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Thank you! This board is great!


New Member
I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for posting such good ideas, advice and suggestions. I have been reading the message board for about a week, and just had my first placement today(6th and 8th grade Language Arts and Social Studies). In one way reading all of your messages made me even more nervous, but more so, it helped me feel like I wasn't going in totally blind. Like may others, the staffing company that I signed up with gave little or no direction...just fill out paper work and go from there. After spending hours reading everyone's posts, I had a little better idea of what to expect. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I can say that I survived my first day, and that it went really well. I was able to maintain control of the students, keep them on task and focused on what needed to be done. (Although, there's always one or two that just want test you the whole time.) As recommended by many, I left the teacher a pretty extensive account of how the day was, behavior and all, and what was completed in regards to thier work. It was probably longer than I really needed to write...she's probably going to look at it tomorrow and think I'm a dork...but...oh well. Better too much than nothing at all...right?

I feel like this message board is my security blanket. I'll continue reading posts to learn more every day. Thanks again...all of you!!!!


Senior Member
my feelings, too

"it was probably longer than I really needed to write...she's probably going to look at it tomorrow and think I'm a dork...but...oh well. Better too much than nothing at all...right?"
Right! I think it better to include things, as you are covering yourself, you know. Remenber that if something happened and you don't include it on your notes, it is very possible that the kids will tell the teacher. So give your verison.


Senior Member
too much?

i don't think you can be too detailed in your note to the classroom teacher (said the 6th grade teacher of 13 years).

the only thing i think is "dorky" is when a substitute tells ME what to do---i had one once that assigned a math page to my class because they were loud/bad (i don't remember!) and she said something like, "to support substitutes everywhere, i should grade those papers." what the heck? more work for me? grade them yourself! those papers went right into the recycle bin! (she was a loony; and i only had her because it was an emergency.) BTW: i subbed k-12 for 2 years, so i can appreciate the work a sub must do!

i am very verbose in my notes to subs, and i appreciate detail in return--it shows you paid attention and understand my need to feel like i really was in the classroom that day. :)


sub notes

Can you tell from my other posts that I too tend to leave lengthy sub notes for the teacher. I have designed a form that covers my day and helps me to get to the point without overdoing it. Gets me home a little quicker too! You can buy pre-printed forms from the teacher supply store, but I was comfortable typing my own. Plus I wanted a custom form that identified me. You can get fancy or keep it simple. I have put mine on plain white paper, but want to put it on colored copy paper to make it stand out a little more.

On the top of my form, I put my name and substitute ID # and e-mail address. My sub # is my phone number too, so the teacher can call me if desired. Then I have an area to put the teacher's name and the date on it (like a letter would be). I have things on there like students absent/tardy/left early, Lesson plans, completed/not completed/supplemental work given and some lines to add comments about lesson plans or work related info. I need to add a space for students missing homework. There is a space for overall classroom behavior, a space for individual students who were especially helpful and courteous, a space for students who were disruptive. There is a space for additional comments.

I don't think I missed anything I have on the form. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Whatever you think you tend to comment on, create a space for it. Try the form for a while and tweak it a bit if necessary.

Besides being quicker to fill out the form than leave an extensive note, there are other benefits. To me, if the note is too lengthy, I worry about whether the teacher will actually take the time to read it. On the form, the teacher can skim the headings and go right to what he/she is looking for.


A Good Point

Now that I think about it, my sub notes can be a bit wordy. Moreover, I do it on a sheet of notebook paper and just do it in bullets. It can sometimes take up most of one side, but that only occurs either in bad classes or when their were no lesson plans. I probably should have a "prepared" paper with all the headings, but as long as I get my point across, it doesn't matter if I write it on a pizza box.
BTW, if the teacher really cares about what went on in class that day, than he/she will read the note, no matter the length.


Senior Member
Can't please everyone all the time

I think sub note length has got to be a personal decision. I've heard teachers say they love getting a detailed note. I've also heard teachers complain about coming back to a long note. We, as subs, just can't win it seems. So I do what pleases me.

The main thing is I want something that will identify me. I want the teacher to walk in the room and if I've subbed for them before, I want them to remember it just by looking at my note. When I first began subbing, I used some rainbow legal paper that I found at the store. As far as I know, I am/was the only one in the district using that paper.

Now, I use my own custom made report. I make copies of the report on different colored paper and fill it out accordingly.

I only sub in elementary so I was able to style it with that in mind. I have a spot to mark who was absent, who was tardy/left early, what information was covered, great helpers, and other important information. If I need to say more, I write on the back or add a sheet to it. I also attach my business card with my email and phone number for the teacher to call/email me if they have questions.

