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How to Prep Simple Sub Plans – so You Can Actually Take Time Off

For teachers, the stress of making sub plans often means we are super hesitant to take days off - even if we need them. But what if it didn't have to be that hard?

Listen as Kelsey Sorenson shares how to prep simple, ready-made sub plans that can be pulled out anytime you need them!

Listen here:

When you’re sick, do you “push through” to avoid having to write sub plans?

If so, you’re not alone. A lot of teachers think it’s just easier to “work sick” than try to prep for someone else.

The bottom line is: You have worked to earn your days off and you deserve to take them. Working “through it” can often prolong your sickness and make you less effective at your job, so it is often better for you AND your students if you take the time you need to recover.

But when you have a sinus headache, a stuffed up nose, and a scratchy throat, it’s hard to sit down and write sub plans.

We talked with Wife Teacher Mommy, Kelsey Sorenson, about all things sub planning. Her solution? A sub tub.

How it works:

1. A sub tub is an actual container you can keep under your desk for a substitute teacher. You can put hanging file folders in it for each subject or class that you teach. Fill the tub with a week’s worth of emergency lesson plans, including copies of assignments for every student in the class.

2. These lesson plans need to fit into any time in the school year. Don’t worry about updating them according to what you’re working on; pick activities and lessons that will be valuable any time of the year.

3. Remember that substitute teachers are not glorified babysitters- they are teachers! You can include some actual teaching in the lessons.

4. A sub tub should include a binder with all of your routines and procedures to try to keep things consistent with a normal school day. Include a seating chart, a daily schedule, and your attention-getters. Your Classroom Management 101 plan is perfect for acting as a sub binder because it will outline your procedures, rules, and consequences.

5. You can also prepare a whole-class reward system ahead of time for the sub. An easy whole-class reward system is picking an 8-10 letter “word of the day.” When the whole class is meeting expectations, the substitute teacher writes a letter on the board. When the whole word is spelled out, the students get a pre-determined reward.

6. An individual reward system is another great idea. Sometimes, students aren’t motivated by a whole-class reward system because they think that difficult students will ruin it for everyone. Your sub plans can include individual punch cards for each student that the sub can punch when the students are meeting expectations and when their cards are full, they can receive a prize. You can get these punch cards and more in the FREE Sub Planning Starter Kit.

For more on preparing the students for a substitute teacher and changing your mindset so that you feel comfortable to take the time off you deserve, listen to the podcast episode above.

If you're a member of Teach4theHeart+, in April you will be able to join a live training with Kelsey where she will go into more detail on sub planning and take your Q&As (this is on top of unlimited access to our four most popular courses!). Sign up now at: Teach4theHeart+

And be sure to sign up for Wife Teacher Mommy's annual Educate and Rejuvenate virtual event

To be notified via email when the next podcast episode is released, sign up here.

You can also subscribe to the Teach 4 the Heart podcast in Apple PodcastsSpotify or your favorite podcast app.

Resources mentioned in this episode

About Kelsey Sorenson

Hi, I’m Kelsey Sorenson. I’m a former teacher and current homeschool mom. I started Wife Teacher Mommy in 2014 after having my first baby. I decided to work part-time as a substitute teacher and realized that teachers needed much more help with sub plans (as well as other teaching resources). So on days I wasn’t subbing, I worked on my laptop while my baby napped with the goal to help educators like YOU get access to effective, ready-to-go resources to cut your planning time in half (OR MORE!) so you can get it all done without sacrificing other areas of your life. 

Make sure your students are good while you're gone!

Check out our free class: How to Reduce Disruptions without Yelling, Begging, or Bribing.

Get the free training here.

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When you’re sick, do you “push through” to avoid having to write sub plans? Check out this helpful advice about making a "sub tub" so that you never have to worry about taking a day off when you need it! These teacher tips from Kelsey Sorenson of Wife Teacher Mommy are sure to help you achieve the work/life balance you are looking for.

This article may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase a resource after clicking the link, Teach 4 the Heart may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for helping support Teach 4 the Heart in this way.

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