5 Things Your Emergency Sub Plans MUST Include

Inside: 5 things to include in your emergency sub plans

After I had my son, I took a break from teaching to stay home with him. During his first year, I subbed at a couple local schools. The WORST thing that happened to me when I was a substitute teacher was when I showed up to the class and there were no lesson plans. It’s surprising how many teachers do not have emergency sub plans in place. There was no information about any of the students. I had no idea where the class was at in any subject, which students I could trust to ask a question, or even what time the students had recess and lunch.

Emergency sub plans for teachers

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But, I get it. I’ve been on both sides. I was a teacher before I was ever a sub. Teaching is THE ONLY JOB where it takes more work to call in sick than to just suffer through a day of teaching with a bad cough or sore throat. While my husband would call in sick for symptoms such as these, I would tough it out- sick AND pregnant- 99% of the time, just because I didn’t want to write sub plans. It’s no wonder so many teachers don’t use their sick days. And who has time to put together emergency sub plans when there are SO many other things to do?

Grab your FREE sub plans sample below!

This is why it is SO important to have emergency sub plans. What if you get sick enough where you can’t come into work, but don’t have sub plans ready? What if there is a family emergency? If you have emergency sub plans that are ready to go, you will have the peace of mind that if something happens, there are some lesson plans on file for your sub. Your students will have something to do- and NO, you won’t have to try to write sub plans while you’re dealing with whatever comes up! Emergency sub plans are the type of thing that you really hope you won’t need- but if you do, you’ll be so thankful that you have them!

Here are 5 things that your emergency sub plans MUST include!

1) School Information

Answer the following questions for your sub: What is the school address and phone number? Who is the principal? What teachers there would be willing to help me if I have a question? These are all things that your sub would like to know! You should also be able to answer the following questions for your sub: What are the basic classroom procedures? What attention prompts do you use with your students? Which students can I trust if I have a question? All of these things will help the day run smoothly for both your substitute teacher and your students.

2) Schedule

When does the first bell ring? When are recess and lunch? When are any other special activities? When is dismissal? These are all questions that your sub will be wondering if you don’t let them know. If your sub doesn’t know the schedule, it can lead to very stressful situations. I can say this because I’ve been there! You can’t trust the students to let you know what time recess is, after all!

3) Seating Chart

A seating chart is a MUST in your emergency sub plans. This way, the substitute can know who each student is. It will help the substitute to be able to call roll at the beginning of the day, and to be able to call on students by name throughout the day. As a sub, I would always try to learn the students names as best I could to make the day go by more smoothly and so if I was called back, I’d be able to remember many of the names.

A seating chart also comes in handy when a student is misbehaving, because they will be able to call them by name. (See also: 9 Ways To Get Students to Behave for a Substitute Teacher). This can also help for any special accommodations the sub will need to know about. As you can see, there are many reasons to include a seating chart in your emergency substitute plans.

4) Lesson Plans and Substitute Activities

Let the sub know what they will be teaching for the day, as well as tips on how to guide the students through the activities. Believe it or not, most substitutes actually LIKE teaching your kids. I always enjoyed being able to teach a lesson rather than just handing out busy work. That being said, the lessons should be simple and easy to follow, because the sub will be jumping right in with little prep.
Like what you see in these sub plan lessons below? You can grab some free sub plans in my free resource library just like this. You can also grab full sets of Ready To Go Sub Plans that include all the lessons pictured below (plus activities and more). Thousands of teachers have loved and trusted these sub plans in their classrooms! They can be found on my website shop and my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

5) End of the Day Form

If you want your sub to tell you how the day went, leave a form for them with all of the information you’d like to know! They are much more likely to give it to you this way! (You can grab your FREE end of day notes form here!) 

