Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Random Substitute-ism:

Ever lose your lesson plans?  What I mean is, do you ever physically have them in your hands one moment, and then suddenly realize you have no idea where they are?

This probably doesn't happen very often to regular teachers, but I bet it does to subs.  It happens to me quite often, which shows how easily I misplace things.

Most subs probably like to keep the lesson plans handy.   Subs, you understand, have mere moments to familiarize themselves with the day's schedule and lessons.  We refer to it every few minutes to get details on the lesson, to anticipate what happens next, and to generally feel safer knowing we have easy access to it.  Kauai Mark was right when he called the physical copy of plans a "security blanket" for subs.

I move around the room a lot.  I walk around, check on students, stop in certain areas.  Sometimes, the lesson plan is in my hand.  And then, suddenly, I realize it's not there anymore.  And I have to find ways to backtrack and look for it without calling attention to the fact that I have no idea where it is.  I guess I could simply ask, "Hey, has anyone seen the lesson plan?" but that doesn't seem very professional, does it?  I don't want to alarm the students or get them off-task.

Plus, you only really need to know where it is so you can know what's happening next.  For instance, the students may be working on math and you know you need to start the science lesson soon, but you forgot how long exactly they have to finish the math.  Should they be wrapping up now, or in ten minutes?   And what time is lunch again?  Where is that plan?

Usually, what happens is I stop by a student's desk and leave it near them, or I stopped to help someone fix the pencil sharpener and left the plan on a counter or desk, or a million other things.  I've left plans on top of overheads, on bookshelves and in chairs.  I can usually spot it quickly when I walk once or twice around the room nonchalantly.

Today, I almost completely lost the darn thing, though.  I was talking to students and I accidentally placed the plan in the pile of math worksheets I'd just stacked up neatly and was paper-clipping together.  The plan was tucked away halfway inside the stack without me noticing, and I went for about ten minutes without it, which must be a record for me.  It was sheer providence that I happened to notice it in the stack of worksheets!  The funny thing is that the students are never aware of any of this.  At least, I don't think so...



  1. I just did that on Monday. It ended up in the work the students had turned in. Oops.

    Usually, I have the lesson plan clipped to a clipboard. Underneath I keep a sheet on which I write the day's note. I find it helps me keep track of it easier. Maybe this could help?

  2. Hi, Liz! Glad to know I'm not the only one. I'm pretty sure I'd leave the clipboard somewhere, too. As long as I know it's IN the room, I know I'll eventually find the plan. Thankfully, I've yet to take them to other parts of the school and lose them there.

  3. I don't carry my plans around all day with me (now *that* would be weird since I plan all those lessons lol), but sometimes I have a paper that I need to refer to and I leave it on someone's desk after helping or I set it down somewhere and drive myself nuts trying to remember where I set it.

    So yeah, it definitely happens to the permanent classroom teachers too. I always wonder how my colleagues who have lots and lots of papers on their desks ever find anything because there's just SO MUCH paper everywhere. It would make me insane!

  4. I agree! With all the papers teachers have to keep track of, plus dates, lessons, staff notes and everything else, it's a wonder some teachers don't literally lose their heads. When I become a teacher, I'm going to have to FORCE myself to keep everything organized because papers are the top thing I misplace at home. Also, glad to know subs aren't the only ones who leave things in random places. I guess that at least proves we move around the room, which is good!

  5. This has happened to me also, and I found the plans on a students desk. I was laughing when I read your post because this has definatly happened to me, espically if I'm extra tired or it's a difficult class and I'm a little nervous. As far as organization, some people thrive in organized chaois, and others need to be super organized. I'm a very visual person, therefore, I'll require a major organized style. I find that even when I have my sub binder, and paperwork out it ends up everywhere, espically when the students come in and it's like a small twister went by.

  6. I need organization, too! I wonder what are the oddest places subs and teachers have discovered their plans. Thanks for posting.