Monday, April 25, 2016

3 Stress Relieving Tips for Long Term Sub Plans

Getting ready for a substitute is really a pain.  As a teacher, it’s one of those things where you think, “Am I really that sick........I’m not dying............ NAH, it’s not worth ALL the extra prep.” However, sometimes you have no other choice. I recently was put into a position where I had to prepare sub plans for a long term leave.  I did my usual 14 pages (Yes I “may” be a little obsessive that everything goes how I want it to go.....) of details on how we run our classroom, where everything is located, what the students are expected to do and when they are expected to do it, which students to keep close, which students could lead the class, which students have health issues........ this list goes on and on (as I am sure you know). Of course, after that I still had to write all of the detailed plans on each lesson for every subject.  At this point I realized how much of a control freak I am when it comes to my class and think to myself, “I know this sub is good (because I hand picked her), however she is not me. Soooooo, how can I make it easier for her to connect to my kiddos quickly?” Then, it dawned on me............ just show her the language I use and the format I may use for teaching and learning. This way at least some parts of the day are already familiar to my kiddos. Here are 3 tips that have helped me feel at ease:
1. I wrote my plans so that each day of the week they were doing the same type of activities but using different texts/skills for each subject. For example:

2. I made interchangeable Anchor Charts. First, I pre-made each Anchor Chart with the teaching point at the top and any important learning points that wouldn’t change no matter what the subject.

Then I used regular paper and Elmer’s repositionable glue to add the pages that the substitute would actually be writing on. 


All she had to do was read the book, use the teaching point I had already written, then model the skill by changing out the colored paper according to the different answers for each text.

3. When your up to it, Facetime or Skype your kiddos.  I have done this with the kiddos in my classroom while I have been out. It has lifted their spirits and mine. It also shows that even though I am out of the room I am still a part of their learning, their lives, and I am in touch with the sub. So I still know everything!

Do you have any other tips we could add to this list to ease the amazingly stressful substitute planning? I would love to hear them!

See ya next time in paradise!


  1. Isn't Skype great!!! Awesome idea using the Anchor Charts and the Elmer’s repositionable glue. So SMART!!! Rest up and follow doctor's orders and you will be up and around in no time!!

  2. These are wonderful ideas, Cara! You are a ROCK STAR teacher!

  3. Thanks ladies! I am really missing being in the classroom!

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