By: Jeffery Baas, Ed.D. ( July 26, 2017)
1. Be Predictable. By following the daily schedule and lesson plans left for you as closely as possible, you will be creating a predictable environment that feels safe for students. Significant change and disruption in a schedule can be frustrating and play havoc on a child’s social and emotional day increasing the likelihood of disruptive behaviors.
2. Praise the Horde. Research shows that praise is effective in motivating both learning and behavior. Praise indicates teacher approval of expectations and informs the student about the quality of their work. Specifically, describing noteworthy achievements have a greater effect than general statements. For example, instead of saying “good job,” say “you’ve been very attentive the last 10 minutes,” or “excellent, you’ve found the solution to the problem; how did you do it?” Always praise achievement and effort, never ability.
3. Bring a Bag of Tricks. Many successful substitute teachers say they come to class prepared with developmentally appropriate games, puzzles, riddles, mental arithmetic tricks, read-alouds and community-building activities that teach and motivate. Finding such activities that match your style can be a fun treasure hunt on the internet. One weekly source for such ideas is the National Education Association’s e-newsletter, Works4Me.