It is 3AM and the sound of your child’s feet, bolting to the toilet and barely making it before vomiting, wakes you from a dream you were too tired to even know you are having because you are a teacher! As a teacher you don’t stand over the toilet rubbing your child’s back, wiping a pathetic face, or your own for that matter, and think, “Looks like a sick day tomorrow.”
Instead you go into panic mode! You get the floor/your child/yourself cleaned up, and you race to your computer. You shakily put in for a sub, and pray to the sub gods that someone is able to cover your class in a few short hours. Then you get frustrated with yourself because you should have gotten things together before you left the day before. You should have sensed that you or your child could possibly get sick and planned better. Ugghhh, I know that feeling.
I also know the feeling of driving to school at 4:30 AM after getting a sick child settled back into bed and putting in for a sub, so I could race to my classroom, make copies, set out my sub plans, all to make sure my students’ learning would not be interrupted in my absence. As teachers, it is more of a hassle to be out for a day, which is why so many of us tend to “warrior-it-out” when we are sick and come and teach anyway. You can’t do that when you are throwing up or when you have a sick kiddo, however.
As organized and prepared as I think I am, I still get caught off guard. In order to be as prepared as possible, I always have a binder on my desk with Emergency Plans. In this Emergency Binder I keep:
- the names of my teammates so that they have a go-to person all day
- a schedule for the day: times for each class, specials, lunch, recess,dismissal, and any duties I have
- up-to-date seating charts
- lunch count and attendance lists
- lesson plans that match the copies and work materials that I have left so the substitute knows exactly what needs to be completed, turned in, etc.
- specific directions about lining up, dismissal, etc.
- reward bucks for students to earn (yes, I bribe while I am out)
- info about how I want the classroom left-chairs pushed in, garbage off of the floor, desks lined up. This may seem jerky, but here is how I word it, “At the end of the day, please have the students organize the classroom exactly how it appeared when they entered in the morning.” I despise walking into a classroom that looks like a hurricane swept through upon my return, so this is how I try to fix that.
Despite having my binder with random student work, I wanted something even better. So I created Print and Go Emergency Language Arts Sub Plans for Grades 4-8 to make my life a bit easier. Over the years I’ve created 4 volumes of these. Depending how long your ELA class periods are, this substitute teacher plans will cover up to 10 days and with 100 pages of lesson plans.
As an example, volume one includes:
- 4-page high-interest reader’s theater script-Estimated Lexile Measure:800L
- Reader Response Questions
- Context Clue Word Work
- Summary Strategy Organizer
- Story Map
- Text-Based Journal Prompt
- Word Work Word Search
- Story Cover Makeover
- 3-High Interest Journal Prompts for Writing
You can grab the whole bundle here if you are interested…
I would love to hear what you do to prepare your classroom for your unexpected absence. In the meantime, here is to healthy thoughts!