Wednesday, January 2, 2019

How to stock your Teaching Toolbox

Just because you may be traveling to a different school or classroom every day that you are assigned a job, doesn’t mean that you can’t be prepared with a few tricks up your sleeve. Of course, it’s much easier when there are lesson plans left in the classroom, but that is not always the case. And as a sub, you still must be able to keep the class focused and on task. No matter what grade level or subject for which you are the guest teacher, it is always good to have a range of teaching activitiesand fillers for students to do when there are no plans or students finish early. Check out what our good friends over at STEDI have for activities to print out and keep in your teaching toolbox. They are a great place to start looking when you need ideas for classroom activities.

In addition to having activities on hand, should you need them, always keep your toolbox stocked with supplies that you may need. Bring a selection or sharpened pencils (graphite and colored), ball point pens (in blue, black and red), dry erase markers and make sure they all have your name on them so that you are sure to get them back if they are loaned out to students. Tape, scissors and glue are useful to have on hand. However, you may want to avoid loaning these things out as a safety precaution, especially in elementary classrooms. Post-its, rulers and calculators always come in handy, as well.

Some subs find it makes their day and the students’ day much smoother when the students are given name tags. Keeping some blank name tags in your toolbox wouldn’t hurt either.

You should always have blank copies of our ‘Welcome Back’ letter so that you can let the teacher know how the day went and where you left off. These can be found when you log into your Teachers on Reserve profile.

Last but not least, unless you’ve subbed for a physical education class on a full football field with 30 students, you’ll never fully appreciate the benefits of your own whistle.

Oh yeah! And don’t forget your TOR badge! It serves as your hall pass and identifies you to everyone you encounter on campus. So stock up that Toolbox and happy teaching! Follow us on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook to tell us what else YOU like to keep in your Teaching Toolbox!

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Shakespeare's Hamlet: The WORST substitute teacher EVER still offers some good advice.

Indecision...Irritability...Irrationality...We would never hire this guy as a Substitute Teacher. The melancholy Dane wouldn't even get halfway through a Teachers On Reserve job interview. He clearly doesn't have the right temperament for substitute teaching, but he drops at least one pearl of wisdom in Act V that we'd like to pass on...

If it be not now, yet it will
come—the readiness is all. -- Hamlet, Act V scene ii

In the subbing business, readiness equals success. Your job, as a substitute starts before you get the call and ends after the last bell rings. You may not be called every day of every week but to be the best substitute you can be, here are some tips for making your teaching day as successful as possible include some simple preparations. 

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HOW TO GET TO THE SCHOOL! It would be great if subs had a day or two to plot their route to a new school but in many cases you have just a few minutes to get out the door. Making sure that you have a reliable GPS system (got a smart phone?) or even a good old-fashioned map of your area ensures you’ll arrive with time to get settled and review the lesson plan. In addition, your punctuality instills confidence in the staff, faculty and students that you know how to be a professional teacher. 
Googlemaps is almost always a reliable choice but a free app like WAZE can plot your route while taking current traffic into consideration

We all hope that there will be lesson plans when we walk into the classroom but, in many cases, there aren’t.  It’s up to you to have relevant and engaging material for your students. Keeping your “Teaching Tool Box” up to date can make days like this a breeze. Having activities that pertain to a range of grade levels and a range of subjects will mean that you aren’t scrambling to fill time. Our substitute teacher training partner, STEDI has a great collection of classroom activity suggestions! 

Don’t forget to bring along a blank 'progress report' (at TOR, we call it a ‘Welcome Back Letter') to leave behind at the day's end. This shows the full-time teacher that you take your job seriously, keep him/her informed of where to pick up in the lesson and it is a great way to get yourself on the Teacher’s ‘preferred’ or ‘requested’ list…that means more work for you!

Take care of the basics. Get yourself ready yourself for classroom success. The readiness is all.

P.S. for more awesome Shakespearean learning ideas, follow this GREAT blog!

Thursday, November 15, 2018


During American Education Week, Americans nationwide are joining the National Education Association (NEA) in raising awareness about the need to provide every child with a quality education. The celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great schools. 

It also reflects NEA's vision of calling upon America to provide school students with quality schools so that they can grow and achieve in the 21st century.

To further reinforce American Education Week's theme, each day of the week will spotlight the different people who are critical in building great schools for the nation's 50 million K-12 students. 

Tomorrow is especially important to TOR...

Friday, November 16: Substitute Educators Day. This day honors the educators who are called upon to replace regularly employed teachers.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Thanksgiving Activities

Holidays are always fun in the classroom and Thanksgiving is no exception.  It’s a chance to explore different cultures and do something a little different that day. 

Crafts are great ways for a substitute to fill time if there are no lesson plans or the lesson plans are completed early and there are many thanksgiving crafts for kids. A favorite of ours involves bringing a pre-made turkey body (either out of construction paper or light foam) along with colorful construction paper cut into feathers. Have each student write what they’re thankful for on a feather. Then stick each feather into the turkey creating a colorful tail and a unified piece of art work!   You can also distribute colorful pieces of paper and have each student write a thank you note to a friend or family member.

