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September 27, 2011

What to Include In A Substitute Teacher Binder

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: Career Path
X What to include in a substitute teacher binder

What to include in a substitute teacher binder


The more detailed you are with your substitute plans, the better the day will be for your students and the substitute teacher.  Take the guess work out of figuring out what to put in your substitute planner and use the ideas below to get you started.  With a 3-ring binder in hand, you can create a guide that your substitute will be sure to remember and appreciate.

What to Include in a Substitute Teacher Binder

  • Class List
  • Class Rules
  • Schedules – Teacher’s and Student’s
  • List of Routines:  Morning, Dismissal, Transition Times, Lunch, etc.
  • Lesson Plans:  Keep a stack of emergency lesson plans for each subject that align with the district’s standards.  ERIC is a great resource.
  • A List of Grade Level Teachers:  Become substitute teacher buddies with another grade-level teacher and agree to be the go-to person for your buddy’s substitute teacher.

What are some of your favorite tips for planning for a substitute teacher?  Leave a comment below and share with us!


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  • Denise
    August 12, 2012

    PLZ PLZ PLZ don’t forget to include the special ed kids that mainstream into your class at one point or another. The sub won’t know why this random kid is there and what he is supposed to be doing. If they are only staying for xx minutes please state that. If they have behavior issues with the sub and do better with Mr. X on these days, please, say that. If they need a behavior/homework contract/chart ~~~~~~~ This has been your special ed public service announcement for the day~~~~~~~~~Thank you <3

  • Brian
    October 16, 2011

    Some ideas to include are a map of the school as you may have a substitute who has never been to the school, children that you can count on, classroom rules and consequences/rewards, who the helpers of the day are, if possible names on student desks, etc.

  • Chassidy
    October 16, 2011

    I leave a map of the scool with evacuation plan. Also a form for the sub to leave me feedback, whos absent, exceptional helpers, who gave them problems, what could I do better in preparing next time, etc.

  • julie
    October 9, 2011

    I always leave extra materials from previous units in an emergency file. Subs can pull from this file if there is any free time. It is a cyclical review for the kids.

  • Carolyn
    September 27, 2011

    As a former sub, I was surprised at how often teachers did not leave a seating chart. If there wasn’t one, I always made one, often while taking roll. Now that I teach, I always leave one.

  • Jen Grantham
    September 27, 2011

    I always include a class picture with each student’s name labeled underneath. That way, a substitute knows which child they are speaking to, and can use it to call on students when needed. I have had MANY subs say this was a lifesaver! (Even better now that I teach Kindergarten and the kids are not always great at articulating their own names when asked!) 🙂

  • Cyndy
    September 27, 2011

    I always plan a full day with more than I think the sub will need, so that there are no times with nothing specific for the students to accomplish. I include a note explaining this and ask that they leave me a note if they have assignments they do not complete. I also try to have all plans, manuals, hand-outs, manipulatives, and materials clearly labeled and easily accessable on my desk.

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