BLOG: Helping a PE Substitute Teacher Succeed

BLOG: Helping a PE Substitute Teacher Succeed


Substitute teachers are often at a disadvantage when walking into any classroom. It can be even more difficult for a PE teacher. There are no seating charts and, in many cases, very few ways to maintain control of an entire classroom of children no matter what their age. If you know you are going to have a substitute in your class, there are a few simple things you can do to make their job easier.

Announce to your class that there will be a substitute teacher instructing the class. Talk to your kids about the type of behavior you expect from them in your absence. Encourage them to be as helpful as possible by getting out any equipment that is needed and then helping to put things away when the class is over. Give extra credit points to those who go above and beyond to help the sub have a good day.

Leave your substitute teacher a note, welcoming them to the class and provide them with a list of other teachers they can look to if they need immediate assistance with the class. Let them know how much you appreciate their willingness to take over your duties and that you have informed the class to be on their best behavior. Lastly, include any information you feel may be beneficial that will make them look forward to meeting your students.

Have a clipboard ready with a list of the student’s in each class and a few game ideas. If the substitute is confident with teaching an actual class, lay out the lesson for the day and add any notes that will be useful. Many classes have student helpers that are chosen on a day to day basis. If you have a helper, create a list for them as well. They can work with the teacher by answering questions about the class or making sure all of the class goals are accomplished for the day.

If you can meet with the substitute teacher at least once before they teach your class. In some cases, this won’t be possible, but if your substitute will be assuming your duties for longer than two or three days, meeting with them will be extremely helpful. You will be able to answer any questions they may have and allow them to get a feel for your teaching style. If they can visit your class during school, it will allow the students to meet them prior to them taking over the class. This way, there will be no surprises and the kids will already know who will be waiting for them in class.

It’s important to remember that not all substitute teachers know the rules of certain games or sports so asking them to teach a lesson in basketball or another sport will be difficult. Make sure to provide them with activities they are able to teach with confidence. Depending on their level of experience, they may be a little nervous teaching a PE class simply because it is taught differently than other academic classes. Include instructions for simple games and divide the students into smaller groups so they are easier to manage.

No one wants to miss a day of teaching but when it happens, you need to make sure your students are properly taken care of. Leave as many notes as you feel comfortable with. If it makes you feel better, call the school and talk to the substitute at lunchtime. Find out how they are doing and if they have any questions or concerns. Keep the lines of communication open and let your substitute know they can count on you or other faculty if help is needed.


Posted in The Whistle: PE Blog