Day 73/180: Things that a long-term sub should do
To go with my list of information for long-term subs, here’s some advice for people starting a long-term assignment, as long as you’re lucky enough to be in contact with the teacher you’re replacing.
- When hired, know when your start and end dates are. Seriously, this was an issue for me.
- Meet the principal and vice principals within the first week. Yes, it’s your prep period, but it’ll serve you well later.
- If the teacher will be returning during the school year, find out what kinds of classroom procedures they want you to maintain. Keeping procedures is actually probably a good thing for the students, who won’t have to get used to another set of standards and grading schemes, and have to switch back when the teacher returns. Although possibly a pain for you, it also lets you try on something new and see how you like it.
- If you don’t want to keep the teacher’s policies, ask if it’s okay before you change things. They’ll have to deal with aftermath later (whether good or bad), and they’d probably like a heads-up first.
- While you’ll probably have to ask where things are located, also don’t be afraid to ask how other classrooms run, or departmental policies.
- Know procedural stuff, like whether to call or email counselors or parents when kids need some encouragement.
- Get to know the person who knows things, usually the head secretary or the squeaky wheel in the department. They’ll be able to tell you who to talk to for anything, and put you in touch with the right people for purchases, who to call when sick, what kind of paperwork you do (and don’t) have to file, and so on.
- At the end of your assignment, bring cookies to your coworkers, the amazing office secretary, and the custodial staff (actually, teachers should do this anyway… custodians do a lot of icky work).
- Write a wrap-up file, including notes on kids who are succeeding and slipping, kids who’ve recently dropped the class (and why), any recent emails regarding kids, class behaviors and moods and habits, any deals struck with kids. Basically, all the stuff you’ve learned about individuals in the room during your tenure.
- During the last week or so, ask a few people to write recommendation letters for you, especially if you intend on applying for full-time employment later.
- Finally, write everyone thank you notes. This includes your coworkers, the principal, close work partners (like IA/EAs, any counselors you had extensive work with), and the department chair. Also include your contact info and/or business card so they can contact you again.