Effectively Training the Subs in Your District

School Districts

August 30, 2023

Did you know, cumulatively, students spend nearly a full year with substitutes from Kindergarten to 12th grade?

Did you also know that 44% of district leaders say they provide no training for substitute teachers? And only 11% offer training in a sub’s most central role: classroom management?

Without proper training, substitutes can start to feel unprepared in their roles, leading to poor performance and a sense of being undervalued by the district. In turn, students lose critical learning time and access to high quality classroom activities. This makes quality training a crucial part of hiring substitutes into a district.

But what does this training look like? The best training for substitute teachers focuses on the everyday issues substitutes encounter during their assignments. This typically encompasses a few critical elements:

  • Assignment preparation
  • Classroom expectations
  • Classroom management strategies
  • Age-appropriate communication and instruction
  • Emergency procedures
  • End-of-day responsibilities

With an educational staffing company, such as Edustaff, this training is built in. Training sessions are held in group workshops where potential substitutes learn how to provide safe, structured learning environments that encourage student achievement. These sessions are designed by teachers and are led by current and past substitutes who can provide their own real-world experiences. Potential substitutes are given the opportunity to ask questions, engage with others going through the same process, and access additional online resources.

Because every district is different, providing separate, district-tailored training can be a great way to ensure substitutes feel appreciated and prepared. This individualized training can be as simple as brainstorming a welcoming plan for substitutes (check out our blogpost on cultivating a welcoming environment for subs) or creating a guidebook detailing district-specific processes and procedures.

Does your district have a specific clothing policy? Does your district have a precise check in and check out procedure? Do your schools have unique cultures you’d like substitutes to be aware of? These are all great items to include in your training!

Lastly, school districts can work to keep their substitutes updated on any recent training updates or district changes. This can include standard protocol updates (such as the dress code, code of conduct, and start and end times) or last-minute emergencies (such as school closures and delays). Providing substitutes with a means to access this information - whether it be through a phone call or a specific announcement spot on the webpage - can help your substitutes feel up-to-date and sufficiently trained for a successful day.