Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

Substitute Teaching A – Z

By Teachers.Net Resources

Advice for Substitute Teachers – A collection of articles by Barbara Pressman, columnist and author of Substitute Teaching from A to Z


How To Make a Good First Impression – Advice for Subs “When I feel confident, the classes seem to respond to me positively. How can I be sure that my first impression is the one that I want?” asks a Substitute Teacher. Barbara Pressman, author of Substitute Teaching From A-Z responds with invaluable tips.

How Can I Improve? Advice for Substitute Teachers Dear Barbara,

I know that I can improve my teaching skills, but I’m really not sure how to go about it. Eventually I want to go back to college and obtain my education degree. For financial reasons, I can’t do that right now.

There are a few experienced teachers that I’ve seen while I’ve been subbing, and they look miserable! They’re always angry and they act “burnt out.” I never want to be like that. I’ve seen others who are happy and positive. Students love them. I want to get better as time goes on, not worse.

When a Student Demands Attention – Advice for Substitutes What to do when a student demands attention, at the expense of other students.

Jargon Glossary – Advice for Substitute Teachers Don’t let the jargon get you down; here’s a glossary of common terms to help you get through the teaching day.

Advice for Subs: Warming Up a High School Class for Learning “In your book, Substitute Teaching from A to Z, you talk about the importance of introducing yourself to the class as a warm up. I have no trouble in the lower grades. But when I teach High School students, I feel uncomfortable with my personal introduction. Are there any other tricks? I need some help!”

Can I Use Technology in the Classroom? Barbara Pressman, author of Substitute Teaching from A – Z responds to a substitute teacher’s questions realted to learning about and applying new classroom technology.

How to Use Summer to Prep for the Year’s Subbing Assignments By being proactive this summer, you can accomplish a great deal of preparation that will help you get off to a great start this fall.

Should You Accept EVERY Call to Substitute? When a class presents special challenges, is it better to “pass,” or risk being over-matched? Advice for substitute teachers from the author of Substitute Teaching From A to Z.

Are Rewards the Answer? The concept of extrinsic vs. intrinsic rewards is one that has been debated by education experts. Most of us feel that it’s always better when children are self motivated. And for the most part, good students naturally try to do their best. They want to do well for themselves, their teachers, and their parents. But when a sub is in the room, things change. You are not responsible for grading them. You will not be preparing a report card or conducting a parent conference.

Are You Ready for Subbing in High School? What if I really don’t know the material? If students ask me a question about Geometry or Chemistry, I’m afraid I’ll make a fool of myself if I don’t know the answer. Yet I feel that I might be good at working in the high school.


The Invisible Substitute Teacher “I feel invisible to the staff. How can I change that?”

When to Ask for Help – Advice for Substitute Teachers The author of Substitute Teaching From A-Z responds to “What should I do if I simply cannot handle a student? I hate to admit to being weak.”

How to Build Rapport with Parents How do I establish good contact with parents? I never really had to interact with parents the entire time I subbed so I would like to be positive, whether the news about their child is good or bad.

When to Betray a Student’s Confidence Last week, a quiet young lady in the class, named Anna, asked me to please read her journal entry. I told her that I felt uncomfortable reading something private, but she insisted. I became alarmed at what I saw. She wrote about how she enjoyed cutting herself, and she described in great detail her nightly ritual of cutting herself in various places on her body….

I’m a Nagging and Negative Substitute Teacher – How can I change? I had an awful day today. The fifth graders filed in at 7:45. I was sitting at my desk, and the students walked right up to me and started asking for special favors. I was asked to solve disagreements even before class began! I found myself pleading for quiet. It set me off on a negative path for the whole day. Yelling and nagging never work, and I know that. For some reason, I was in a bad mood and had very little patience for the students. I hate being that way. Can I recover? It’s not who I am, and it’s not who I want to be.

How Can a Substitute Teacher Make Math Class Fun? Dear Barbara, I just finished your book and LOVED it, particularly the specific dialogue examples from yourself and other teachers. I am a new substitute with no…

How to Ensure You’ll be Invited Back Dear Barbara, I just graduated from University, and I want to start subbing in the hopes of getting a teaching job. Because of the high rate of unemployment in my state of Florida, I’ve been told that people are signing up to become Substitute Teachers in record numbers. Because of the competition, I want to stand out as someone who is a desired Sub. If I’m asked back often, I hope to make a name for myself, and then apply for a full time job for the 2010 school year. Do you have any tips that will ensure my success?

Is It Important to Remember Students’ Names? Dear Barbara, Each time I go into a new classroom, I find it very challenging to try to remember the students’ names. And if I call someone by the wrong name, they all laugh! Sometimes I avoid using their names, but that doesn’t seem to work either. I’d like to remember names, but I’m just not good at it.

Unproductive Students My problem is Jared. He’s a very bright third grader. Each time I sub for his class, I pull my hair out trying to get Jared to finish his work. Nothing I do seems to help. He sits at his desk all day and procrastinates. I subbed in his room today. When I wrote the note to his teacher, I explained that Jared did not complete his Social Studies test, or any other work. I know I’m responsible for students completing their work. I feel as if Jared’s actions reflect badly on me. Why is Jared like this? Am I doing something wrong?

Substitute Teacher Asks: May I Do It My Way? I’m not comfortable with the way my class operates. Students are free to snack whenever they want. They sharpen pencils, use the bathroom, and get drinks. They always work in groups, very noisy! The classroom teacher is quite effective and comfortable with her methods. But it’s not my style. I’m afraid I won’t be successful in this loose climate. But I feel uneasy about changing things. After all, it’s not my class. Should I suffer through it, or do things my way?


Warned about a problem student: What’s a Sub to Do? I was subbing in a third grade classroom when the principal stopped in and asked if I’d be able to sub next week in the sixth grade. Of course I said yes. At the end of the day, I went to see the teacher in that class to introduce my self and get pertinent information about the class. The teacher warned me that Christopher (not his real name) could be a real problem…

Lesson Pacing for Substitute Teachers When I sub, I try to follow the lesson plans as closely as possible. I want to be thorough, and maybe that’s why I never finish the lessons in the allotted time. I feel like I move too slowly. How can I judge my pacing to finish on time, and still cover all the material?

Inclusion Students Challenge Substitute Teacher Dear Barb Advice for Substitute Teachers offers special tricks Subs should know to make the day go smoothly.

The Problem of Students, Cell Phones & Substitute Teachers A sticky situation involving a student and her cell phone…

Subbing After Being Laid Off and Time Fillers – Advice for Substitute Teachers In this month’s Advice for Substitute Teachers column, Dear Barb offers input about subbing as a solution to being laid off from work, and lists games to use as time fillers.

Yelling – There Must Be A Better Way This month Barbara provides suggestions for noise control and keeping students on task.

Turn “Busy Work” into Real Instruction & Make Directions “Stick” Advice for Substitute Teachers: How can I avoid “busy work”? Please help me find a way to avoid being a “baby sitter”!


When Students Play Tricks on the Substitute Teacher The author of Substitute Teaching from A to Z offers advice for substitute teachers who face the challenges of students who play when their teacher’s away.

How Can I Present an Image of Strength? Advice for Subs “I’ve noticed that the best teachers have a certain aura about them that commands respect. They don’t need to say a word. Adolescents respond to their authority without question. How do they do it?”


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This entry was posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2011 and is filed under *ISSUES, May 2011, Teachers.Net Resources. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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