Have you ever been called upon to substitute in a Bible class at the last minute? You may know nothing about the class to start with and then when you get to the room, there are no plans, books, or materials ready to use. You may go away from the experience feeling like you’ve just been babysitting and killing time keeping everyone entertained for 45 minutes rather than really teaching a class!
I have a few suggestions that I think are helpful for those who might be called upon to substitute in a class and suggestions for those regular teachers who may need a sub from time to time.
If you are a regular teacher, give as much notice as possible to your sub. If you know you won’t be at church next Sunday because you are going out of town, don’t wait until Saturday night to call for someone. The more time a sub has, the better prepared she can be. Give the sub all the materials, plans, and handouts as early as you can.
Have some basic information available for your sub. This includes a list of students written out so that your sub can call the children by name. Also, any special instructions should be left that will make the class run smoother. These could include a food allergy that a student has. It also might include things like “Suzy and Johnny shouldn’t sit next to each other” because of a behavior problem, or a special needs student.
At some point when the class period is over, be sure to thank your substitute for filling your spot!
If you are the substitute, there are some things you should do. If you have had advanced notice, Prepare!! Do not walk in at the last minute and try to wing it with your students. You have a responsibility to provide the best class that you can! You should be as familiar with the materials that are to be taught.
When you get to class, try to know the children’s names and be sure to introduce yourself. Don’t assume that the children automatically know who you are. Just because you know a student as being the child of so and so, doesn’t automatically mean that the child knows you. Also, let them know why their regular teacher isn’t present if you know that information.
Follow the regular teacher’s plans closely. This will provide consistency within the curriculum. If you find yourself subbing regularly, you may think about making a “sub folder”. This could contain an entire lesson to be used in case no materials are left for you. What goes into your folder would depend on the ages that you might teach. You may even want to have a preschool folder, a younger elementary age, and an older elementary age folder. You could include a story with visuals, craft, game, worksheet, or anything appropriate for the age. Having a folder like this would ensure that you will not walk into a class totally unprepared.
Be sure to return all materials that were left for you to the regular teacher immediately. She will want to be prepared for the next class time. It may also be helpful to let the teacher know how class went with a conversation or by leaving a note.
Please don’t waste a Bible class opportunity by making the time all “fluff” or “filler” material. Be a responsible regular class teacher by helping your sub make the most of the class. If you are the sub, there is no reason to be unprepared whether materials are left or not. Take the initiative to be prepared and teach those little ones!