Your First Call [Substitute Survival]

ringing-phone[This post is part of a series on Substitute Survival]

It’s 6 a.m. You have one eye half-opened. You finally find your ringing phone with one flailing arm. “Hello?” you croak.

You’ve just received your first call. What do you do? What do you need to know now, and what can wait until you arrive at the school? The most important thing is to wake yourself up immediately and find something to write with. You may be given a lot of information, especially if this will be your first subbing engagement, and you don’t want to have to call the secretary back.

Here’s a quick list of things you need to know before your first subbing engagement at a new school:

  • The dress code for teachers
  • The appropriate parking area for substitutes
  • The time you need to report to the office
  • What grade level you will be working with
  • Whether or not the teacher has left lesson plans for you

If you received an early morning call, you will likely have enough time to arrive a little early. I highly recommend arriving at least 30 minutes early to a new school so that you will have some time to locate the materials you will need for the day and familiarize yourself with the layout of the school. This is a great time to locate the emergency exit plans as well. Most schools perform at least two fire drills each month, so there is a 9-10% chance that one will occur on the day that you are there.

Take some time to read over any notes or plans that the teacher has left for you, scan the list of names on the attendance roster, look over any seating charts, and generally get comfortable with the layout of the room. Also take a moment to introduce yourself to your neighbor teachers. They are often a great resource for information on specific routines or procedures that the students follow.

Students are incredibly perceptive, and the more at ease you are, the more professional you will appear to them.

[This post is part of a series on Substitute Survival]

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