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Better Substitute Teacher Communication

Better Substitute Teacher Communication

Communication is Key

Communicating and providing feedback to substitute teachers is an essential aspect of maintaining positive working relationships. It is crucial to ensure that the substitute teacher is well-informed about the class dynamics, curriculum, and specific student needs. Effective communication and feedback will help your substitute teachers feel supported, leading to a more productive and engaging classroom experience for everyone involved. Better communication often comes from a series of small improvements, and from thinking about the experience of working at school from a substitute teacher's perspective.


Small, Meaningful Improvements 

  • Have a clear point of welcome and a greeter who knows the sub is coming and which class they are covering. The greeter should provide them with essentials such as a classroom key and directions.

  • Create a one-page sub "flyer" with useful information such as a campus map, school schedule, a summary of emergency procedures, and a directory of school contacts (nurse, dean, front office, administrator in charge), and hand it out to subs upon arrival. Laminate, clean, and re-use!

  • Consider implementing a well-designed standardized sub-plan template schoolwide to make your school's lesson plans better,  more consistent, and easier to follow. Sub-plans should provide clear lesson instructions and objectives, and communicate classroom expectations and routines.

  • Include emergency procedures and important contacts in the sub-plans or make them clearly visible in the classroom. 

  • Communicate any changes or updates to the school schedule as soon as possible. Your subs will appreciate knowing you've scheduled a fire drill, for example, and what you expect from them during the process. 

  • ASK your faculty and students to treat substitutes on campus with a spirit of helpfulness, courtesy, and respect. Model great communication by introducing substitutes to faculty and students, greeting substitutes warmly, and checking in with your subs during the day

  • Follow up with a note or email with appreciation and feedback for the substitute teacher.

  • Be sure to provide your substitute teachers an opportunity to give feedback about their experience at your school. Google Forms and online survey tools are great for this purpose! 

Encouraging Growth 

Providing clear communication and useful feedback to substitute teachers is essential. Start by highlighting the positive aspects of the class, and then provide constructive criticism. Be specific and clear in your feedback, and end on a positive note to encourage growth and improvement. If you want your subs to physically move around the class more to assist students, stating this suggestion directly will yield better results than checking "student engagement" on a checklist. Your efforts to maintain frequent and meaningful communication with your substitute teachers will pay off in professional growth, greater loyalty, and improved outcomes for your staff and students!

Learn more about the benefits of highly qualified substitutes at Sub Teacher Source! 

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