Today, I took a job at a school for a 4th grade class – no big deal.
However, when I got to the classroom, I didn’t see any plans for the day. Looked on the desk, the reading table, etc., and not a guideline or directive in sight. By then, the class arrived, and after settling in, I buzzed the office, asking for emergency plans. The reply was that there weren’t any. Okaaaay……no plans in the room, no emergency plans, no posted schedule, no colleague teacher support. Quickly going through my mental file cabinet, I came up with something creative that got us through the day, but here’s my open letter:
1. PLEASE PLEASE prepare for any possible absences by having emergency plans available. Make sure that they’re not just time-wasters of word searches, and quick fill in the blanks. I’ve known many administrators to require a week’s worth of resources , just in case.
2. If you don’t have that ready, be willing to e-mail and/or fax the school something that will ensure a productive day(s), keeping with your original plans. Once, I had a teacher e-mail his plan for that day, plus he sent worksheet and activity attachments to be copied.
3. Supply clear instructions, along with what students to rely on, and whom to be aware of questionable behavior. If allowed, phone numbers are welcome, too. Don’t hesitate to share the reward and discipline procedures.
4. You may know your routine in your head, but I don’t. Please post it somewhere handy. It’s easier to get through the day, especially when a 1st grader doesn’t know when it’s actually time for lunch or washroom break.
Sure, it’s common sense, but sometimes in the wake of unplanned absences, this aspect gets lost in the shuffle. As a guest teacher, it’s my job to maintain your routine as closely as possible, not create more upset. Seeing a different face is stressful enough for the kids, but adding in no plans is a downward spiral.
The next worst thing – NO scheduled prep, too!