Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

3 Tips For Youth Workers Who Take On Substitute Teaching

10 · 01 · 10

So, I am writing this post from a middle school class today. I am sub teaching a math class today. Currently it is a pre-AP class so discipline problems are minimal. I have been subbing for about 3 years now. So, why should you consider subbing?

  • It gets you out of the office.
  • It gets you in contact with students
  • It gets you in touch with what teachers go through every day
  • It helps you realize that home work load your kids bring home.
  • A little, and I emphasize a little, extra money
  • See a mixture of cultures interact

Let me offer some advice to you if you are a novice youth worker/sub.

  • Class rooms are not youth rooms

You cannot interact with students in a classroom like you would at your church. Classrooms are built on structure not social scenes. If you try to run your class like a youth group you will lose control of your class and the teacher you are subbing for will not be happy.

  • Introduce yourself but don’t try to  prove yourself

You are the authority by default. That is how the kids see you. Don’t try to convince them you are qualified, act qualified and they will go along with you. The mistake I made early on was try trying to convince them why I should be in charge instead of just being in charge.

They don’t care how many years you’ve been “in charge’.  They are interested in your “other” job though as a youth worker so don’t be afraid to mention it if you are asked. Don’t forget to write your name on the board.

  • Ask for help

As a sub you are not the teacher. If you do not know what time you take kids to lunch, ask. If you do not know how to handle a certain situation, ask. By not asking you show the kids you are clueless or inept.

I had a situation this morning where a girl got upset and threw her books on the floor and sat angrily in her chair. I went across the hall and asked a female teacher for some help. Problem solved.

Other tidbits

  • Get there early and set up
  • Makes sure you have role sheets
  • Know where your teacher keeps the discipline forms
  • Make sure you understand the assignments the teacher has left.
  • Keep kids on task
  • Leave a note for the teacher you subbed for with anything they might need to know (discipline probs, etc.)
  • Straighten up the teachers desk where they can find your notes. Don’t over due it.
  • Be prayed up and look forward to a good day.

If you are interested in subbing contact your local school board for the next training class.

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