You Have to Do WHAT?

Written by Camden Flores on . Posted in Education, Lesson Plans, Sub Plans, Substitute Teachers

Bigstock- 21179419 - Sick Woman.Flu.Woman Caught Cold. Sneezing into Tissue. Headache. Virus .Medicines

Does this conversation sound familiar…..


Husband, mother, child, or a friend asks, “You have to do WHAT?”


You answer, with barely enough energy to speak, ,  “I have to go into school and write my sub plans.”


And here come the buts…

          “But it is still dark outside…

          “ But you are too sick to drive…

          “ But you will be the only one at school…

          “ But it is not safe this early…

          “ But our children need you here at home…


It is an unfortunate reality of the teaching profession: Teachers are expected to prepare sub plans when they must be away from their classrooms. Yet, we are not given support (time or materials) to do this. Preparing a Sub Tub with emergency lesson plans is always on our list, but we rarely have time complete it. We are provided a curriculum for all subjects we teach, why are we not provided with a curriculum for those days we are unexpectedly absent? 

I think it’s because the people who write curriculum are NOT classroom teachers. They are well researched in pedagogy and subject matter, but they are not fully aware of the demands required for planning and managing a classroom of 25, 30, even 35 students. With the shift from NCLB to CCSS, our “to do” list grows infinitely longer, and preparing a Sub Tub never gets accomplished. If we were provided a supplemental curriculum for preparing emergency plans, all teachers could easily have quality sub plans available for their subs. 

In my attempts to gather information about marketing my Sub Tubs® lessons (an academic vocabulary enrichment curriculum written for substitute teachers to use while the regular classroom teacher is away), I was advised by two superintendents that administrators would not be interested in spending money to help teachers plan for their subs. They explained that school districts already pay salaries and textbooks. The lesson planning for a sub was not their responsibility. 

While I was very grateful for their time and support (I received many good ideas for how to approach this project), I do not agree with their position. I believe too many school districts do not give teachers sufficient prep time, yet they continue to expect more. If we are expected to write lesson plans for our subs, isn’t it fair to expect some time provided for us to do it? 

Or better yet, wouldn’t a supplemental curriculum written specifically for substitute teachers (who do NOT know the students, routines, and subject matter currently being covered in a particular class) be the best solution for providing students productive days with their subs?

What is your opinion? Do you have emergency sub plans ready to go? If so, did your administration provide time or materials for you to complete this?



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Comments (2)

  • Shannon


    There is never enough time to finish our already overwhelmed day. This looks like a fantastic resource!


    • Camden Flores


      Thanks, Shannon! It amazes me that it is EXPECTED that we write sub plans, along with all the other tasks always being added to our lists. But, we do it because we are dedicated and want the best for our classrooms, even when we are not there!


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