When you start in a profession as demanding as teaching, any help is little, and all the advice you can get is always helpful. That is why today’s article intends to make a list of some tips for substitute teachers that I have been learning and collecting throughout my professional career as a substitute teacher.
Tips for substitute teachers
1. Teaching. So important is what you know as what you teach.
2. Preparation. Spend more time preparing a class than learning its content.
3. Angry. Never enter with an angry face in the classroom. Entering angry will not make your students respect you more. Why enter with an angry face if you are not angry?
4. Punctuality. Be always punctual. Punctuality is a quality that your students value in the long run. Punctuality allows you to approach some of your students and work with them active listening.
5. Weekend. Do not work on weekends unless it is strictly necessary. Throughout the week, there must be a time to work, another to learn, and another to rest.
6. Toxic teacher. Surround yourself with coworkers you can learn from and stay away from those you consider toxic teachers.
7. Alternative. Always have an alternative class ready in case some unforeseen event arises. Good improvisation always requires a lot of experience.
8. Audiovisual material. Always have audiovisual material on hand to use at any time during a reading session. The audiovisual material is excellent for finishing a class, for example.
9. Scream. Do not scream. Make yourself heard. The more you shout in the classroom, the more noise will be generated, and the louder your students will speak. Although it seems a paradox, it is the silence that generates silence.
10. Opportunity. Always remember that when you are not teaching, you are also teaching, that is, when you do not teach the contents of a subject and are in contact with a student or a group, you must keep in mind that this moment is also an opportunity to teach, to transmit values, to interest you in your students.
11. Balance. Never forget that teaching is the balance between intellectual intelligence (what you teach in class about your subject) and emotional intelligence (the ability to manage, understand and manage your own emotions and those of your students).
12. Knowledge. Invest as much time as necessary to meet your students. The more you know them, the more strategies you will have to teach them what interests them.
13. Creativity Remember that teaching is also creativity. You can learn to be more creative in the following link.
14. Use of ICT. Make the use of ICT an ally, but never a substitute. Think that the greatest value of the classroom for learning is you and your students and that the tools with which you work in the classroom are that, tools, instruments to make you a better teacher and your students better students.
15. Greetings. Say hello to your students when you enter, call them by name and say goodbye to them at the end of the reading session.
16. Explanation vs. teaching. Don’t confuse explaining with teaching. When you explain something, you are not teaching them anything that they cannot learn for themselves.
17. Sympathy vs. empathy. Don’t be nice, be empathetic. Learn the difference in the following link.
18. Open questions. Ask open questions. Avoid closed questions.
19. Empathic listening. When a student tells you something, stop doing what you are doing at that moment, always look them in the eye and nod. That is called empathic listening, not listening to words, but the heart.
20. Voice care. Take care of your voice. It is one of the best tools you have to work. Hydrate constantly throughout your workday and, above all, avoid cold drinks.
21. Utility. Ask yourself before entering the classroom if what you are going to teach your students has any use in real life. If not, consider whether it is worth teaching.
22. Names. Learn as soon as possible the names of your students and never call them by their last name. Also, avoid using the pronoun you.
23. Non-directional teaching. Avoid to the extent possible the master classes with unidirectional teaching in which you speak. Your students only listen to passively.
24. Forecast. When you prepare a class, always prepare 25% more than you plan to teach. Commonly, sometimes, you have difficulties in managing the ‘tempo’ of a class, and what you planned to teach has a duration less than the duration of a lesson.
25. Examination protocol. When taking a test or exam, first project the exam in the POI, explain it, and then share it. You can check the protocol I follow for a test or exam in the following link.
26. Priority. Arrive 10 minutes before your day begins at your center. You must start the morning without hurry and visualize during these ten minutes what you teach that day.
27. Search vs. creation. Do not waste time searching the Internet for activities that you can do with little effort. Many times you spend more time creating than copying.
28. Promises. Never promise a student what you do not plan to fulfill. Students have a great sense of justice, as well as an excellent memory for what interests them.
29. Standing teaching. Avoid sitting in your chair during a reading session. Your students must see you and follow you at all times with their eyes. That increases your attention.
30. Discussion in private. Never argue or face a student in a classroom. It is much more advisable to go outside the classroom with him and deal with the matter in question alone.
31. Mood. Keep in mind when you start your day, what your mood is, and how it can affect that mood when giving a class.
32. Conflict as an opportunity. Never think of the word conflict as something negative. Focus the conflict as an opportunity to work, for example, emotions.
33. Knowledge of the regulation. Know the rules of your center well. This will allow you to distinguish between what you can mediate and what you should sanction.
34. Transparency. Always be transparent when qualifying your students. Avoid subjectivity and rate the attitude of your subject with numerical values.
35. The essence of programming. Take the programming of your subject and try to eliminate 75% of it. The remaining 25% is what your students should learn, master, and apply in their daily lives.
These have been the 100 tips to Justify your answer that I would give to any teacher. I have the conviction that these tips for substitute teachers that are born from the bibliography of experience should be seen as an opportunity to reflect on how you teach.