Substitute Teacher Feedback Report Form - Effective Interventions for Academic Problems

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Effective Interventions for Academic Problems
Jim Wright
(www.interventioncentral.org)
8
Strategies to Prepare Classrooms for Substitute
Teachers
Introduction
Substitute teachers have one of the toughest jobs in the world. They are often expected to cover a
classroom full of unknown students on very short notice. Unfortunately, substitute teachers may
find upon arriving at the school that no lesson plans have been left for them, forcing
them to improvise on the spot. To make matters even more challenging, substitutes
typically show up in the classroom with little knowledge of school-wide procedures for
responding to events such as specials, fire drills, and student dismissal.
Schools deal with the disciplinary fallout when substitute teachers do not have access
to the information that they need to be effective instructors and classroom managers.
Students can be quick to misbehave when they sense that a substitute teacher lacks
confidence, is experiencing confusion, and does not know their names. Substitute
instructors may be equally quick to react by sending those misbehaving
students straight to the principal’s office. No wonder so many school
administrators and teachers dread having subs cover classrooms!
One excellent idea to help substitute teachers to exert greater control in
the classroom is for every teacher to prepare an information binder
designed explicitly for use by substitute instructors. At a minimum, the binder
should include:
• A student seating chart
• Building floorplan
• Copies of hall passes and office referral forms
• Phone numbers that the substitute should know
• Updated lesson plan
• Schoolwide emergency procedures
Teachers can also take proactive steps to prepare students to be on their best
behavior when a substitute is in the classroom. This intervention (a) provides a
group reward if the class as a whole behaves well and (b) provides individual
consequences when a particular student misbehaves.
Materials
• Transparencies of Substitute Teacher Feedback Form and Sample Apology
Letter to Substitute Teacher
• Overhead projector
Preparation
• The classroom teacher creates a short menu of feasible, appropriate classwide rewards
Effective Interventions for Academic Problems
Jim Wright
(www.interventioncentral.org)
8
Strategies to Prepare Classrooms for Substitute
Teachers
Introduction
Substitute teachers have one of the toughest jobs in the world. They are often expected to cover a
classroom full of unknown students on very short notice. Unfortunately, substitute teachers may
find upon arriving at the school that no lesson plans have been left for them, forcing
them to improvise on the spot. To make matters even more challenging, substitutes
typically show up in the classroom with little knowledge of school-wide procedures for
responding to events such as specials, fire drills, and student dismissal.
Schools deal with the disciplinary fallout when substitute teachers do not have access
to the information that they need to be effective instructors and classroom managers.
Students can be quick to misbehave when they sense that a substitute teacher lacks
confidence, is experiencing confusion, and does not know their names. Substitute
instructors may be equally quick to react by sending those misbehaving
students straight to the principal’s office. No wonder so many school
administrators and teachers dread having subs cover classrooms!
One excellent idea to help substitute teachers to exert greater control in
the classroom is for every teacher to prepare an information binder
designed explicitly for use by substitute instructors. At a minimum, the binder
should include:
• A student seating chart
• Building floorplan
• Copies of hall passes and office referral forms
• Phone numbers that the substitute should know
• Updated lesson plan
• Schoolwide emergency procedures
Teachers can also take proactive steps to prepare students to be on their best
behavior when a substitute is in the classroom. This intervention (a) provides a
group reward if the class as a whole behaves well and (b) provides individual
consequences when a particular student misbehaves.
Materials
• Transparencies of Substitute Teacher Feedback Form and Sample Apology
Letter to Substitute Teacher
• Overhead projector
Preparation
• The classroom teacher creates a short menu of feasible, appropriate classwide rewards
Effective Interventions for Academic Problems
Jim Wright
(www.interventioncentral.org)
9
Intervention Steps
Step 1: Introduce the Substitute Teacher Intervention to the Class. Set aside 10 minutes of class
time to present the intervention.
• Open the discussion by asking students to share their thoughts about the difficulties of being a
substitute teacher. List these ideas on the board.
• Tell students that substitute teachers are an extension of the school’s teaching staff and should
be accorded the same respect as the classroom teacher. Emphasize that your expectations
for student behavior are no different when a substitute is covering the room than when you are
present.
• Inform students that substitutes who cover your classroom will keep a close eye on student
behavior and will deliver a report back to the teacher at the end of the day. If the substitute
decides that the classroom behavior has been sufficiently positive, he or she can inform the
teacher that the students have earned a classwide reward. If any student should misbehave in
the presence of the substitute, that student will later need to write an apology letter to the
substitute.
• Using the overhead projector, take students through the sections of the Substitute Teacher
Feedback Form. In particular, emphasize the substitute’s power to decide (a) what individual
students merit special mention for positive or negative behaviors and (b) whether the entire
class deserves a collective reward for appropriate behavior.
• Show the transparency of the Sample Apology Letter to Substitute Teacher. Tell the class that
any students singled out by the substitute for misbehavior will be expected to write a letter of
apology to the substitute.
• [Optional but recommended] Inform students that parents of anyone who misbehaves will also
receive a call from the classroom teacher to discuss the child’s problem behaviors.
Furthermore, the parents will need to read through and sign the student’s letter of apology to
verify that they read through it and talked the situation over with the child.
Step 2: Implement the Intervention: When a substitute is scheduled to cover your classroom:
• If possible, take time just before the day that a substitute will be in the room to remind students
that you expect them to behave appropriately. Briefly review the main points of the
intervention (i.e., group reward for positive behavior, individual letter of apology and parent
conference for misbehavior).
