Planning for a substitute is one of the most grueling tasks an educator faces. My sister is a physical therapist. I tried to explain it to her like this: imagine if you had to write down every single thing you wanted done while you were gone so that a person who may or may not have a degree or experience in your field could follow along. You couldn't just write, "Ask the 9:15 patient to do 15 minutes on the arm bike and then do wall wipes." You would have to say, "The arm bike is the third piece of machinery in the second row by the windows. Tell the 9:15 patient to sit down at it. Press the button with the minus inside the circle. It should turn green. Press the up arrow next to the display until it reads 7. Set a timer for 15 minutes (should be velcro-ed to the side of the display). Tell the patient to begin and start the timer. He did level 6 during his last visit, so if he struggles, tell him that he can drop the level back down to 6 if necessary. When finished, walk him over to the wall between the display of colorful, wide rubber-band-looking things and the bathroom door. Tell the patient to stand facing the wall and to extend his left hand above his head and place it on the wall. Tell the patient to glide his hand in an arc along the wall to the right until his arm is parallel to the floor. Tell him to arc his arm all the way to the left until it is parallel to the floor. Ask the patient to repeat 20 times (arcing from center to right, back through center to left and back to center counts as one "time"). The left side will likley cause him pain. It is important that he continue all the way until his arm is parallel to the floor, so please be encouraging if he encounters pain. If he doesn't continue all the way to the left, please leave me a note explaining his maximum range of motion after 10 reps so that I can plan a new exercise for next time, if necessary." And you would have to type it in advance, for every patient you see all day, from home, from memory (oh gosh! What if the arm bike is the fourth piece of machinery and you remembered wrong?! Your patient might be stair-climbing instead!), often while sick. It sucks. I know it, every classroom teacher knows it, and every sub knows it.
But do you know what's worse? Showing up for a job and finding out that the kids should be working on page 137. And nothing else. No information about schedule or what to do if kids misbehave or how to tell the administration you're missing a student during a lockdown.
Below is my non-exhaustive list of all the stuff your sub needs to know. Please leave a comment to let me know what I forgot! To make life easier for classroom teachers, you can download a fill-in-the-blank sub plan from my TeachersPayTeachers store here. That version is designed to be printed and filled in by hand. You can also purchase a totally digitally-editable version here. I will be updating those documents as I discover new and helpful information that I left out! I will be glad to send my customers updated versions as I push them out. The really handy thing about my sub plan document is that you can fill out the first few pages once and then have them ready for each subsequent absence (and leave them on file with your office for emergencies) and then just customize the last few pages with the activities for the next day you're absent.
Without further ado, my list of things to (please!) make sure your sub knows:
What have I missed? I haven't spent much time in middle and high schools, so if there are things that are specific to those grade levels that I need to add, please be sure to tell me in the comments below!