Inside: Learn how to organize your sub tub, so you don’t need to stress about sub plans last minute ever again!
It’s no secret that having a sub in your room can be more work than just trudging through the day sick. This shouldn’t be the case, but many teachers don’t use their sick days for this very reason. By organizing your sub materials way before you need a guest teacher in your classroom, you’ll be more at ease and have a lot less work when you return. Check out how to organize your perfect sub tub with these easy tips.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A container for your sub tub. (I often get asked where I got the cute one used in these pictures. If you’re wondering, this is the one I used).
- Hanging File Folders
- Lesson plans
- Worksheets & Activities to go along with the lesson plans
- Optional: Ready To Go Sub Plans
- Printer & Ink
Keep a binder of master copies.
This is a great tip regardless of whether or not you have a sub in your classroom. Kids may lose their homework or need to redo assignments to demonstrate understanding. Being able to pull a copy out of a binder instead of searching through physical or digital files is so much easier. This tip will make your sub’s day or days so much easier and protect your personal files. They’ll be no need for a sub to rifle through your file cabinet to find the copy they need. Plus, if you keep an answer key in the binders, your sub may just find some time to grade some student work for you. (Trust me, it does happen!)
Keep student copies organized in folders in a sub tub.
Get a container to put all of your sub plans in. (I used this cute one from Amazon). This will be your sub tub. Organize student copies by day of the week, time of day, or content area depending on your grade level and schedule. Put the lesson plans in the hanging file folders inside the sub tub. Let your sub know the schedule in your plans, and then all they will need to do is pull out the papers needed from the designated folders. Easy!
Add a folder for your sub at the front of the tub to include lesson plans. Additional folders may also be included. I love adding one for brain breaks or games. These can be used during transition times or for early finishers in the classroom.
I also like to create a “morning” folder and an “afternoon” folder. The sub can easily pull out what they need in the morning and again after lunch. And if you’re only gone for a half day, they’ll just pull out the one they need!
Label where your sub tub is located clearly.
It does no good to have an organized sub tub if your substitute has no idea where to find it! Let your sub know where to find the organize your perfect sub tub by grabbing a FREE sub tub label in our resource library (pictured above). If you haven’t signed up for the resource library yet, you can sign up here. It’s free! If you’ve previously signed up, click here to go to the free resource library (and enter the password from the most recent email).
If you keep your sub tub in a cabinet, consider placing the label on the outside of the cabinet so it is easy to see. Having your materials placed in an organized fashion will help your sub and your students be prepared when you are gone from your classroom. You can also let some of your co-teachers know where your sub tub is located, just in case your sub can’t find it!
Be prepared ahead of time with substitute notes and thank you cards
Leave notes for your substitute to let you know how to use your sub tub and the general flow of your day. You can also leave a note for the sub to fill out the end of the day. This serves as a reminder to your sub to leave notes for you, and helps you to know how the day went. It’s also a great idea to keep thank you notes on hand, because we appreciate substitutes who give us the break that we need!
Want to get your sub tub organized in the EASIEST way possible?
Putting together a complete sub tub from scratch can take a lot of time! Are you a work-smarter-not-harder kind of teacher? I’ve made Ready To Go Sub Plans JUST for you! Teachers have loved that these sub plans are literally print-and-go. Each set of Ready To Go Sub Plans includes an ELA lesson, reading lesson, writing lesson, science lesson, math review, math lesson, social studies lesson, brain break, art activity, and an educational game! The lesson plans are simple to follow, with engaging learning activities for the kids. Each set is guaranteed to last at least a full day. (You can also find these on TPT)!
When you grab the bundle of all 5 sets for your grade level, you’ll save 30% on your purchase and be able to fill your entire sub tub! The full 5 day bundles are currently available for Kindergarten through 6th grades. You can also grab them on Teachers pay Teachers. I also have two individual sets posted for Pre-K. You can find those here!
What have teachers had to say about Ready To Go Sub Plans?
Teachers LOVE how these sub plans take the stress out of sub planning, so you can take the days off without pressure. Check out what some teachers said about Ready To Go Sub Plans:
“I have purchased several sets of emergency sub plans, and they just never really fit my needs. These, however, are just what I’ve been looking for!! Easy prep, easy for the sub to follow! I recommend this to anyone needing emergency plans.”
“Amazing! I heard back from my sub today and she said that the kids LOVED the activities today and were so engaged! AMAZING quality and unbelievably thorough. I’ll never worry about making sub plans again!”
“I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this resource! Each day comes completely laid out, and walks a substitute through every step of the way! I will keep this forevvvvver!!!!!”
As you can see, these sub plans have been a lifesaver to many teachers! I hope they can be a great resource for you as well. When you purchase these ahead of time, you can be well on your way to having a full sub tub prepared for the next time you need to take a last minute absense. Teachers work so hard, so you deserve to take a day off when needed without all of the stress.
Being absent can be stressful for you, your students, and a substitute teacher if you aren’t organized and prepared. Being able to organize your perfect sub tub will help everything run smoothly whether you’re out for a morning or a week!
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