• Leave a copy of the Substitute Teacher Feedback Form out for the substitute to complete at
the end of the day.
Step 3: Promptly Follow Through with Intervention Consequences:
• As soon as you return to the classroom, be sure to read through the substitute teacher’s
feedback and respond accordingly.
• If the class has earned a group reward, either select a privilege, prize, or activity from the
reward menu yourself or have the class vote on a reward from the menu.
• Praise any student noted by the substitute as having been especially helpful and well-behaved.
[Optional] Give these students small individual rewards.
• Send any students reported by the substitute as having misbehaved to a quiet area (e.g.,
corner of the classroom, in-school detention room) to write out their letters of apology to the
substitute. If necessary, help the students to address the envelopes and mail the letters.
Effective Interventions for Academic Problems
Jim Wright
(www.interventioncentral.org)
10
[Optional but recommended] Follow up with a call to students’ parents to discuss the students’
misbehavior. Send a copy of the letter home with the student for parent signature.
• If the substitute requests on the feedback form that he or she would like to be contacted, call,
write, or email him or her to find out more about how the substitute’s day went in your
classroom.
Tips
Check in on the Substitute During the Day. With more and more classrooms equipped with
telephones, some teachers exert a bit of extra classroom control when a substitute is covering their
room by calling in at several points during the day. Substitutes are likely to appreciate these
phone calls greatly! If they have questions about the classroom lesson or need to know what
school-wide procedures to follow, the teacher can quickly supply this information. The teacher may
also be able to advise the substitute about how to deal with a particularly challenging student’s
behavior or even problem -solve on the phone directly with the student.
Trouble-Shooting
The substitute did not fill out the feedback form. With all of the demands on their time, substitute
teachers may occasionally forget to leave the completed feedback form for you at the end of the
day. Tell your students that reminding the substitute to complete the form might earn a child
special mention as being helpful and help the entire class to earn a reward. If, however, the form
is not filled out when you return to the room, see if you can get the substitute’s phone number or
email address to check in with him or her about how the day went. If you cannot get in touch with
the substitute, you might collect a little circumstantial evidence about how your class behaved while
you were gone. The office, for example, could check whether any students were sent from your
room to the principal with disciplinary referrals, while neighboring teachers in the same hallway
could describe for you what they observed going on in the room. If this indirect evidence suggests
that the class kept its behavior within appropriate bounds, give them the reward!
References
A special thanks to Cheryl Wlodarski, a teacher at a middle school in Central New York for
contributing many of the ideas in this substitute-teacher strategy!
Effective Interventions for Academic Problems
Jim Wright
(www.interventioncentral.org)
11
Substitute Teacher Feedback Report
Date:________________________
From: ______________________, Classroom Teacher, ________________________
Dear Substitute Teacher:
Hi! I want to make sure that you had a good experience today while covering my classroom.
Please take a moment to complete this sheet. If something did not go well or students
misbehaved, I will use your feedback to correct the situation in the future. Thank you!
1. What overall information, if any, would you like to share about how the day went?
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
2. [Optional] What are the names of students in the class today who:
• were especially helpful and well-behaved?
• presented behavior/discipline problems?
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
• Do you feel that the class as a whole behaved well enough to deserve a reward? ___Y ___N
3. What would you recommend that I or other staff in the school do in the future to make your
substitute teaching experience a smoother and more rewarding one?
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
4. [Optional] Please include your name and mailing address, phone number or email if you would
like me to contact you to talk further about your experience in my classroom today:
Your Name: _______________________ Ph: _______________ Email: _________________
US Mail Address: _____________________________________________________________
Effective Interventions for Academic Problems
Jim Wright
(www.interventioncentral.org)
12
Sample Apology Letter To Substitute Teacher
Paragraph 1:
Dear Ms. Smith:
Introduction
The student:
1.
Introduces self.
[1] My name is Thomas Morlin. I am a student in
2.
States the date the
Ms. Tolerino’s classroom at Baylor Elementary
teacher was out of the
classroom and the
School. [2] On May 8, Ms. Tolerino could not be in
substitute teacher took
the classroom, so you came in as a substitute teacher.
his/her place.
[3] Being a substitute is hard, because you don’t
3.
Presents two reasons
that being a substitute
know the students’ names and sometimes students act
teacher can be difficult
silly when there is a substitute in the room.
Paragraph 2: Body
[4] During the class, I misbehaved. [5] I made a
The student:
face at you and told another student that I didn’t like
4.
Acknowledges
misbehaving
you. The other kids laughed.
5.
Describes misbehavior
Paragraph 3:
[6] I apologize for acting so badly when you were
Conclusion
teaching our class. [7] The next time that I have a
The student:
6.
Apologizes for the
substitute teacher in my classroom, I will speak
misbehavior
respectfully and not make faces.
7.
Describes plan to
improve behavior for
the next time that a
Sincerely,
substitute teacher
Thomas Morlin
covers the classroom
-------------------------------------------------------------------
8.
(Optional) Must review
the letter with parent(s)
[8]
Dear Parent(s): Please read this letter and discuss with
and return with their
your child how to improve his or her classroom behavior when
a substitute teacher is in the classroom. Then sign the letter
and have your child return it to me. Thank you.
Mrs. Tolerino, Teacher
Signature of Parent(s): ____________ Date:___
*Adapted from Wlodarski, C. (2001). Tips to help your substitute teacher stay sane.

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