Stepping in as a substitute teacher can sometimes be stressful, especially if you’re new to the game. So how exactly should you go about introducing yourself to the class? Is there a wrong or right way to do this?
To introduce yourself as a substitute teacher, state your name, inform the class that you’ll be filling in for their teacher, give a few fun facts about yourself, and list your expectations. Additionally, state what the day’s lessons will be and ask the students if they have any questions.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss a few commonly asked questions about substitute teaching, detailed ways on how to introduce yourself, and several tips for being a great sub. So, if you’d like to learn more about introducing yourself and being the best sub possible, be sure to read on!
What Is the Purpose of a Substitute Teacher?
First, you must fully understand your purpose as a substitute teacher. For example, knowing what’s expected of you and the function you’re meant to serve is essential. So, what exactly is the purpose of a substitute teacher?
The purpose of a substitute teacher is to fill in and take over teaching in the absence of the regular teacher. Substitutes are great because they allow students to interact with someone new and be exposed to new teaching styles. Plus, substitutes can give burned-out teachers a break.
You’re not meant to replace the student’s current teacher but instead fill in temporarily for them. Your appearance may be stressful to some students, especially if they dislike change. So it’s important to stay upbeat when you can.
Why It’s Important To Introduce Yourself to the Class
Introducing yourself to the class you’re subbing for is essential because this will likely be the children’s first impression of you and the kind of teacher you’ll be. A good introduction also helps set certain expectations for the students and relieve any stress of trying to read your desires.
Giving a good introduction as a substitute teacher is essential for many reasons, including:
- Allows the students to get to know you better.
- Helps the students know what to expect.
- Outlines your intention for the day’s lessons.
- Relieves students’ stress of the unknown.
- Helps to set the tone for the rest of the class day.
- Gives students a set time to ask questions.
- Helps you to get a better read on the class’ behavior.
Ultimately, there are many benefits to introducing yourself to your students properly. When you give yourself a good introduction and allow students to ask questions before starting the class, the students will feel more at ease with you. This, in turn, will provide a smoother classroom experience for you and the students.
Why Does Making a Good First Impression Matter?
As I previously stated, introducing yourself is one of the most critical steps when subbing for a class for the first time. This is because your introduction will likely be the students’ first impression of you. Therefore, how you present yourself during the time will dictate how the students respond to you throughout the day or the days you’ll be with them.
Making a good first impression matters because how the students perceive you will affect their behavior. If they think you’re a pushover, they’ll push rules. If you’re too stern, they’ll likely find the class less enjoyable. Maintaining positivity and balance is key to gaining respect.
When first encountering the class, the first impression you give off is everything! It’s crucial that students understand what behaviors you won’t tolerate while also seeing that class will be a lot of fun for those who politely participate.
On the other hand, being too strict or too easygoing can quickly ruin a substitute experience. Therefore, you must find a balance when setting your classroom expectations.
The Best Way To Introduce Yourself as a Substitute Teacher
Next, I would like to discuss how to best introduce yourself as a substitute teacher. I know I briefly discussed what you should include in your introduction, but I’d like to go over what you should include in greater detail. A good introduction will set the tone for the rest of your time with the class.
Convey Confidence in Yourself and Your Words
It’s important to appear confident to your students. Even if you feel nervous or stressed about subbing for a new class, your students should be blissfully unaware of this fact. You can appear confident to the new class in a few different ways.
Here are some ways on how to appear confident as a substitute teacher:
- Dress well. Dressing in appropriate teaching attire can help give off an air of authority and professionalism. Also, depending on the outfit you select, you can give your students subtle vibes that you’re fun, creative, and kind.
- Have good posture. How you hold your body when you’re speaking, sitting, or walking around can say a lot about your confidence levels. People with good posture appear more confident and garner more respect. The same will go for teaching your students.
- Speak with conviction. Whenever you speak to the students, you should aim to do so confidently and always know where you’re going with a point. This will help the students to feel confident in your abilities to maintain a safe learning environment.
