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Preparing Your Students for a Sub

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Show Notes:

There are times throughout the school year when you have to be out of your classroom and will have a substitute in your room for the day. When that time comes, you may be prepared and leave all the right materials and lesson plans, but have you prepared your students for a sub? Sometimes that’s the missing key to making sure your sub has a good experience and your students' behavior is what you’d expect.

When there's a substitute, students often feel like it’s an opportunity to misbehave and not necessarily treat the sub with the same kindness and respect we’d want. So while I’ve done many episodes on preparing for subs, I wanted to address the other side on how to prepare your students. I have many years of experience and have tried a variety of things, so I want to provide you with ideas to choose from for your own classroom.

We know that behavior issues arise when students don’t have something constructive or engaging to work on, so many ideas include emergency activities and seasonal activities keep them interested and on task. Additionally, establishing clear routines and expectations make it easier for a sub to step in whenever you’re out of the classroom. I also provide different ways to establish reward systems as well as consequences for misbehaving. 

Make part of your preparation for a sub letting students know in advance your expectations and what positive rewards or consequences could await them when you return. We all have our unique teaching styles, preferences, and classroom management systems, so I want to share as many ideas to address each of those elements while you have substitute teachers in your room. 

If you haven’t signed up yet, join me in a free event I’m hosting that’s your go-to classroom management reset. The event is called Your Classroom Management Reset: Love Teaching More in 2024 and is open from December 26, 2023 - December 30, 2023. I share how you can get intentional about saving time and energy and removing the overwhelm in all areas of managing your classroom in 2024. Join today!

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

  • Why it’s important to prepare your students when you have substitute teachers and ideas you can implement.
  • How to prevent negative behaviors from happening, especially with engaging activities.
  • Ways to hold your students accountable with both a reward system and consequences.
  • How to show the importance of respecting the substitute and following the rules.

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

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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