This is the first of a few posts that I have been thinking about writing for the past month or so. I am hoping to post them throughout the week. I have been substitute teaching since our adventure in Pennsylvania begun in mid to lat January. Even while living in a hotel, it has been important to me to always be prepared ESPECIALLY as a substitute. I really have felt the need to be prepared to receive some of the worst behavior in the building and not be phased by it, but also to, in turn, demand behavior from young men and women who are expected to become productive members of society in the very near future! Manners an decorum are still important.
I have been substituting in one building in an urban area of Pittsburgh since the end of January and have learned so much about managing and prepping a classroom as a guest teacher and I would really like to share what is in my Substitute Tote Bag with you all.
It has truly been a compliment that the sixth grade teachers at the K-6 elementary school that I have been teaching at as a building substitute for the past month call me the “Super Sub”. The students throughout the building generally treat me with respect and listen well. It does take them a little bit to realize that I do know what I am talking about when it comes to learning! As long as I realize that and keep it in perspective, they students come around. Even if it takes a few days. I have been everywhere, from music class to kindergarten to 6th grade classes. I sincerely think that some of the success I have had during these past couple of months is because I am armed with all of the ‘things’ that subs need everyday to counteract the whines of “I don’t have a peeeencil!” Here is the rundown of everything that I haul in my Marry Poppins Tote every day.
Here are the 9 things that every substitute needs in their subbing kit. Pictured are everything I bring. Most of this has been purchased for my own classroom in the past and the Dollar Tree.
1. Extra pencils, pens, and erasers
I have honestly gone through at least 20 pencils. I do give them to the students to borrow. if it only takes a pencil for the day to be successful for each learner, I will donate a dollar ever few days at the Dollar Tree to the good of the cause and come armed with pencils. I need to cover them with washi tape or something because they never make their way back to me. I will let ya’ll know how this works. I will try this strategy…
2. Extra Expo Markers
Not all teachers have chalkboards anymore, or even very functional dry erase markers. I always like to have my own, just in case. I wrote my last name on the physical markers themselves to ensure that I only take my own back at the end of the day.
3. Sub Report Template
I found a cute template that I print and leave for each instructor that I substitute as a guest teacher for on Teachers Pay Teachers at this link. I get lots of compliments on it from the teachers in the building. I also tend to create a check box on every action item on the lesson plan, so that the instructor’s substitute plans become a to-do list.
4. Some fun stickers: I am currently using some Minions and emoji stickers!
You would be absolutely amazed at the power of a simple sticker at the end of a successful class period. Students love them. I enjoy giving specific, measurable feedback as to why they have earned a sticker, or not earned a sticker as privately as possible.
5. Clorox Wipes
It is always necessary to leave a classroom as clean as it was when you arrived. I enjoy cleaning up the desks after a long, productive day with the students.
6. A Clipboard that is Distinctly YOU
I put all of the grading keys to workbook pages, lesson plans, a few pieces of notebook paper, the school map, class rosters, and phone extensions on my clipboard. This way, if we walk across the school or have an emergency drill, I know I have everything I need to take a timely and accurate count of the students I have that day. It’s all about the safety, people! Mine is from Erin Condren and has my name printed on it, so it does not grow legs. If you are on a budget and want a distinctive clipboard that is all yours, you can tie some ribbons to the clip, decoupage it, or spray paint it a bright color!
7. Personal Essentials
The climate in a school is usually extreme. It is a rare day that I am actually in a fairly climatized classroom. I am usually either very hot or very cold. So in addition to dressing in layers, I bring in some personal essentials to maintain my personal appearance and well-being throughout the day. They are: hand cream, tissues, chapstick, feminine hygiene products, and mints!
8. Business Cards
I always leave a business card with my cell phone number and email address with the instructor I subbed for at the end of the day stapled to my filled out substitute report. This way, instructors can contact me with any questions they have about what got finished, disciplinary issues that may have arisen, or to request to have me fill in for them again!
9. Erin Condren Teacher Planner
I will dedicate an entire post in the very near future to how I use my Erin Condren Teacher Planner to keep track of my organization, pay periods, and specific classroom assignments. Stay tuned for this post tomorrow!
Things I don’t have yet, but need to add to my subbing tote this weekend:
- Non-latex gloves (in case of fluid spills)
- Dollar store pencil sharpeners
- Whistle (for recess duty)