- Smile. Oddly enough, smiling can give the illusion of confidence. Smiling a lot at your students can help them feel at ease with the sudden change in the classroom. It can also make them feel that you’re a happy and kind person.
- Speak positively. Using positive words and sentences is a great way to feel and appear confident to the class you’re subbing. Staying positive also can make the students feel happier with your sudden presence.
- Come to class prepared. The more prepared you are to step in and teach this new class, the more confident you’ll appear and the more smoothly your teaching day will go.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways for you to appear confident to your new students. Moreover, most of these methods can be accomplished easily, even if you feel nervous about substituting a class.
Make a Genuine Connection With the Students
Making a genuine connection when speaking with the new class is essential. You can do this even in your introduction by sharing facts about your life or things you like. Establishing similar likes or dislikes with students can help form a bond with the new class.
For example, you might state that you love cats and your favorite color is blue. Then, you could ask all the students who love cats or the color blue to raise their hands. This is a great way to get the students to engage positively with you and form a connection. Now all the students who love cats or the color blue will feel they have a special connection with you.
Of course, how you make a connection with the students is dependent on the age of the students. While younger children might feel connected with you for liking the color blue, high schoolers most likely won’t. Therefore, keep the age of your students in mind when introducing yourself.
Additionally, when introducing yourself, you don’t have to take too long trying to form a connection with students, but it helps if you can do it in a quick and fun way. Just be sure to do your best to make the students feel like you’re a person too and that you’re capable of understanding them.
Set Your Expectations for the Classes Behavior
The next thing you’ll want to do when introducing yourself as a class substitute teacher is to address your behavioral expectations. This certainly isn’t the most fun topic, but your expectations for how the class behaves are essential.
When working with a new class, you must state exactly what you expect from the students. This will help students understand what’s expected of them and what behaviors aren’t acceptable while you’re their teacher.
It helps to understand what the teacher’s rules you’re subbing for are and go off of those so the students aren’t confused. You might also want to develop a positive incentive for good behavior.
Inform the Students of Your Plans for the Day
When introducing yourself, you’ll also want to address your lesson plans for the day. This helps the students to grasp what their day will look like. In addition, understanding your routine for the day can alleviate students’ stress of the unknown.
So, if you plan on picking up teaching where the teacher left off, you should inform the students of the day’s lesson plan. This is also an excellent time to throw in an activity as a sub. This can spice up the lesson in a fun and engaging way for the students.
The more engaging you can be, the better attention the students will pay. Plus, students who enjoy learning are far less likely to cause trouble.
Allow Students To Ask Questions
After you’ve finished introducing yourself, it’s a good idea to open the floor up for questions. Students will likely have a few questions about why you’re with them, who you are, or just about some of the rules you’ve set in place.
Answering some quick questions from the students can also make them feel like their input or questions are valued. This can further lead to forging a positive connection with the students.
When answering the student’s questions, just be sure not to allow the question and answer portion to go on too long. If every student has a question, answer as many as possible before informing the class that it’s time to start learning.
Substitute Teacher Introduction Example
When it comes to introducing yourself to a new class, it can be stressful to know exactly what to say. Each class will be unique and respond better to different things. However, there are a few standard items you should always cover when introducing yourself to the class.
Here’s an example introduction for a substitute teacher:
“Hello, my name is [insert name].
I’m filling in for your teacher [insert teacher’s name] and will be here [state how long you will be filling in for]. I like the color blue, I love cats, and I speak two different languages. Raise your hand if you also like the color blue. Raise your hand if you also like cats.
Today we’ll be picking up where your teacher left off and learning about [insert subject] and [insert any other subjects for the day]. I’ll also be leaving a note for your teacher, so let’s be sure to behave extra well to impress her/him while she/he is away. Can anyone tell me what the class rules are? (Go over all the classroom rules with the students.).”
After the rules are over, you can more easily transition into teaching. The students will know that you understand the rules and also know what is expected of them.
