Tips for Subs

Here you are, heading into a day as a sub. Welcome!

We’ve put together some tips that might help. There’s lots more in your folder you’ll need to look over, but here’s a fun start:

1. Ask the “stupid” questions right away.

Questions like, “What do I do if a student throws a pair of scissors, or is not feeling well, or wants to work out in the hallway?” ANSWER: PUSH THE BUTTON (the one by the door). Seriously – you need to ask for help if anything major happens. It’s only a problem if you DON’T ask for help.

2. The teachers next door to you are your best friends today. For real.

They want to help; they can help; they are very nice...all of them. So, even though they look super busy (cause they are) they are much more in control of their class than you are, so use them. 

3. Keep a Sense of Humor

Kids can smell fear. They can also smell sourness. It’s ok to let them know you like them. They just need to know you’re still in charge. 

4. Learn Their Names

This will save you a lot of grief later in the day! Here are some tricks if they try to confuse you (and they will). Check their desks, or their computer. Call out their name and see whose head pops up. That’s who “Brayden” is, not the kid next to him, laughing. 

5. Be sure to hand in all the paperwork to the office (attendance, pick up, lunch).

It’s a drag but it really matters, especially when a parent comes to pick up their child at the end of the day and you’ve sent her off with the other parent (who’s not supposed to take her, yikes!).

6. Have a bag of tricks ready for those “lulls”.

5 empty minutes in a 2nd grade class room is like inviting Genghis Khan over for tea. Anything can happen, and it’s rarely good. SOO, see it coming and embrace it. Have four or five different activities ready for those dips in the day: 

Hangman is a favorite; so is Simon Says; Statue can work most of the time. Or bring in your own favorite distraction – a magic trick or card game or silly game. But not too silly! 

7. Finally, remind yourself they are kids, and that you like kids or you wouldn’t be doing this:

DO THIS OFTEN THROUGHOUT THE DAY!

And remember, your job is to keep them safe and on task. If you can have fun with them and teach something all the better. Your great gift is that you are new, that you can see things in a different way, perhaps see talents they have that have been hidden, or skills they didn’t know they had until you asked them to help you with something. 


Whatever the day brings if you can walk to your car with the knowledge that you brought kindness, patience and humor to your day you will have succeeded. And the kids will be better for it. So will you.