Class Update Five - Sub Plans

If you are like me, you dread being away from school. Sure, it is nice to get out of the classroom and take a break from the madness. However, it is often more work to write detailed sub plans where you predict every possible outcome that might happen in class while you are gone. You tirelessly write down and account for every minute of those lessons you will be missing. It is often more work to be gone from your classroom than it is to actually be there and teaching the lesson.


For those of you that have been following my push for student driven learning you know where my classroom has been and is going. This afternoon I will be stepping out of the building for personal business and I found myself sitting at my desk this morning writing sub plans. Yes, I should have been doing those Sunday night, but I spent that time building Legos with my sons and catching up on some down time I was sorely missing.

As I sat there getting ready to write my sub plans, I was having difficulties trying to explain what my students were doing and what I wanted the sub to do. This is what I came up with…


It is a nice feeling when you don’t have to rely on the substitute teacher to ensure that learning will take place. Since the learning belongs to the students and they are driving the classroom, the substitute takes a back seat. No longer do I have to account for each second of the class and micro-manage student learning. The students are in charge and the learning will continue regardless of my presence in the room. Isn’t that the way it should be? Learning in spite of a teacher…to me this is a great thing.

3 comments:

Terri Lewis said...

Being a substitute teacher for over 3 years, I can not imagine walking into a classroom and not having any type of lesson plans. Your blogs talk about building relationships with students are the key to classroom management. I do agree with you. But, can you imagine walking into a classroom with no sub plans and trying to win 25 or more students over in 45 minutes or less. Students even some good students are different when a sub walks in. You may have a great relationship with your students, but any information good or bad left for the sub is helpful information. Ex.-Johnny has anxieties,try this. Leave a sub plan that will keep the students engaged. The worst thing a teacher can do is leave a movie for a sub to show the classroom. Many times the students have seen the movie before and are not interested. This leads to boredom and bad behavior. I would love if a teacher left me a lesson plan that would engage the students. Most subs are retired teachers or students studying to become teachers. We are told we have to follow the teacher's plan exactly. I can not imagine students deciding to make the most of their class if left up to themselves. The next time you need a sub, please think about me, I want to engage student in learning. I would like to have an opportunity to see critical thinkers and problem solvers in action. :)

Ryan said...

Terri, I think you'd be amazed by what students can do when we get out of their way and let them do it. Will there be times when they need redirection and support? Constantly. But that doesn't mean everything will self-destruct when the teacher leaves the room.

One of my favorite lines about great teachers is that they could leave their room and the learning would still continue...

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Terri,

Thank you for the comment, and yes I understand the fear of walking into a classroom with no sub plans. However, if I have done my job correctly as a teacher, there is no need for them. Are there times early in the year when I leave detailed plans, of course. However, as the year progresses, I find less and less need to spell out each detail as students take more ownership and responsibility for their learning.