Thursday, April 17, 2014

Preparing for your LTS position

Can you believe that we are already half way through April? My spring break here (or what is left of it because of the snow) was this week. When we return from spring break, I will be leaving my building sub position to be a long term substitute in a first grade classroom for the remainder of the school year! It is very exciting news and reassuring that my hard work is paying off and not going unnoticed.

As someone who likes to be prepared, I began searching for information on how to prepare for a smooth transition into a long term sub position. I found a lot of great resources for teachers preparing to leave their classroom to a long term sub but nothing for someone like me! I have been going through the process of preparing for my assignment and have compiled a sort of "to-do list" to accomplish before your start date.

Get in as much face time
The school I will be starting my assignment is also one of the schools where I am a building sub. I am lucky that I have exposure to that classroom. If you are not as lucky and have to opportunity to, try to come in and visit the classroom as much as you can. It's a good idea to observe the class before your start date. There are of course extreme circumstances where assignments are very last minute but if it's an ideal situation, get in that classroom. It's important to watch the routines and class behavior. From my observations, I was able to see what I liked about how the classroom was run and decide what things I wanted to tweak.

Figure out what you'll need
Computer access? Printing capabilities? Access to student records? 

Meet grade partners
I am very fortunate that I will be working with some fantastic first grade teachers during my assignment. It is a good idea to set up a little meeting with the grade partners if you can. Find out how much the grade team plans and works together. You may find that the like my situation, the grade level team does most or all of their planning together. In that case, you want to be careful not to step on any toes yet come prepared with lesson and activity suggestions. In other cases, grade level teams do their planning separately. Try to get a feel for how that grade level runs.  

How will lesson planning go?
Like I said above, you should figure out if your grade team preps for lessons together or separately. Get a good look at the curriculum. Some lend themselves better than others at easily figuring out the scope of a unit. Ask the teacher you are filling in for how they lesson plan. See if you can take a look at their plan book from the past few weeks.

Will you need to partake in major assessments
With my assignment being in first grade from April until the end of the year, there will be some district wide assessing that needs to be done. Find this out what and who would be best to get you up to speed on procedures and protocols where testing is concerned.

Depending on your start and stop date you may need to participate in parent-teacher conferences. I will be in my classroom only 3 weeks before having to do conferences. I wont be in the classroom with the students very long before conferences start so I asked the teacher I am replacing if she could help me out and give me some notes on each child so I have more than my 3 weeks of observations to discuss with parents. I think the parents will appreciate that.

Informing Parents?
How will parents be informed that there child's teacher is gone and you are going to be their teacher now? See if there is protocol in your school for this. You should definitely ask your principal if it is acceptable for you to send a letter home introducing yourself and have the principal look it over. It will probably be your first introduction to the parents so you want to start with your best foot forward.

Enjoy it!
This is what you love to do. Take this opportunity to shine!

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