Tips for Being a Great Substitute Teacher
Next, I want to review a few more tips for substitute teachers to have a great experience teaching a new class. Each student you encounter will be unique, and ensuring that your class has a good time and still manages to learn is very important. So what makes a substitute a good teacher?
Here are some essential tips for being the best substitute teacher:
- Arrive to class early. You should aim to get into the classroom at least 30 minutes before the students’ arrival. This will allow you to go over any instructions the teacher has left you and get a better feel of the classroom. This is also an excellent time to write your name on the board and make any other needed classroom adjustments.
- Introduce yourself. As I’ve discussed, it’s essential to make an excellent first impression on the students. Before teaching, you should always take a moment to introduce yourself and set expectations for the day.
- Take attendance promptly. Once you’ve introduced yourself, you should immediately take attendance. This also helps you to get to know students by their names.
- Take notes for the returning teacher. Taking notes can help the teacher understand what has occurred in their absence and how the lesson went with the students. You might also include how the students behaved in these notes.
- Go over the classroom rules with the students. Discussing the class rules as a group can help remind students of the rules and help them to understand the rules. This also provides stability since you’ll be holding students to the same standard their teacher does.
- Use positive reinforcement. When working with children, you certainly catch more flies with honey than a stick. Students will likely respond better to positive reinforcement, so staying upbeat with the kids is very important.
- Create and bring a substitute teacher kit. This kit should include things like spare pencils, markers, notebooks, paper, erasers, and any other teaching items you might need during your visit.
- Find ways to make learning fun. Coming up with activities for the students to participate in while learning will make the class go by more quickly and be far more enjoyable for the students. Not to mention, misbehavior is far less likely to occur if all the students enjoy the lesson.
The best way to ensure that a class goes smoothly is to make it enjoyable, treat the students with respect, and follow the instructions the teacher has left for you. If you follow most of these tips, your substitute teaching experience will go just fine.
If you’d like to learn a little more about being a great substitute teacher, I recommend watching How To Be a Great Substitute Teacher’s Youtube video on tips for starting a class. They do a great job quickly going over the basics:
What Makes a Good Substitute Teacher?
Substitute teaching has many pros and cons. For example, if you have a rough classroom experience, you likely won’t see those students again any time soon. On the other hand, subbing also means you won’t get to form as many lasting attachments with your students. So what exactly makes a substitute teacher good?
What makes a good substitute teacher is the ability to be flexible, detail-oriented, compassionate, positive, and patient. Substitute teaching isn’t for everyone, and it requires that you be able to teach an entire lesson with little to no notice while staying calm in stressful situations.
Being a teacher is difficult enough, but subbing certainly comes with its own set of challenges. Substitute teachers that are prepared to rise to those challenges will thrive in this field and greatly enjoy their time with each classroom experience. Luckily, even if you don’t already possess these skills, they can be learned, and you can still be an amazing substitute teacher.
How you introduce yourself to a class as a substitute teacher has a lasting impact on the students and is extremely important. Your introduction is the student’s first impression of you and your teaching style, and how you speak will help to set the tone for the rest of the class.
Therefore, it’s best to state your name, inform the class of what you’ll be doing, and give some fun facts about yourself.
Introducing yourself is also the perfect time to set classroom expectations and review class rules while trying to make connections with individual students where you can.
- Ontario Montclair School District: Substitute Teacher Quick Tips
- Teach Better: Let Them Know You: Substitute Teachers
- Quora: What does it feel like to be a substitute teacher? How do you handle students that disobey and talk back to you? Do you discipline by sending them out of the class for a bit? How do you introduce yourself? Any tips, in general, would be appreciated.
- Study: How to Have a Great First Day as a Substitute Teacher
- Western Governors University: 6 Tips to Help You Thrive As a Substitute Teacher
- American Board: How To Assemble Your Teacher Wardrobe
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Positive Reinforcement Through Rewards
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