What Should I Leave for the Sub?

As a substitute with almost 3 years of experience I have seen it all. Here's what every substitute folder should include:
  • List Students Who are Helpful. Kids you would recommend I reach out to if I can't find something, or need them to run an errand. Most classes have Students of the Day but having a list of additional helpers is still important. I tend to assign numerous jobs during the day both for myself and to redirect negative behaviors. 
  • List Students to Watch out For and offer suggestions to avert negative behaviors. 
    • Susie tends to have anxiety so please watch out for her/be extra sensitive.
    • Teddy is rambunctious and can't sit still - give him important jobs like sending him to Mrs. Lucy's room to deliver a "message" so he benefits from walks. 
    • Leonard likes to answer every question- give him extra attention during transitions but remind him that we need to take turns when you ask questions.
  • Have a Seating Chart
  • List reading, math, writing and work buddies. Kids often always forget so having it written down for the sub is very helpful. 
  • Leave Extra Assignments or Activities
  • Reward System: Let us know if you have one and what it is. Do you have a compliment chain? Reward individual behavior or only for groups?
  • Bathroom/Drink Procedure: Are they only allowed to go after lunch? Once in the morning and once in the afternoon? Only during transition times? Also, include which students to look out for who typically go repeatedly out of boredom or for actual health reasons. 
What else should teachers leave for substitutes?


  1. In middle school, a trick I've picked up is to use the photo-stickers that come with our student pictures to make a color copy for supply teachers, so that there's no room for a "Jack" to suddenly appear out of nowhere & be causing mischief in the class if I'm away!

    If your school photos don't come with this sticker option, then take your own photos of the kids and create a table with their names & images!

    Mme Aiello @ Teaching FSL

  2. Great list! I subbed for 2 years and I also feel that I saw it all! I also loved when teachers leave specific information on bathroom procedures and even nurse procedures. Those were the 2 things that kids ALWAYS try to take advantage of. If you flounder once because you don't know the exact procedure, it will be an all-day issue.