Adding your own rules puts the hair up on their backs - just a
heads up. It suggests that their teacher's rules aren't good
enough. Also beware that in these times in which we live,
you're a stranger. Subbing is extra hard now that we've taught
children to be wary of strangers. Be careful not to appear
heavy-handed - high schoolers take a dim view of it and see you
as treading too heavily on borrowed authority.
Some students see a sub as a day off - others just dread subs.
There's a difference - don't lump them all together. Make sure
the bell worksheet you hand them is the teacher's or they'll
say "Ms. Smith doesn't give bell work." Then you'll say, "It's
my bell work, not Ms.Smith's." And with that you've dissed
their teacher without intending to and came off as heavy-handed.
Never give a 'talk pass' to high schoolers.Never discuss your
qualifications with them - they don't care at all and it will
look ... as if you're trying to impress them and that's a sure
sign of weakness. These are not things that will build a rapport.
Don't worry about Plan B - follow the plan given. I want to say
this kindly and gently but it's clear that you do have a great
deal of experience in the younger grades.
For high school, I'd recommend a pleasantly brisk manner and
always have the teacher's lesson plan in your hands so they can
see it. Get the job done, keep everyone safe, ignore minor
disruptions, don't go over your qualifications or try to make
jokes. Many of them dread subs precisely because the subs come
in with a chip on their shoulder or wearing their ego needs on
> After they complete the bell work, I explain how I would
> like them to pass it in to me. Then I do my intro and
> spiel. I review the classroom teacher's rules and
> expectations and I tell the classroom my own rules while I
> am their teacher today. They are 1)Be responsible for
> yourself 2)Be kind to others. I also tell them a little
> about myself and my interests. I tell them that I am
> a "real" certified teacher and that I am qualified to teach
> them, so they can relax because they are in good hands, and
> I will make sure that they have a productive learning day.
> I may also inject some humor by mentioning how relieved
> they must be to hear that.
> I realize that I may not have a lot of time to establish a
> rapport with them, but I do think that it is possible. Any
> advice on how to earn the rapport and respect of my
> students in such a short time would be greatly appreciated.
> As for breaking rules, consequences, I was told to follow
> the plan that the regular teacher has in place, but if
> there is none, or I am unable to locate, I would like to
> have a plan B. For repeat offender I really like the idea
> of writing a positive and affirming statement, paragraph.
> This would remove the problem temporarily and give them
> time to regroup. And since it would be positive statement,
> they wouldn't be on defensive? Thoughts? Ages?
> I really don't want to resort to sending to office. I have
> heard of subsitutes being banned for sending to office. but
> of course, if I feel that I am in a situation I cannot
> control, I will absolutely call for help.
> Thank you for any opinions or ideas.