Bag of Tricks for the Substitute Teacher
Carmen Morales is always prepared. When students see her walk into their classroom, they relax, knowing that this substitute teacher will be in control and ready to spend a productive day with them. There will be no chaos when Mrs. Morales is in charge.
Carmen keeps her “bag of tricks” packed with teaching essentials and brings it to school each day. The bag contains items that might be useful for any circumstance that she is likely to encounter.
“Are we ready for today’s spelling test?” asks Mrs. Morales in her trademark lilting voice.
A hand shoots into the air, attached to a little boy with a growing frown.
“Mrs. Morales, I can’t take the spelling test. I don’t have a pencil.” The little boy seems close to tears.
Carmen smiles in a way that shows mild disapproval (after all, the student should have a pencil) but at the same time expresses sympathy. She reaches into her bag of tricks and out comes a well-sharpened pencil.
Later in the day after recess, a student named Lily reenters the classroom with a smudge of dirt on her face. Mrs. Morales takes out a hand wipe and quietly hands it to her, maintaining her privacy and saving her from embarrassment.
Lily’s eyes widen as she wipes her face. “Wow, you have everything in there, Mrs. Morales!”
There’s a reason that the Boy Scouts adopted the motto “Be Prepared.” For a substitute teacher, nothing could be more important. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the items that should be placed in your personal “bag of tricks.”
Why Should I Bother with a Bag of Tricks?
It’s a reasonable question. After all, the classroom is full of educational materials, there will be a complete daily schedule and plan that will guide you through every minute of the day, the children will always know where things are kept, and if they don’t, a grade partner surely will. Right?
Think again. In too many cases, I’ve found that the right teaching materials may be missing or incomplete, the lesson plan is sketchy, the children don’t know where things are kept, and the teacher next door can’t provide much help. That’s where your bag of tricks comes into play, and that’s why you need one.
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