Getting Organized

Get all 5 of these things compiled and organize them in a way that suits your needs. For example, label a filing cabinet “Emergency Sub Plans.” Alternatively, put them together in a large binder. You could even try an accordion folder like these ones here! Then clearly label it so your sub can find it and put it all in one spot and ready to go! Just in case, be sure to communicate with  your team members. Let them know where your emergency sub plans are so if you are unable to come in, the sub will have no problem finding them (even if they don’t see your clearly labeled sub plans themselves)!  You can grab a FREE sub tub label in the free resource library. You can also read even more about how to organize your sub tub.

Would you like to have your emergency sub plans already finished for you?

Because I believe it is THAT important to have emergency substitute plans, I have a few lessons pre-written for you and forms that are ready to fill out with all the information your sub will need! Click here for your free sub plans!

You will get:

  •  Editable Forms for your Substitute Binder (Sample)
  • Sub Plan Samples for EACH grade level
  • Sub Tub Label
  • Substitute Punch Cards
  • Substitute Teacher List
  • Seating Chart Pages
  • & much more!

This freebie will help you get your emergency sub plans started! If you LOVE what you see here and want all of your emergency sub planning checked off that to do list for good, then click here to check out all of my Ready To Go Sub Plans! Full days are available for Pre-K through 6th grades- you can purchase single days and up to a full WEEK or more! Bundle discounts are available when you purchase multiple days at a time! They are a great way to be ready for emergency sub days because EVERYTHING is done for you! (Besides making copies, of course!)

Each full day of sub plans includes everything included in the freebie, plus:

  • Copies for Students Page: A clear layout of what needs to be copied for either you or the sub
  • Substitute Plan Outline of Day: A full outline of all the lessons for the day, and which lesson plans should be referred to.
  • Lesson plans for the following subjects: ELA, Reading, Writing, Science, Math, and Social Studies
  • Worksheets: All worksheets to go with the lessons are included
  • Art Activity: This is a fun art activity that is also simple enough for any sub!
  • Brain Break Activities: Two options are given for each day (outdoor or indoor)
  • An Educational Game: These games review concepts covered during the day!
  • Answer Keys (for 1-6, Kinder sub plans include extra activities and coloring pages instead!)
emergency sub plans in a bin picture

Why Ready To Go Sub Plans make the PERFECT Emergency Sub Plans:

“You save my life this year! I had to have a sudden surgery and needed to create lesson plans. I used all of yours . Using the core standards as a guide, covering all subject areas, providing grade level challenge. Nice work. Thank-you”

“WOW! This helped me tremendously last year! I was a first year teacher and didn’t really know how to handle “what to have substitute do in the classroom” This packet lays everything out for you! Print and GO!”

“These sub plans have been the BEST discovery that I have made on TpT!! Thank you for making these wonderful all inclusive plans that are so easy to use, especially when you are sick and the last thing you want to worry about is writing sub plans! Please make more for 4th grade! I will buy them all!!”

“These are fantastic! I purchased, copied, and stored these plans in a sub tub! I told my neighbor where the tub was and all she did was put the tub on my desk and the day ran SO SMOOTHLY! No need to go into the classroom with the flu! Thank you!”

Click here to check out my sub plans in the shop!!

The #1 selling Editable Sub Binder makes the perfect addition to your emergency sub plans!

The sub binder is my #1 seller and includes templates for EVERYTHING your sub needs to know for a successful sub day. While the Ready To Go Sub Plans include the activities, the sub binder includes the essential information such as the school schedules, seating chart, class list, procedures, and more! Check out the editable sub binder here or read more about how to put together a substitute binder in this blog post!

Our short and long term substitute binders are perfect for any absence!

Not ready to buy just yet? Don’t forget to download your FREE sub plans if you haven’t grabbed it yet! 🙂

Check out all of my Ready To Go Sub Plans below!


And here’s what I use to put them together from Amazon:

For even more info, check out my comprehensive guide to emergency sub plans!

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Hey there, new teacher bestie! I’m Kelsey, and I created Wife Teacher Mommy just for YOU! I blog about teaching and create emergency sub planning resources to make your life easier. Be sure to sign up for my FREE sub plans here!

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