Organizing your lesson plans for the day when you’re sick is never an easy task. It might be tempting to just show up to school sick instead!


Instead of stressing over substitute teacher lesson plans, use these 5 tips to prepare now for your next sick day.


1. Inform students of how their routine changes

Have a discussion with students on how their daily routine will change when a substitute teacher arrives.


It saves a lot of headaches to explain what to expect with a sub and the reasons why.


For example, if you prefer to lead daily homework, notify students the substitute teacher will skip that portion and you’ll review the assignments when you return because this way you can better track their progress.


This helps to prevent students from constantly comparing the sub to you and gives the substitute more autonomy to manage the class how they see fit.


Substitute teachers are not your clones, so don’t expect them to follow your exact routine. Feel free to outline your main goals for the day, but be open to the sub bringing their own ideas to the classroom. They’ll utilize their own unique personality and teaching style to engage the class.


2. Assign student leaders

To maintain good behavior, appoint student leaders. Ask two students to be “substitute’s helpers” who help find where things are and answer any questions.


Choose a reliable student and a student who is known for behavioral issues. By assigning the latter an important role, you give them a sense of responsibility, which encourages them to behave well.


3. Put together a sub binder

This binder should have general information about your school and class. Here are a few things to put in your binder:


  • Seating chart
  • Technology instructions (how to turn on the Smart Board or play a DVD)
  • Map of the school
  • Phone numbers for the office and of helpful teachers
  • Instructions in case of emergency situations
  • Classroom rules and procedures (attendance, bathroom, pencil sharpener, etc)

4. Create a sub tub

Cut down the stress of being unprepared by compiling ready-to-use activities. Store these materials in a convenient and labeled drawer in your classroom.


Having trouble coming up with activities? An easy way to fill up your emergency storage is by adding unused activities throughout the year. Another way is buying lesson plans from teachers like you on TeachersPayTeachers.


De-stress by letting go expectations of what should happen in the classroom. Trust that everything will work out in the end. You’re capable of handling anything!


5. Get feedback from the sub

Let your sub tell you how the day went by leaving something for them to write on. You’ll learn what was and wasn’t covered in addition to how your kids were.