The purpose of this page is to assist teachers in preparing activities, lesson plans, and materials that can be left for a substitute in the event of an unexpected absence by considering questions such as:
  • What are some of the reasons that substitute teachers commonly experience problems?
  • What are some of the special challenges that substitute teachers experience in foreign language classrooms?
  • How can teachers prepare activities, lesson plans, materials, and their students in order to minimize the chance that problems will occur when a substitute teacher is present?
  • How can teachers handle problems that have occurred when a substitute teacher has been present in order to minimize the likelihood that they will occur again?



Substitute Notebook


Here are some sample items that you might want to include in your substitute notebook:

- This is a template for a sheet on which subs can take attendance

- A template for a sheet on which subs can leave you notes about behavior problems.

- A sample of the kind of info. you might want to leave a sub re: emergency procedures

- A list of questions that you can use to make sure you are well-prepared for a substitute

- A week's worth of sample lesson plans for a Spanish 1 class that I left for a sub when I took students to Spain. I'm including them here to give you ideas for interactive kinds of things that a sub can do, and so you can see how you might structure lesson plans for a long-term sub

- A weeks worth of sample lesson plans for a Spanish 3 class that I left for a sub when I took students to Spain

- An information sheet that I include in my substitute notebook

- A one-page template that you can use to write lesson plans for a sub

- A letter I distributed to students one year when they chose to create chaos for a substitute who frequently spent time in our building and in my classes

- A sample of information you might leave for a sub in terms of the location of supplies

While subbing these past couple of months I've come up with a couple of ideas to make class go smoother while teachers are gone. Add to if you wish.

1. Be organized. I don't care how you are organized, but you should be organized. I would rather sub for an incompetent teacher that is organized (even if that organization is putting Horton Hears a Who on the desk with a sticky note "watch in spanish") (that movie's not even that good!) Than sub for an amazing teacher that has tons of things for the students to work on, even for me to teach, but has piles of junk all over the room and you can't find the sub plan.

2. If you think the sub might only speak English take advantage if it! Have them do some cultural activities (or something) maybe even have them review a concept in English.

3. Let the sub know about special cases. That could be trouble makers, loud-mouths, angel students, special needs. Don't go crazy, but knowing a helpful student or two changes a lot. On the flip side knowing that someone is in the special ed program could stop your sub from expecting something out of them they can't give.

4. Tell the sub what should be done with the work when they are done. Not always a necessity, but it is really helpful when the kids ask.

5. If the sub can see you care about the students and what happens that day, the sub is more likely to do a good job, showing them you appreciate his/her efforts helps too.

6. Tell your sub where a bathroom THEY can use is.

7. Don't watch Horton Hears a Who. Watch Selena. Instructions Not Included. Evita. El Cid. Man of La Mancha. Pulling Strings. La Bamba. Pan's Labrinth. El Orfanato. Which Way Home. (I can keep going if you want). Something meaningful for your students. And if you watch movies have them do something too.
- krothert krothert


Sub Plans You Can Try


Emergency Lesson Plans: Comic Strips by B. Henman from FLTEACH (See the Comics & Graphic Novels page on the MLC2006 wiki for more ideas) - chericem1 chericem1

Emergency Lesson Plans: Game Board by Teresa Thrasher from FLTEACH - chericem1 chericem1

- A one-page template that you can use to write lesson plans for a sub



Sub Plans - Ideas compiled by Judith Curiel

Sub Plans - SarahPcat SarahPcat
-Includes: History of Chocolate sub plan (good for all levels)
-La comida mexicana sub plan (good for all levels)

Both great Sub Plans - AmandaGSpanish AmandaGSpanish


I expanded on the Tomatina Lesson Plan by Amanda G by adding pre-reading questions, extended post-reading questions and including a crossword puzzle. I intend on using this lesson plan in an 80-minute block period. - SarahPcat SarahPcat

nutterky's "Tic Tac Toe" worksheet on the Spanish Review Activities page would be perfect for a sub plan. - decortem decortem