August 6, 2012

Sub Binder

Even though I hate calling in sick, there are often times when my body just won't make it through the day. Sometimes you know you won't be able to make it in the next day, and sometimes you wake up and just can't do it. And some days you have school conferences or IEP meetings to attend and have to get a sub. For the days I know I'm going to be out, I always leave extensive plans and some classroom expectations. However, on unexpected sub days, how can that happen?

So I've created the Sub Binder. I saw a few "Sub Tubs" on Pinterest, but those were for elementary school, and it seemed that a binder would work well for high school/middle school.  So here are the pictures of what it looks like, along with the descriptions-ENJOY!

The Cover: I have a cute poster in my room that says "This classroom runs on love, laughter, and lots of Starbucks", so I kind of played off that for my cover.

The first page is the Welcome page: The welcome page thanks the sub for coming, explains a little about the school, the students, and my teaching philosophy. I also kindly ask the sub not to deviate from the lesson plan. [I came back one day and the kids told me all the sub did was talk about her honeymoon in Hawaii and how women shouldn't change their last name :/]

Phone Numbers: Right below where I cut off the photo, I list the teachers in the English Dept & their classroom extensions. The page behind it is the directory for the school.
Classroom Policies: This next section addresses issues such as bathroom use, iPod and cell phone use, talking during class, etc.

Lesson Plans: Here is the best part of the Sub Binder. If I know I will be gone, I'll leave very detailed lesson plans here. However, if it's an unplanned absence, I have a back up plan! Each teacher has a wiki that we're supposed to put the day's work on and post homework. I keep mine very detailed and diligent, for just this reason. So every Monday I'm going to print the wiki for the week, and place it in this section. That way if I do have an unplanned absence, they can view the wiki for the week and follow those plans. [In the intro page of the Lesson Plans section, I also explain that I keep all the papers & such for each unit in a separate, labeled binder, so they simply look through that binder for the work!]

Warm Ups: Right behind the Lesson Plan explanation page, I put the Warm Up page. This explains what the warm up is [and shows a picture of what it looks like on the board] so that the procedure can be followed to a tee. 

Emergency Plan: Behind the Lesson Plan/Warm Up section is the Emergency Plan section. Behind the divider I placed our school's emergency plan and told the sub what needs to be taken out during a drill or real emergency.

Misc: Lastly I have my miscellaneous section. This section, as of right now, just contains a note page for the sub to leave for me [see below].

Hopefully this binder idea has been helpful! It's really easy to make, but may save you tons of time in the future and some stress too! Now I'm ready for those unexpected days off.
ENJOY & and feel free to create your own version!

Ms. W



  1. I love this sub binder! I had the same issues with everything else on pinterest; it's all meant for the younger grades. During my first year of teaching I was still working part time at Starbucks, and I would bring my markout (my free pound of coffee that employees receieve each week) to my classroom. My morning periods especially loved it, and your binder reminded me of it. Thank you for sharing something so relevant! Now I'm off to tweak your ideas and get my own going :)

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I actually thought about bringing in coffee in the mornings this year...but I don't get any free coffee :) Let me know if you find any great high school stuff!

  2. I am a retired teacher and a sub and I appreciate so much teachers who do this. In middle school and high school I rap at the end of good classes. Here is one of my eight raps:
    Cell phones cell phones
    You all have cell phones
    Keep them hidden
    They are forbidden.

    Steve Jobs has cast his spell
    But district policy says no cell
    Steve Jobs’ iPhone can help you cheat
    Text that question quite a feat.

    “Are we allowed to talk on our iPhones when we are done?”
    I reply “No you can’t my son.”
    But what will we do for fun?

    You can have a Monster drink
    That caffeine will help you think.

    But district policy says no cell.
    Even though Steve Jobs has cast his spell.
    The district says no hood or caps
    But you can hear a sub who raps.

    Cell phones cell phones
    You all have cell phones
    Keep them hidden
    They are forbidden.

    Carol Noren Johnson

  3. I put together a sub binder years ago. I've never understood teachers who leave nothing for subs, not even a seating chart or class list but there are so many teachers in my school who don't. You've given me a couple of ideas for things i need to add to my binder. Thanks!

  4. Oh my goodness! You are AMAZING. As a 9th grade science teacher, I loved the idea of sub tubs, but it just doesn't work for secondary. New follower as of today and putting your link in my Bloglovin' feed!