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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