the Girl Scout motto.

The Girl Scout motto is "Be prepared." In the 1947 Girl Scout Handbook, the motto was explained this way: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." The same ideas are true today.

This is a motto that teachers should also follow preferably before the first day of school.  All teachers need a set of emergency substitute plans.  Keep a copy of your emergency plans in a visible place in your room.  A place that you can easily give instructions to someone else to get out for you.  It is also helpful if you give a copy of these plans to the school secretary - if he/she is willing.  Your school secretary is usually the first person the sub meets when he/she arrives at your school.  Wouldn't it be nice if the secretary had your emergency plans ready to hand them to your sub?

Emergency sub plans should include:
  • Map of the school
  • Class schedule - include room number/location of specials
  • Class list (with pictures if you have it)
  • Duty schedule
  • Phone numbers: extensions of helpful people at your school
    • office
    • nurse
    • co-worker who is helpful & knows password of your computer sites
    • specials teachers
  • Lesson plans that include class set of copies - plans should be generic not seasonal
  • Class procedures:  
    • fire drill
    • emergency drills
    • arrival
    • dismissal
    • lunch
    • recess
    • turn in work
    • early finishers
    • hand out supplies

(click on picture)

One of the things subs appreciate is name tags.  It is much easier to control your class when the sub knows their names.  The easiest way to do this is make labels with your students' names at the beginning of the year.  Print a copy of these and include them with your emergency sub plans.  Each time you have a planned absence, all you need to do is print a copy.  You will appreciate the fact that you are being a Girl Scout the next time you are absent and so will your sub!

Click HERE to download this template.
The font is by Kimberly Geswein.  It is free for personal use.  Click below to download the font.

Looking for more tips?  Check out my A+ Inside Recess board.  Click on the picture below.

Fern has a few tips to share with you, too.  Be sure to hop over to her blog!

Fern and I are adding something new this summer.  Summer is a great time to catch up on your reading.  I love to read teacher blogs and the latest teacher idea books.  Stop by Fern's blog and my blog each week for Tuesday Teacher Tips.  We hope you will share your ideas, too.  

Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog who will get a $10 shopping trip.  We will announce the winner in the following Tuesday's post.  The winner for this past Tuesday is:

Click HERE to read K. Lowery's parent communication tip.

Do you have a sub tip to share?  Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip.

Looking for more ideas?  Check out these!


Unknown said...

I agree having sub plans ahead of time is so helpful...it eases your mind and allows the sub to feel less stressed! :)
-Lovely Nina
Lovely Nina Designs

Anna Lynn said...

For Christmas last year, I gave the rest of my K team a set of pre-made and pre-copied sub plans in a folder. Not expensive for me, and useful for them--win-win! I also made a set of generic plans for myself, like you suggested--I have heard of teachers who have a sub binder with different activities for each subject depending on the month, but last year was only my 2nd year teaching so I'm not quite that organized yet. However, because kindergartners come in with virtually no skills and grow so much, I needed some differentiation.

I wrote generic plans for the things that could stay the same all year (i.e. workshop and center routines, lunch, recess, pack up, etc), and then underneath the basics, I put bullet points with the differences for different times of year, and occasionally the title of a different worksheet/lesson plan included elsewhere in my folder that corresponded.

For instance, I wrote my Reader's Workshop routine in a generic way, but noted that from August-October, I only wanted them to sit and read independently for 7-8 minutes, then the rest of the time with a buddy or as a class--then from October-May, they could read independently for 20 minutes and read with a buddy for 10. I did math in a similar way, including activities and games that they would be able to play early on in the year, then noting other things that they should do from January-May. For Writer's Workshop, I said that they could either work on whatever piece we were currently working on as a class, or just write something of their choice. That works all year round.

For specials, I wrote out the routine for each afternoon since we have a slightly different specials schedule every day. That way a sub can just glance at the current day--and it also makes it easy for me to write plans for an absence I know about, because I can just copy and paste!

Finally, on my class roster, I made sure to note nicknames next to full names, and on my roster in my emergency folder, I colored pink or blue crayon over each name to indicate boy or girl and I keep a running tally of how many boys vs how many girls I have, in order to make it quicker for the sub to see who (if anyone) might be missing. I always note the date that my folder was most recently updated so subs will know it's current.