Teach Tip Tuesday: Prepare for sick and absent days

Teaching is an odd profession where you wake up in the morning feeling less than yourself and you still have to drag yourself out of bed and prepare your lessons for the day so that a substitute can take your classes for the day.

Also when you take short term leave there is an expectation that you leave a substantial amount of planning completed.

This Teach Tip Tuesday gives 5 tips for preparing for days off for a less stressful morning and seamless transition for a supervising teacher.

1. Set up generic supervision forms for each day of the week. 

This should include: room, key pickup, classroom entry procedures, seating plan, behaviour management procedures, etc. these things generally sty the same for the year so only requires on initial setup.

Save each one as a template to ensure the file does not get corrupted or edited. See here for any example. Generic Supervision Blog

2. Have a busywork folder

Prepare a busy work folder for students to be used as back up for fast finishers or when the lesson you prepared goes out the window.

I like to include colouring activities related to math problem solving. Comprehension and literacy activities.

Some examples of what I include:

Order of Operations ColouringMultiplying and Dividing Colouring Activity and more just like this. Message if you would like other suggestions for other KLAs or year levels.

3. Have a supervising teacher folder. 

This folder can include special passes that might be needed like toilet passes, behaviour passes, brag tags, stickers etc. maybe even pop in a chocolate if you have a difficult class.

4. Keep a digital copy of your texts at home. 

There is nothing worse than being at home unexpectedly and not having access to students text that they are currently working from. Keeping a digital copy at home allows for referencing page numbers for supervising teachers.

5. Layout supervisions and resources for planned absences. 

If you know that you are going to be absent spend a small amount of time the day before ensuring all the resources that the teacher will need is prepared and readily available. Include on your desk your busy work folder, supervising teacher folder and your supervisions.

For longer absences, leave planning to the degree that you want to ensure it is completed. Longer term contracts usually require the replacing teacher to complete their own planning, marking etc.

What do you do when you need to have a day off? How do you make it easier on yourself? Please share in the comments below or on our facebook page. 


About cmcaton

I am a Secondary Teacher and Head of Department Mathematics in Education Queensland. I am passionate about the development of pedagogy that engages the 21st century student and love to explore their implementation in the classroom. Disclaimer: The thoughts on this page are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
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