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How to Plan for a Sub (So You Can Take a Day Off)

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Show Notes:

Have you ever been sick, but still showed up to teach anyway?

I'm guessing the answer is yes! Teachers do this so often, and it’s usually for one of two reasons. They feel like it’s easier to go in than it is to try and put together sub plans (even when they’re feeling awful!) or they feel guilty for calling in sick…especially with the current sub shortage.

Our guest today, Kelsey Sorenson, is here to encourage you to change your thought process around taking a day off. 

Kelsey Sorenson is a former third grade teacher and substitute teacher. She is now a homeschool mom to 3 kids and owner of Wife Teacher Mommy, where she and her team serve Pre-K through 6th grade teachers. Wife Teacher Mommy has been featured on We are Teachers, Teachers pay Teachers, Jane, Etsy, Food Network, CBC, Fox, and NBC. 

Kelsey and her team have helped hundreds of thousands of educators cut down planning time and balance the many roles in their lives with her time-saving resources, blogs, teacher life coaching program, Educate & Rejuvenate events, and Wife Teacher Mommy: The Podcast. 

I love this conversation with Kelsey because if there’s one thing in particular that I could share with you that I wish I had done more of when I first started teaching, it’s taking time off when you need it. 

When you are in the first few years of teaching, you’re experiencing the steepest learning curve that you’ll probably ever experience in your life. Give yourself the super important gift of time and freedom when you need it. It doesn’t have to just be when you have a dentist or doctor’s appointment. It doesn’t have to be when you’re sick. You need those "just because" days off to restore your sanity and give yourself a mental break. 

These mental health days can prevent a lot of the burnout and illness that so many of us experience in our first few years of teaching. We push ourselves way beyond what we should be pushing ourselves to, which is why we get sick. 

I know what you may be thinking though. Taking a day off is so much work! It takes me forever to write sub plans. What if my class has terrible behavior and the sub never wants to come back? 

Kelsey is going to answer all of these questions and ease your concerns. She’ll share how you can plan for a sub ahead of time so that you can actually take a day off whether it’s an expected day off or not. You will also hear exactly how to prepare your students for your absence, and how you can ensure that your sub feels welcome and will want to return in the future.

If you are getting really tired and if you have been resisting getting ready for a sub and taking a day off, I know this episode is going to be helpful for you. Remember that taking time for yourself to refuel will benefit you and your students!

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • Helpful advice for teachers who are feeling guilty about taking a day off.
  • Two important parts of planning ahead of time for a substitute teacher.
  • How you can empower substitute teachers to actually teach content, rather than just giving them busy work.
  • Recommendations of what to include in a sub binder, so that your students still follow your regular routines and procedures.
  • How to prepare your students for a substitute so they are ready whether your absence is planned or not.

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

Connect with Kelsey:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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