One of the schools at which I substitute has a very interesting and unique construct in place. While the class sizes border on the "too large" end of the spectrum, the class is presided over by two teachers who split the class into smaller, ability-based groups for math and language arts instruction and then split the planning and instruction of social studies and science. The school runs an extended day program, so one teacher arrives early and leaves at 3:30, the other arrives an hour later and stays until 4:30. This affords more prep periods in their day, too. I'm definitely intrigued. A benefit of that situation is that I am rarely far from a teacher who knows the students well when I substitute in one of their classrooms. This has a tremendous effect on student behavior and usually helps ensure a nice environment for a substitute. Another benefit of that? I get observed by a full-time certified teacher every time I sub. I hadn't put too much thought into that until, at the end of a recent assignment, my co-teacher-for-the-day asked me if there was any way she could "review" my teaching.
Huh. I hadn't thought of that. But it's a really great idea. Here was this terrifically talented professional educator wanting to formally codify my teaching abilities and I was empty-handed. Never again, I decided! I have tons of written observations/evaluations from my time spent in classrooms in South Carolina, but as I consider pursuing full-time employment again, I have relatively little to show for the time I've spent in Oregon classrooms the last few months, despite having received plenty of positive verbal feedback. As I pondered that, I really got to thinking how unfortunate this situation would be if I were a pre-service teacher substituting until a full-time job came along (Hello, fellow December graduates! I'm talking about you!).
To fill the void, I created a document I'm calling "Permanent Staff Member Reflections on Substitute Teacher Performance." For those of you with experience with such things, it can be an "Observation" or an "Evaluation," but I also recognize that those terms have certain connotations with particular districts or unions, so I chose not to put them in writing on this document. Anyway, it's a printable that you can ask any member of a school's staff (co-teacher, permanent classroom teacher, paraprofessional, administrator, administrative professional, etc.) to fill out in order to amass some data on yourself. Feel free to make your own if you don't want to buy mine (here), but consider keeping a few in your sub bag. It's a great way to showcase your professionalism to a prospective employer and a terrific way to collect feedback you can immediately use to inform your practice.