Subs Know When You’re Being Crappy

Posted Eureka Lessons Blog

If by 2:50pm your sub observed the following 3 classroom blunders, they think you're a crappy teacher.

Bare Bones Instructions for the Incapable Sub

Poor Sub Instructions

What some teachers need to realize is that sub days aren't "wasted days".  In fact, no instructional day should be wasted.  Like regular teachers, subs are college-educated, experienced (or at the very least newly credentialed), and trained in the classroom.  Don't leave busy work that everyone knows won't count for anything.  Trust them with your real lesson plans.  They can handle them.

A Dirty Whiteboard

Dirty Whiteboard

If the agenda on the whiteboard is dated September and it's already April, that's crappy.  When teachers don't maintain their whiteboards they appear disorganized, inconsistent and the principal probably gives them stink eye every time he/she pops in.  Upon entering the room, students should be able to read the date, agenda, objective (or some measurable goal), instructions and homework.  Written (as opposed to verbal) instructions eliminate any reason for students to be off task or talk to their neighbors about what they're supposed to be doing.  I know, I know, teachers have last minute copies to make and stupid Jill always hogs the good copier every morning even though she has a first period prep and there's just no time to get stuff up on the board before the bell rings.  Doesn't matter.  Wake up earlier.  Tape a false "Broken" sign on the copier to get to it first.  Whatever it takes- just get that board done, teachers!

Bad Student Behavior

Unhelpful Teacher

In my first year of teaching, I was ashamed that I couldn't get my students to listen for just 1 freaking minute, that at least 10 times per day, I had to call the dean's office to pick up a misbehaving student.  So ashamed in fact, I hid that information from my subs.  I wanted them to believe that if the kids were being bad, it was their fault, not mine.  it didn't pan out well.  I usually returned to nasty feedback and passive-aggressive suggestions on classroom management strategies I should really try.  One sub flat out refused to cover for me for future assignments.  The problem wasn't with the students.  It was about my lack of honesty.

If you're a new teacher and your classroom management sucks, don't forget to mention it to the sub.  We've all been there and we're not going to judge.  Subs just want to know what they're getting into is all.  I once subbed for an amazing kindergarten teacher who provided a detailed lesson plan and the most ridiculously helpful seating chart.  It was color coded for behavior problems and it even came with a list of individualized solutions for outbursts.  Sure, the kids were absolutely insane that day but I prepared for it and therefore didn't really mind it.

In addition to honesty, I think subs could use some trust and respect.  They aren't out to steal things (okay if you leave candy in your desk drawers, they might take a piece or 5) or lower your students' IQ.  Most subs I know are intelligent, good and honest people who genuinely want to be in the classroom to make a difference, just like regular teachers.  So go ahead, unlock the projector and leave behind some decent lesson plans.  It would really make a sub's day.  If that's not enough motivation to be kind to subs, remember this: some vindictive ones leave poor marks for the regular teacher and even tattle to the principal.  Even worse are the starry-eyed fresh new grads, trained in all the new techie stuff, full of energy and youthful idealism.  Remember you 10 years ago?  They're gunning for your job.  Step up the teaching game, avoid these 3 crappy traits and I guarantee these young punks won't get anywhere near your 403(b).