• Black River Middle School

    Substitute Teacher




    Sixth-grade students arrive at the beginning of the year as children full of excitement and promise. They proceed to seventh grade where the confusion and pressure of growing bodies and developing social roles are apparent. As eighth graders they will look down from new heights and maturity, shifting to adult roles and back. Our middle school blends this time of change with important educational goals.

    We welcome you to our community. Please be assured the administration and your fellow teachers stand ready to give assistance or answer any questions you may have. If this introductory booklet seems long it is because it is designed to provide a new substitute teacher with complete information for our school. Much of it will not apply at any one time.


    The Black River school day begins for teachers at 7:20. In case of unexpected lateness (weather, traffic, etc) you should notify the secretary at 879-6363, Ext 2. As a substitute teacher, you will need to receive your schedule, find your teaching station, familiarize yourself with plans, arrange for your lunch, and other tasks in order for your day to go smoothly. It would be wise to arrive early.

    The sign in book is the large binder on the left of the office counter. Fill out a goldenrod sheet for your hours. Remember to sign it at the bottom. A principal or the secretary will give you a schedule and directions to your assignment. Occasionally circumstances may arise which will cause you to be shifted to a different position than the one for which you were called.


    The substitute teacher fills a variety of positions within the school. The classroom teacher delivers lessons, Guides students in their tasks, and supervises the classroom.

    The Related Arts teacher generally meets with several grades during the day. The Related Arts include Art, Music, Gym, Health, and Computer Science. You should not be intimidated by receiving a Related Arts assignment. Those teachers understand that you may be operating outside your strength and leave manageable work.

    Special education teachers work in resource rooms with small groups or provide in-class support to a classroom teacher. Often they will do both in a day.

    A floating assignment is created to allow a variety of teachers to attend meetings or special tasks. You may teach 8th grade Math one period and sixth grade Social Studies the next. The first thing to do on receiving a floating schedule is to visit each teacher to be sure you know where the rooms are and have a “quick” word about the nature of the lesson being taught.

    There are some teachers that use several rooms. If you get one of those positions be sure to locate your room assignments ahead of time. In between classes stand at the door and monitor the coming and going of students as well as the hall.

    Plans and Class Lists

    Teachers are required to prepare a file of “emergency plans”. These plans are located in the office and are almost never used. You will normally find specific plans and materials left for you in one of two places, the teacher’s  desk or at a teaching station in the front of the room. If you look carefully and don’t find plans,  don’t panic. They may be sent in with another teacher or faxed to the office. Look carefully and then check back with the building secretary for guidance.  Teachers are also expected to leave seating charts for their substitutes. If you observe any confusion over seating remind the students to sit in their regular assigned seats. Each class should have an “emergency” clipboard by the door with class lists attached. This is handy if you are unable to locate the seating charts. Also attached will be a fire drill form which you should fill out during a fire drill which will be held twice each month.

    Teachers’ Room

    The teachers’ room is located in the hallway between the library and cafeteria. There is a refrigerator for your use as well as a microwave and snack and soft drink machine. When you arrive in the morning you will find a clipboard on the front counter for ordering a lunch of salad or sandwich. There is a menu glued to the back. Write in your order and name on the front. At lunchtime speak to one of the cafeteria workers and they will bring your lunch from the back. You can also simply buy a lunch from the serving line; pizza, fries, soup, vegetable, etc. Cost is about $3.50. A coffee station is located by the serving line in the morning. Simply leave $.50 in the cup.

    The Teaching Day

    As the school population and needs change on an annual basis, so too does the schedule. The current schedule is posted in each room and may vary according to day.  


    Students are expected to be polite, attentive, and ready to work. Give clear direction and expect compliance. A friendly reminder is usually sufficient to redirect someone. In case of repeated disruption, you might “reseat” a student or ask them to step outside the class for a word. Some students may have special needs or be under personal pressures that interfere with compliance. In case of an ongoing problem use the intercom to request the principal’s assistance.


    Expectations vary depending on what class you have and where in the curriculum it is. You may be asked to give primary instruction and teach a full lesson. More often the teacher plans to have the substitute support current work. Students may be asked to read independently or as a group. Paper and pencil work is common. If asked to give a test,  adjust seating if needed and be visible in the front of the class. Occasionally students will be working in prearranged groups on a task with which they are familiar. Teachers sometimes leave a related film to be shown. This happens more often where some special knowledge or abilities are needed such as in Science or Music.

    When you arrive in the classroom write your name on the white board. The colored attendance sheet is usually on the teacher’s desk but, it is wise to check the teacher’s mailbox for it when signing in. If you have not been able to locate the attendance sheet use the emergency roster with student help to send your own list to the office. Students should be at their seats for the pledge and announcements. It is often necessary to quiet the class so the announcements can be heard. On some days a time may be built into the schedule for extra help and special activities such as band or chorus. Students not participating should be quietly reading or working.

    Lunch is commonly eaten in the teachers’ room but may be eaten in the class. Teachers normally do not leave the building during the day but, if it becomes necessary, be sure to tell the secretary. Teachers get two other breaks during the day. The grade level meeting time is to take care of administrative requirements and meet student needs. The “prep” period is for individual teachers to write plans, prepare lessons, and evaluate student progress. You may be assigned extra classes or lunchroom duty during one of these periods.

    On lunch duty, you will find students well behaved and enjoying a less structured moment. There will be several teachers and aides on duty with you to encourage the children to remain seated and not raise their voices. You can ask one of the other teachers for guidance or simply take a position on the perimeter where there is no adult. During an unassigned “prep” period you might take a turn about the halls to make sure all is in good order or stop by the office and inquire if you can help with anything. This too is a time for a deserved peaceful moment with a cup of coffee.

    Occasionally teachers will ask you to correct a set of papers or some other task. You should expect them to leave  a correction key. It is usually best for you to note the number wrong on a paper and leave the actual assignment of grades to the teacher.


    Emergency help is just a moment away. A call to the office will bring an administrator in less than a minute and a licensed nurse right behind him. Still, it is well to be prepared for that once in a career genuine emergency. A “band-aid” request for a picked scab is much more likely. Check the teacher’s drawer for a supply of band-aids. All requests to visit the nurse should be granted.

    Student Movement

    If there is an assembly, someone will come to your door and direct you to the “lunchroom.” Students should be quiet and in line along the way. It may be that a student will come to your door at the behest of another teacher and ask if they may take a test or some other task. Direct them to an empty back seat unless your activity (movie etc.) is not suited to the need. Students will travel throughout the school for a variety of purposes during the day. If they are going to chorus or band they will tell you and sign out but not need a pass. Students going to a locker just outside the class, to an adjoining class, or a resource room may also travel with verbal permission. Visits to the lavatory, distant locker, or other location require they sign out and have a pass. You should know where your students are at all times.

    End of the Day

    At the end of the eighth period monitor the halls until the students have left. If your instructions direct you to bus duty, proceed to your post as soon as the class is empty. During the day make a record of any problems to be included in your summary report.