Not only do activities like this help a substitute to keep students engaged but they make a wonderful ‘welcome back’ gift for the returning teacher!

*Please remember to keep in mind that not every school celebrates holidays in the same way.  Prior to engaging in holiday activities make sure to check and see how the holiday is handled by the school.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

I'm finally giving George Lucas a pass on Jar Jar Binks...

...and forgiving him for the Ewoks and the Battle of Endor.

Here's the best reason to take it easy on George:

It's an awesome site.

Since the 1990's, his educational foundation has been dedicated to telling the stories of what actually works in education.

Here's a great piece from by Ben Johnson on student engagement - Great Teachers Don't Teach.

It's about:

  • Stacking the deck in your students' favor
  • Firing them up
  • Getting out of their way

Enjoy that summer break!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So, here's the TRUTH about teaching in California. .

There’s a statewide SHORTAGE OF SUBS & FULL-TIME TEACHERS because…
In 2009…
  • Economy freaked out.
  • Jobs were cut.
In 2016…
  • Economy improves.
  • Schools now hiring.
Why should I care?
You should be teaching with Teachers On Reserve RIGHT NOW…because YOU are a TEACHER .

You are:
  • An old pro
  • A new pro
  • A pro-in-training
  • A diamond in the rough…

2014-2015 was the busiest school year EVER for us.



Teachers On Reserve acts like a district sub pool for the schools that don't have one. We match your strengths and availability with our client school's needs and then you get to be BRILLIANT.

We invite you to jump into our Sub Pool. Right NOW is the time to take the plunge for this school year. Get hired, get known and be ready for temp or perm teaching, whichever works for you.

We'll help you prepare and call you with jobs. We'll pay you for saving the day and even give you a BONUS FOR COMPLETING TRAINING THAT BOOSTS CLASSROOM SUCCESS.

You’re looking at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to GET YOUR FOOT IN THE RIGHT DOOR. Whether you’ve got a current CA Teaching Credential, a pending credential, an expired credential, an out-of-state credential or NO CREDENTIAL – we have client schools that need you.

Don’t sit on the fence.

Schools can’t wait…kids can’t wait…YOU can’t wait. The pendulum is going swing back soon and this fleeting employment extravaganza will go the way of Halley’s Comet and Brigadoon.

Hey, I can get a job on my own…
True, you may be able snag one on your own. We’ll be the first to congratulate you – but wouldn’t you rather have the chance to pick from two options or maybe even FOUR options? We can connect you with more schools than you can wrangle on your own.

Are there other companies I could work with?
Yep, glad you asked. Feel free to check them out…CAREFULLY. You can even work for them AND us at the same time…because this is AMERICA.

Keep this in mind though:
We are the OLDEST and MOST RESPECTED sub agency in California – and they are trying to mimic a process that we INVENTED.

Those Johnny-come-latelies would KILL for a client list as LONG and DEEP as ours. We’ve got the oldest Private Schools AND the newest Charter Schools. We work with many schools that don’t place a single ad…EVER. They simply call us and we handle the rest. NOBODY has a list like ours. If you’re looking to TURN THE ODDS IN YOUR FAVOR during this teacher shortage, you owe it to yourself to check us out.

If you already work for a school district or another agency, we’re betting that you’re not entirely happy or busy or both (you are, after all, reading this ad). You should apply at . You won’t be the first teacher who’s turned to us for:
  • Assignments CLOSER TO HOME
  • Schools OUTSIDE the traditional public system
  • A company, owned and run by EDUCATORS, that actually HIRES you – we won’t call you an “independent contractor” just to dodge the taxman.
Teachers On Reserve is hiring in East LA, West LA, South LA, Central LA, Downtown, Mid City, Gardena, The San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster,THE ENTIRE GREATER LA REGION. We need PRE-K and K-12 TEACHERS, CREDENTIALED AND NON-CREDENTIALED, for ALL GRADES, ALL SUBJECTS.


  • 401k Plan
  • Paid sick leave
  • Weekly paychecks
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Consistent pay raises
  • Teacher referral bonuses
  • Long-term assignment bonuses
  • Choice of where you want to work
  • Reimbursement of credential fees
  • Experience in a variety of educational settings
  • Connections that can lead to permanent positions
  • Competitive wages – WE JUST RAISED OUR PAY RATES!
You'll need a Bachelor's Degree for K-12th grade (or Child Development Units for Preschool). If you're ALSO a great communicator, classroom manager and really ENJOY teaching, then you're our next interview.

The truth is, if you go through us, your chances of finding the right place for you as a California teacher have NEVER BEEN BETTER than RIGHT NOW.


Apply at ...RIGHT NOW.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summers off? Yeah, right!

Here, at Teachers on Reserve, we know that teaching is a year-round job and one of the most important jobs out there. Upworthy gets that too! Next time you hear someone talking about teaching being an easy job with 3 months off, show them this!

How a year of teaching REALLY breaks down...