Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Substitute Teacher Behavior Plan

Coming into a classroom as a sub can be very scary. You don't know the type of group you are going to have. You don't know what the teacher's behavior plan is. You don't know if they have one at all! I have created a plan that starts from the moment the students enter your room until the moment they leave at the end of the day. So far it has worked wonderfully.

1. Get yourself some name tags. Walmart sells 50 in a pack for about a dollar. They are sticky so the children can stick them right on their shirts where you can see them.

It makes a day so much easier to be able to call a child by their name no matter where they are in the classroom. The first thing I do when I walk in a classroom is make the tags before the kids come in the room. It makes passing them out so much easier and its a simple way to take attendance...the tags you have left are your absent kids. You will waste a few tags here and there. Keep them for the day in case those kiddos come in late.

2. Tell students they must keep them on all day. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Here is where the behavior plan comes into play. I found that the moment a corner of the name sticker came off a child's shirt it drove them nuts and they voluntarily ripped it off and it was in the trash. This made it so I had no idea what the child's name was and had to waste more name tags. At the beginning of the day this is my speech to solve it all:
"Since you all have to remember one name (mine) and I have to remember all of yours I will be giving you these name tags. You must keep it on all day and where I can see it. At the end of the day I will be checking you before dismissal. If you still have it on AND you were well behaved you will get a reward. Depending on how good you are will depend on the size of your reward. If you aren't wearing your name tag at the end of the day, you will get nothing, no matter how well behaved you were."
Now the end of this may sound harsh but it works. Their eyes will light up at the chance at a reward and they are excited about the challenge to keep their name tag on all day. It gives them something they need to be responsible for and they have to be accountable. No tag = no reward.

3. My rewards. I stocked up on stickers, bookmarks, pencils, erasers...all sorts of goodies at Target, Goodwill, and the dollar store. Trust me the small price you will pay for all of these goodies pays off when you have mostly hassle free days as a sub. You can decide what are the big rewards and what are the small rewards.

4. Remind the students often throughout the day although they are all pretty good about remembering when a reward is at stake. I never tell the students what the rewards are that they are working toward. It keeps their day mysterious. You don't want to risk having a student say "I have to be good for WHAT? a sticker?! Forget it!!!!" Good luck to you keeping that class tamed!!!


  1. This sounds great Chelsea! I subbed for half a year after I graduated and learned so much! It was a wonderful experience.

    I am happy to be your newest follower. I would love for you to hop over and visit me when you get the chance. =)

    Heather's Heart

  2. That's a great idea, and one that I have often done. But since I always work at the elementary level, I've also used small craft sticks to print the children's names, and keep them in a small zip-baggie. That way I can use them to call on different children in a more equitable manner. Also, many elementary teachers use the name cards taped to the individual desks, which also aid in learning names quickly.