Sunday, September 18, 2011

And That's Why You Always Leave a Note

Today's topic: job security.

Good teachers care about their students. When the teacher is gone, they want (and deserve) to know everything that happened within their classroom. Direct communication with the teacher is generally not part of a standard substitute teaching job, so it is imperative to do the next best thing: leave a note.

Within my first two weeks of teaching I have learned the power of a well-written sub report. I will go so far as to say it is the difference of being requested by the teacher again in the future or not.

In this post, we'll look at what you can do to ensure you are leaving with a good impression.

What would you want to know if you were the teacher? As you write your sub report, consider the following:
  • Detail. After each class period, write specifically what happened. A simple “no issues, all students worked on assignment” is not descriptive enough. Don't wait until the end of the day, you won't remember the details.
  • Feedback. Notice students in your class, get their names, and leave comments. Let your teacher know specifically about the kids who were exceptionally helpful.
  • Gratitude. Thank them for the opportunity to sub in the class.
  • Honesty. If there were problems, be up front about it. Its better they hear it from you than from other teachers or their students.
  • Praise. Comment on the most positive experiences. For example, I let one of my teacher's know about how much I appreciated the in-depth sub plans as well as the solid classroom structure.
  • Communication. Provide your contact information so they have the option to get a hold of you if needed.
Approach your written report as you would a cover letter. You want to be requested back in again, right? This is your opportunity to sell yourself.
  • Write cleanly, neatly, and well. If you screw up, grab another sheet of paper and do it over.
  • Use nice stationary. I print out letterhead that has my name and contact information. It looks good, appears professional, and provides an easy way to store contact info.
  • Leave notes about things you did to go out of the ordinary.
  • Thank them in the beginning, and thank them at the end. Come right out and say that you enjoyed subbing in their class and that you are available in the future to sub again.
  • Network with other faculty and staff. When your teacher comes back in they will probably ask questions about you, so make good impressions and you may just end up being requested by more than one teacher.
There is more to subbing than writing a good report. But leaving a lengthy, informative note never hurts, and will greatly heighten your chance of getting requested and recommended in the future.

Q. What do you make sure to include in your sub report?

(The title of this post comes from a hilariously clever episode of Arrested Development. For an entertaining "lesson" on leaving notes, you can watch the episode for free on Hulu).

I invite you to contribute by sending in questions, personal stories, thoughts, and articles about substitute teaching. Thanks for stopping by.

No comments:

Post a Comment