Toeing the Line When Teachers are Absent

Substitute teachers, I appreciate you and your efforts. They do the impossible. There was the English teacher who gamely subbed for my science class after the birth of my boy. I came back after three weeks, because there was no other option in my rural locale.

You can’t make this stuff up.

But I also know that seesaw that kids walk as the teacher prepares them for a substitute. Preparing them used to go something like this:

“Hey, I will be gone for a couple of days for a funeral.”
“Mapowell, we’re so sorry.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it. Now let’s talk about what will happen when I’m gone…”

<extended conversation>


What absolutely, positively has to be in that conversation?

  • How will you respond if or when you get that email or text from one of your students in an age of digital media?
  • How do you communicate with the substitute and the students so the time is utilized effectively?
  • What is your plan to ensure a good experience for the subsitute (classroom guest)?
  • How will you debrief and learn from the students?



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