8 Tips for Having a Great First Day as a Substitute

While substitute teaching can be a rewarding experience, there may be some challenging moments when you’re new to the profession. Being prepared for your first day is an important part of having a successful experience and leaving a lasting impression. If you’re a first-time substitute teacher, follow these helpful tips to mitigate any problems and ensure you have a great first day.


Arrive early.

Give yourself time to meet the office staff, get a tour of the school, and familiarize yourself with the classroom. You should also review the schedules, procedures, rules, and lesson plans.


Greet the office staff upon arrival.

Office staff are in contact with everyone in the school on a daily basis. They are a great go-to source if you have any questions or issues that arise throughout the day. This is also a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the staff and make a first impression.


Introduce yourself to the students.

Write your name on the board. When you greet students, introduce yourself and gesture to your name on the board so students know where to look if they forget. It can also be helpful to share a little bit about yourself to make a connection with the students.


Set ground rules.

Establish rules at the beginning of the day so your students know the expectations. You can even write them on the board or display them somewhere as a reminder. Praise students that are following the rules and be firm but kind with the students that are struggling to follow the rules.


Stick with the lesson plan.

To not disrupt what the students have been learning, make sure to follow the lesson plan. If you don’t finish the lesson plans by the end of the day, be sure to leave the teacher a note letting them know where you left off.


Have extra activities ready.

There are times when the lesson plans left by the teacher don’t take up the whole day. Bring a book or a game to fill that extra time. You can also leave a fun activity for the end of the day as motivation for following the rules. Our blog 7 Ways to Maximize Learning During Free Time in the Classroom has some great ideas on how to fill free time in the classroom.


Expect some challenging moments.

Classrooms can be hectic at times. When things don’t go to plan, it is best to stay calm and positive. Students will take their cue from you and if you remain calm and stay positive, the students will respond the same way.


Leave on a positive note.

Tidy up the classroom before you leave. Write a note summarizing the day for the teacher and let them know of any problems that arose. Stop by the office on the way out and let them know that you’d be happy to return anytime they have a need.


Good luck on your first day!

Check out this other blog: Smart Classroom Management – An Amazing Resource for Educators