When Your Co-Teacher is Absent...

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Hello, from the other side! In the words of the students, "its been a minute."

One of the hardest things for teachers is when we are absent. It takes twice the amount of work to be absent than to just be there. I think it's even worse when your co-teacher is absent!

I've had discussions last year with Julia about whether it was "worth it" to have a substitute for when the learning specialist/ SPED teacher is out.


  • Support for your Gen. Ed. co-teacher; s/he still has another body in the room to behavior manage, watch specific students, etc.

  • Iffy Direct Supports; if you had direct supports that you wanted to be administered, it might not be effective or consistent with what you normally provide.

I've always requested for one (whether I get one or not, is a different monster), because I wanted to make sure that students knew nothing changes, even when I'm not there. I make expectations are clear to the substitute, all resources and supplies are set up for success, and that my co-teachers are informed of everything I planned on doing for students. It really does take a village to make sure everything is proper working order!

Check out my example of a lesson plan for when I was absent below! Hopefully it helps you make yours even better than before!

An example of one of my lesson plans.

  1. INTRODUCTION - I always make sure I add a spiel about what school, team, and the substitutes roles for the day. This is my "heads up" moment - I want to make sure they have a clear picture of what to expect for the day. Plus, it's easier to for my co-teacher and team, they don't have to describe the setting to the substitute.
** if it's too long, and they didn't read it, I highlight the key phrase for them. I mean, it is my job to cue/prompt right? **
  1. ROOM NUMBER, GRADE, AND CO-TEACHER - It is super important to include the room number, grade level, and co-teacher's name! Since I work in the middle school setting, I want to make sure the substitute knows exactly where they are headed and who to speak to once they arrive in the classroom.
  2. TIME - I am ALWAYS moving, thus, the substitute needs to know exactly when to arrive and when to leave.
  3. AGENDA - I title every period of the day with the subject. In addition, I give a quick description of what is expected of them during that time. For example, in 8th grade ELA the substitute knows exactly what novel is read, expectations for each student, the resources needed by each student, and helpful prompts to provide for the student. 

** I don't request any full on, direct supports. I make sure the substitute has a simple task, whether it is listening to a student reading, helping them sound out words, or providing resources for the student. I NEVER request substitutes to do any LLI with a student or working on anything that requires moderate - maximum supports! **


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