Question Detail

I am a substitute teacher. How do use effective classroom management as a substitute teacher?

Mar 19, 2016 8:43am

I am special education certified and I am currently working on my masters in secondary teaching. I plan to be either a middle or high school teacher. I am currently a substitute teacher and I find it difficult to keep my students on task. I also find it difficult to implement discipline and classroom that is not mine. I need help.

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    • Mar 19, 2016 12:38pm

      I think subs often miss the opportunity to "out-cool" the teachers students see every day. Subs have the potential to bring something awesome and special to a classroom. I think subs should teach "out of the box."

      For example:

      Begin a lesson unannounced. Don't say a word. Don't act like a sub. Hang a sign on the board that says, "Hello. I'm Ms. Heresmyname." Next, hang an engaging photo followed by a sentence strip with dialogue, vocabulary, or some other interesting text related material. Finally, begin talking to students by responding to their questions. Let them "hook" themselves.

      This method can be used for any subject, including math. Don't expect all students to respond the same way. Differentiate by allowing some to discuss, others to write, and still others to illustrate.

      Be special. Be different. Help students to discover something new in a new way.

      • Mar 22, 2016 3:25am

        I have worked as a sub and keeping students on task is a challenge if you are not their regular teacher. In my role as a sub, I remember thinking that I am there to make their regular classroom teacher look good/better. That means by the duty's end, students should be missing their regular teacher more. Of course there's nothing wrong with receiving compliments from EAs or from the students themselves. I like it when the regular teacher leaves general instructions like "To keep them on task make sure that you say or do..." But at least 99% of the time, no teacher does this. And you know why. So in cases like that, I make sure that I'm clear with all expectations and consequences. So in general, I instruct students that if they got tasks done either on their own or in teams then I would write good things about them. This works 50% of the time which is not a lot of return. But it's enough to get others motivated to jump into the bandwagon. And for those that don't buy into this, I would explain the negative consequences. This may mean making an example of someone who is not on task. Just be ready to be perceived as a "mean" substitute but this will send the message that you mean business while keeping fair because there are students who are really there to be serious. They deserve an environment that is orderly and safe.

        • Mar 27, 2016 6:58pm

          I am a middle school sub as well. What I did my first time in a school I set a standard that I may not be their regular teacher, but I demand the same respect and bad behavior will not be tolerated. They know I will be leaving their names for the teacher (school standard is detention if disrespectful with the sub) and will inform the team of their behavior. It usually works. obviously some don't care and I send them to the office. I do keep a folder of word searches to keep them busy if they are done early.

          • Apr 12, 2016 6:10am

            We use Safe & Civil Schools positive discipline in our district. CHAMPs is a tried and true practice of setting up your expectations ahead of time that works for secondary students.