One request that any regularly working guest teacher will ask all teachers that they sub for: please, please, please have plans for your classes or departmental subjects. It’s not that we’re not educators who can’t jump in and take up the reins, but with your plans in place, it makes the day easier for students and adults alike.
I knew it was going to be a bad day when, upon entering the classroom, not finding any plans or guidelines for the day or even a series of days. I know that emergencies do occur, but having been in a classroom situation, I had to leave a week of Emergency Plans with my assistant principal just in that event.
About one out of every five assignments that I had last year, was a classroom without any plans to follow. That meant asking the kids—who didn’t always know, trying to find out from a teacher colleague, and finally, pulling out of the famed “bag of tricks” to keep the kids occupied, and only swing from the ceiling 20% of the day. To make matters worse, if there were no preps like gym, library, etc. scheduled for the day, it was like cabin fever with 28 or more unwilling residents.
One of the most interesting days I had w/o plans was with a kindergarten of 29 students in October, right before Halloween. Right after lunch, they collectively got cranky, and tired, so the afternoon was very challenging, as the scheduled prep, gym, was cancelled. That went over like a leaden balloon, so frustration paired with boredom created an “angry mob” of 6-year olds who, not only missed their regular teacher, but had their routine upset. Not a good day at all.
When the kids sense that you don’t know what’s going on—they make sure to pick that up and run with it—doing everything in their power to try [the operative word here is try] to stress you out. At least by knowing where the bathrooms are, when the bathroom breaks and lunch times are scheduled, and a barebones outline of what’s happening would make things a little easier.
Again, on behalf of all the guests teachers out there—leave us something to go on, so upon your return, there won’t be such a struggle to return to “normal.”