Substitute teaching can be a wonderful “sometimes” job for many people. It’s a great way to learn more about teaching, particularly if you think you might be interested in teaching full time. By substituting, you can try out a variety.
The crucial role that substitute teachers play cannot be overstated. They step in to ensure that learning continues uninterrupted. However, as they report to classes, the substitute teachers encounter hardships. For example, they may be unable to build on what the regular teacher had accomplished. If the challenges that the substitute teachers are not addressed in good time, they could frustrate the learning process. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies that the substitute teachers can adopt to tackle the challenges and guarantee a fulfilling experience for their students. Listed and discussed below are 20 of the most important tips that substitute teachers should remember:
- Listen to students: In order to succeed, substitute teachers should be keen as they listen to their students. In particular, they should attempt to understand student needs and how they can meet them. More importantly, the substitute teacher should endeavor to ensure consistency between what they teach and the regular teacher’s program.
- Leave notes for regular teacher: To ensure continuity, the substitute teacher should leave detailed notes upon the conclusion of their assignment. The notes should include such issues as the progress that the students have made and any matter that requires further attention. By leaving notes, the substitute teacher also helps the regular teacher to maintain the set momentum.
- Strive to learn about students: If they are to connect with students, the substitute teachers need to take time to learn about their students. They should ensure that they have a full understanding of the learning needs and preferred styles of individual students. The information that the substitute teacher obtains allows them to deliver tailored and personalized attention to each student.
- Engage students: A classroom is only impactful when students feel engaged. Substitute teachers should strive to ensure that all students feel engaged and connect with the learning process. Engagement can be achieved by learning about the needs of the students.
- Ensure all assignments are graded: As part of their efforts to ensure continuity in learning, the substitute teachers need to grade all assignments that they issue. The grading also allows them to establish the impact that they have had on students.
- Understand your students: No substitute teacher can succeed if they do not have a clear and thorough understanding of their students. Before they begin their lessons, substitute teachers should speak with students with the aim of understanding how they will respond to their presence.
- Collaborate with other teachers: Serving as a substitute teacher can be daunting. To improve the experience, substitute teachers should work closely with other teachers. For example, they can rely on fellow teachers for information about how to deal with difficult students.
- Carry own supplies: While schools usually provide supplies, substitute teachers should carry their own. Having their own supplies ensures that the learning process is not frustrated by inadequate or absent supplies.
- Reward students who display proper conduct: Substitute teachers should understand the role of incentive in the learning process. Whenever their students demonstrate good behavior, the teachers should issue rewards. The rewards could take the form of praise.
- Create a fun classroom: A fun classroom goes a long way in easing the anxiety that both students and substitute teachers experience. Introducing games into learning is one of the simple yet highly effective strategies that the teachers can implement to make the classroom more fun.
- Accommodate any and all special needs: Substitute teachers have an obligation to serve all students. In fulfilling this duty, the teachers should give greater attention to students with special needs. They should go out of their way to accommodate their needs. For instance, for students with visual impairments, the substitute teachers could introduce visual aids.
- Maintain tight grip and control: Many substitute teachers struggle to maintain control of their classes. It is advised that the teachers should be resolute and serious in their engagement with students.
- Establish boundaries: Some substitute teachers make the mistake of becoming too friendly with their students. Such behavior undermines the teacher and eliminates the structure that the classroom needs for learning to occur. Substitute teachers should set clear and definite boundaries that are not to breached.
- Stay clear of confrontations: While conflicts with students can enhance learning, substitute teachers should try as much as they can to avoid confrontations. Allowed to fester, confrontations can distract from learning.
- Enforce discipline: When they begin their assignments, substitute teachers should expect their students to violate established rules. This behavior can create conditions that hamper learning. The substitute teacher should remind students of the rules and make it clear that violations will not be tolerated.
- Mind your dressing: For substitute teachers who do not have a deep understanding of the climatic conditions in the school where they are deployed, appropriate dressing is crucial. It is advised that the teachers should where clothing that allows them to withstand a variety of temperature conditions. Additionally, the teachers should ensure that their dressing is decent and in line with established dress codes.
- Keep open mind: Since they can be asked to step in for any teacher, substitute teachers should keep an open mind. They should not refuse to work in particular schools. In fact, when they agree to serve in schools that cause them discomfort, the substitute teachers allow themselves to grow and expand.
- Exhibit boldness: Given that their roles can be intimidating and frightening, substitute teachers should be bold. They should also adopt practical approaches that ease their experiences.
- Adopt a flexible approach: Substitute teachers should be flexible in their teaching approaches. They should ensure that their teaching methods are aligned with the needs and circumstances of their students.
- Collect feedback: Lastly, at the end of their assignment, substitute teachers should collect feedback from their students and fellow teachers. The feedback enables the teachers to understand how well they have performed.
It is true that the tips listed above do not guarantee success. However, when combined with good judgment, these tips will undoubtedly amplify the impact that the teachers have on their students. Therefore, substitute teachers are encouraged to include the 20 tips in their strategies.