As a teacher, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of lesson plans, grading, and extracurricular activities. However, taking care of ourselves is just as crucial as taking care of our students. Today, I want to emphasize the significance of using your sick days when you genuinely need them and how preparing for them at the start of the year can make all the difference later on.
Picture this: it’s the middle of the night, and you’re suddenly hit by a wave of sickness (or your child sparks a fever). The alarm bells are ringing in your head – do you write lesson plans at this ungodly hour or drag yourself into work while feeling sick? The solution becomes clearer when you’re prepared for such scenarios well in advance.
The reality is that deciding whether to call in sick or push through the day while feeling dreadful is a dilemma many teachers face. Yet, having a substitute plan in place before it’s needed can help alleviate the weight of that decision. This isn’t about creating a “throwaway” lesson plan; it’s about having a plan that empowers you to make the best choice for your well-being.
Emergency Sub Plans: Your Saving Grace
Why are emergency sub plans so crucial? Imagine having a set of lesson plans, tried and tested, ready for use on a moment’s notice. The beauty of these plans lies in their effectiveness. When you’re sick or your child is sick, the last thing you want to worry about is writing comprehensive lessons. Instead, you can fall back on your well-prepared substitute plans, which are designed to reinforce skills your students have already learned.
Why Are They Important?
- Seamless Classroom Continuity: Preparing emergency sub plans ensures that learning doesn’t come to a halt when you’re not around. These plans, carefully curated with familiar content, keep your students engaged and on track with their studies.
- Reduces Stress: Knowing you have a set of ready-to-go plans reduces the last-minute panic of crafting lessons while feeling under the weather or trying to care for your child. This alleviates stress and allows you to focus on what matters most.
- Empowerment for Substitutes: Clear and organized sub plans empower substitute teachers to manage your classroom effectively. When you provide well-structured plans, you’re setting them up for success, creating a positive experience for both them and your students.
- Fosters a Culture of Self-Care: Demonstrating the importance of taking sick days when needed fosters a healthy culture within your school. It sends a message that prioritizing one’s well-being is not just acceptable but encouraged.
Setting up your Substitute Binder
Preparing now for those days you’ll be absent from the classroom, is an essential part of maintaining the flow and function of your classroom for your students when you are gone. I can’t stress this enough: make creating your substitute binder part of your back-to-school prep. Trust me, once the school year kicks off and you’re in the thick of things, this task might easily get lost in the shuffle. Let’s face it, we’ve all had those to-do list items that seem to forever stay unchecked.
How do you create a well-organized substitute binder that ensures your absence doesn’t disrupt the learning process? Let’s explore some ideas that will help you create a sub folder that guarantees both you and your students will continue on in your absence.
1. Sub Folder Essentials:
- Contact Information: Ensure the substitute can connect with the office, team lead, assistant principal or any other support staff they may need.
- Bell Schedules: Include regular and alternative bell schedules to guide the substitute through the day.
- Daily Routine Explanation: Provide a brief overview of your classroom’s daily routine, helping the substitute maintain structure. Even if you are not following the routine in your emergency plans, knowing the regular routine will help your sub better communicate with your class.
2. Navigating Routines:
- Key Procedures: Summarize essential procedures such as bathroom breaks, technology usage, tardiness, and dismissal.
- Emergency Protocols: Detail emergency procedures and drills, ensuring safety remains a priority in your absence.
3. Student Information:
- Relevant Student Data: List medical conditions, allergies, and special needs, empowering the substitute to provide appropriate support.
- Personal Connections: Share insights about your students’ personalities, preferences, and strengths, enabling a more personalized experience.
4. A Lesson Plan with a Purpose:
- Focused Lesson Objectives: Outline the day’s learning goals, making it easier for the substitute to align activities.
- Clear Instructions and Materials: Provide step-by-step instructions and ensure all necessary materials are readily available.
Your sub binder is more than just a lesson outline; it is a tool that empowers both you and your substitute teacher. While you focus on recovering, your substitute can step into your classroom with confidence, knowing they have a solid plan to follow. This seamless transition not only ensures your students’ education continues but also supports a positive experience for everyone involved.
Emergency Lesson Plans you can Prepare Ahead of Time
Now that you have your sub binder created with all of the essentials, make sure you have an easy to follow lesson plan that anyone can easily execute. In today’s education landscape you never know who will be taking over your class in your absence. You want a lesson plan that can be taught by both educators and possibly non educators.
Here are a few print and go lesson plans that will work for any middle school ELA class. Just print the activities and place them in an easy to find location:
Nonfiction Reading Passages – These stand alone texts are designed to engage readers and help them develop skills in reading informational text.
Reading Task Cards – Set up your lesson plan so students are reading independently for part of the period and then use the task cards to fill in the time. Task cards will keep students focused and practice their reading skills.
Book Reviews – This easy print and go activity will engage students in academic conversations about books while at the same time provide opportunities for students to share about their books they are reading.
By taking the time to prepare for your sick days at the start of the year you’re not only prioritizing your well-being but also ensuring that your students continue to learn and thrive in your absence. Having a well-organized substitute binder with emergency sub plans, crucial information, and clear instructions will make the transition smoother for everyone involved. Let’s remember that taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of our students. Prepare, plan, and take those much-needed sick (and mental health) days when necessary – you deserve it!