Substitute Teaching: Covering Classes

substituteteaching.jpgIt’s bound to happen sooner or later: your colleague is sick and you have to teach his class on short notice.

In some larger schools (at least one that I worked at), full time teachers may even have time in their schedule where they are required to be on the premises in case someone is sick. I wasn’t particularly fond of this during my on-premise time, but it was great to know that if I was truly sick, someone would likely be able to cover for me – rescheduling classes successfully often requires something of a Herculean effort.

It can be stressful to go into class with little preparation, but usually students and your supervisors will realize the short notice and won’t hold it against you if your lesson is a bit rough around the edges.

What to do? Hopefully there is some way for the regular teacher to record what s/he has been doing with the group, and it is updated. If there’s a coursebook, and especially if the class is on a schedule with a test at the end, or they need to progress to the next level, working from that book may be just the ticket.

Sometimes if a teacher knows s/he will be missing, s/he leaves a couple activities or directions for the replacement teacher. This is usually a good thing for everyone, and often a common courtesy of the missing teacher, but following precise instructions with a totally new group can be challenging, so the best instructions might be general ones.

If there are no instructions, students often appreciate the chance to speak, perhaps with some group correction on the whiteboard at the end. You don’t want to duplicate something the regular teacher has already done…so if you’ve got your own unique speaking activity (or one of the TEFL Logue’s), all the better.