The teachers seem to really like it. I've gotten several compliments on both and no complaints. Yet. ;)

Congratulations on the success of your first job! I hope it continues!


custom form for teacher note

I agree with Subteacherman that it really doesn't matter what you write teacher notes on. I have used notebook paper, copy paper, memo sheets, post-it notes, etc. You have certain information you need to leave for the teacher and if you do so, that is all that matters.

I decided to go with a custom form for a few reasons. First of all, I need to work and I am trying to be competitive. I only sub at one school which greatly limits the amount of work offered. I too, leave a business card attached with my sub note, unless I am very confident that teacher has my info. and uses me regularly. I want the teacher to remember that I was the sub in that classroom that day. Also, I worry that the teacher may not like a lengthy note, even though I have never heard any complaints about a note being too long. I also wanted to make the task of leaving a sub note easier for myself. It is quicker to fill out the form and I am not likely to forget any areas this way.

The main thing is to do what you are comfortable with. Some things work well for some people and not at all for others.


LOVE the form idea!Also 2 reasons for detail!

I am going to do this! I have been leaving a few sentences per class on the sub plan paper that was left for me.I fill it out as each class leaves. I am sometimes detailed or too specific. Yesterday my classes(World History) watched a video on Africa: "A History Denied". 45 min. then they had to write an essay 1 page, 4-5 paragraphs about it.(they almost cried.-A simple paper-) I told them to take notes because they would forget people, places etc.(as the teacher instructed for me to tell them) Well...some slept, wrote other notes, twirled their hair,etc. To make this short. 1st period had homeroom, and class was cut short because of it. The video finished, and I told them to do the paper for homework.(only 10 min. left) so..I left the teacher a note,telling him the exact time the video finished- and that they were to do the essay for homework.The 1st period class told him today that they didn't finish the video,ran out of time, and couldn't do their homework because of it!I think he "overlooked" the liars/students today- which is so wrong. -what about the kids that DID their homework to turn in 1st period?I always leave a note just because of this very thing. I also note tarties,coming in late after class,etc. I also ALWAYS print the class work on the board and homework so they can't say I didn't give them everything, or I didn't assign homework, etc.I had a kid last week "skip" my class.Students said they had seen her that morning.I made a note of it for the teacher. (The office checks these things later in the day.)-I figured she had went home early. Well, the assistant principal came down to my room after class, and asked me why I had given her permission to stay in the library for the whole class period(this is what she had told him upon getting caught) I showed him my note where I had counted her as absent, and I had even wrote "someone saw her earlier-so she probably checked out of school before class"That proved I was right, and she got 4 days of "Challange." Anyway, I'm sorry this is so long- but we have to be professional- and cover ourselves.I'm going to get right on the custom sheet!!


Senior Member
Better too much information than not enough

I have been using a form that I created which sounds a great deal like other forms people describe here. I have found that it saves me time, and gives me something I can write on throughout the day.

I just wish I could get computer access - most of the time I can't. My typing is waaay easier to read than my handwriting!

Many teachers are pleasantly surprised that I use something so professional looking and thank me for doing so.

I tend to leave as many details as I can and most teachers appreciate it. I know it must be a burden to have to read these things, but it lets teachers know what went on in their absence.

I started a two-day job this week for a teacher who is on a jury. She was so knocked out by my sub report that she called me last night to tell me so. She is VERY into what is going on in the classroom and we spent some time discussing certain student problems, etc.

This teacher has requested me the next two days, and will try to schedule me in for the rest of her jury duties, because she is thorough and appreciates that I am too.

So, I think it's a GOOD thing to leave detailed reports. Conscientious teachers seem to appreciate it, and will call you back. In situations like the one I am in - where the teacher is going to be out a number of days - having the same sub is good for everyone: the students, the teacher, and me.

I will simply continue to leave detailed reports for teachers. If they don't like it, too bad. I'd rather give a full report on the day than leave out critical information. I have noticed, too, that teachers who thank me for my reports tend to be better organized and leave better lesson plans for me. Thus, I'd rather cultivate such teachers than get jobs with people who don't really care that much what happens when they are absent.

My two cents....


New Member
Pre made forms are a great idea!

A lot of great ideas and suggestions in response to the novel of a sub report I left! I used notebook paper and just made bullets, addressing everying she left in the lesson plans as well as behavior, absences, etc. A premade form is a great idea...allowing you to jot things down as the day goes. A great way to keep it organized. I wish that I would have left my email address for the teacher to give some feedback.

I feeling more confident in my abilities every day, and actually look forward to where tomorrow's placement takes me. This is a great experience in so many ways. Thank you for sharing all the great tricks, tools, tips and ideas!