Are Your Substitutes Trained and Ready for the School Year?

Over the course of a kindergarten through 12th-grade education, the average student will spend an entire school year with a substitute teacher according to Education Week.  Teachers cannot avoid bringing in a substitute teacher.  Teachers need someone to cover the classroom due to illness, emergencies, meetings, or professional development.  It is critical to make certain that instruction that engages students in learning continues regardless of who is teaching the class.  Your students deserve to learn.

As we all know, substitute teachers have one of the toughest jobs in the world.  They are often expected to cover a classroom full of unknown students on a very short notice.  Substitutes may also have very little knowledge of school-wide procedures for responding to events such as specials, fire drills, student dismissal.  New substitutes may worry about individual student needs, misbehavior, and how to keep students on task, focused, and cooperative.  And, classroom management is of utmost importance and is also a very complex topic.  You want your substitutes to be prepared and have the confidence to face these challenges.

To prepare your substitutes and build confidence, your organization requires training, orientation, and/or tests to make sure that the substitutes are ready for the classroom.  The goal is to prepare substitutes to be competent, professional, and ready to handle most things that come their way.  When designing your substitute teacher training program, you may want to include training materials and components that focus on:



Substitutes, who will be employees, will need to know the district and/or organizational policies.  They need to know expectations for dress, how to report attendance, and what the teacher responsibilities are as well as their responsibilities.  Successful classroom management plans may be included that are based on high but attainable expectations, are easy to remember, and are fair and consistent.  Classroom rules included in the training should also be easy to understand, apply to all situations, and deal with the behavior.  And, you want to have confirmation that the substitutes are aware and know your policies regarding child abuse, harassment, technology use, and other policies relevant to employees.


School Safety

This is of utmost importance to ensure that substitutes know how to keep the students safe.  Substitutes will need to understand lockdown procedures, what to do in event of a fire drill, and tornado drill and bomb threat.  Making substitutes aware of these guidelines will ensure that substitutes are prepared if any of these events may occur. You may also want substitutes to know who is a peer helper and point of contact to assist during safety procedures.


Managing Health Concerns

Substitutes need to be aware of basic health issues and/or concerns and what steps to take if students need medication, have an asthma attack, are allergic to a bee sting, or have a diabetic incident.  Preparing substitutes for such health concerns will help the substitutes remain calm and the students will also be reassured that they are cared for and in good hands.


Bloodborne Pathogens

Training on bloodborne pathogens helps substitutes to protect themselves in the event that students get a scape on the knee, a nose bleed, or loses a tooth.  It will also provide necessary training on personal protective equipment needed during such circumstances.


Effective Substitute Teacher Training

For those new substitutes that have not had any training for the classroom, Effective Substitute Teacher Training gives a philosophical and pedagogical approach to schooling and teaching.  This may be a course or curriculum needed for those substitutes so they will have basic concepts of schooling, learning styles, and tips for success in the classroom.


Virtual courses may help you to prepare your substitutes now for the school year.  This will allow your substitutes to get started immediately and be prepared when the school doors open. Substitute teaching can be a challenging, yet highly rewarding job.  It takes a lot of enthusiasm, hard work, guidance, and training to be an expert substitute teacher.  You are the key that provides that expertise. 

The App-Garden has an orientation that covers polices, safety, health, and bloodborne pathogens.  Please reach out and let us help you with the challenges of getting your substitutes trained and ready for the upcoming school year.