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Start the Day Off Right to Be Successful in Subbing
The first 30 minutes of a school day. That's the most critical time for a substitute teacher, especially in a new classroom. As a sub you walk into brand new situations almost every single day. Every day can be like the first day of school. You don't know the students, the teacher, or the way things are run. And you don't know what you will be teaching so there is little prep time. You have to hope the teacher has left clear instructions and everything you need for the day... or that you have brought enough to make it through if good plans are not left for you. It is tricky at best... and a disaster at worst.
I have found that what happens in the first 30 minutes of the day sets the tone for how your whole day will run. Will it be smooth sailing as you work through lesson plans and assist students? Or will it be a day-long struggle dealing with conflict after conflict in the classroom?
As a sub you must make sure you appear firm bordering on strict without the students thinking you are the Substitute from the Black Lagoon. Generally it is easier to start off strict and loosen up as the day progresses. You must also seem friendly, caring, and inviting without the students taking advantage of your kindness and pushing you around. One of my favorite subbing phrases (and I say it with a smile on my face and maybe even laughing a little) is, "Nice try!"
First and foremost, you must always give the illusion of being in control and knowing what you are doing... even if inside you are panicked and have not a clue what is going on. If not, who knows what chaos might erupt! Visit Sub Hub to read my post on setting the tone of the day early for more details.