I've always been a little Type A when it comes to sub plans. I typically write lengthy narratives when I know that I'll be out of school, and I typically spend HOURS doing it. Many times, I feel that I type up the same routines over and over and over again while thinking, "There has to be a more efficient way". I've also had days where I wake up and I feel like I'm about to keel over at any moment and I get hit with that feeling--- that dreaded oh-no-I-am-so-not-ready-for-a-sub-today belly flop. So, in the past, I have dragged myself in to work after a thirty minute drive to organize my desk for a sub while the room spun around me and I miserably sunk into a chair. Those days are now gone! Phew!
Let's just say that this transformation, in my case, was a little stressful, and let's just say that 2010 was a bit of a challenge for me. I underwent two knee surgeries over the course of the year (several months apart). Last May, I wrote out my typical pre-sub narratives, and it was fine. Of course, I was able to schedule my surgery for a Friday... and we happened to have the following Monday off. I was back by Tuesday, and it was relatively painless--- the planning, at least. I didn't fare so well in October. After switching surgeons (because the first surgeon apparently wasn't able to locate my torn meniscus), I was only able to schedule my surgery on a Monday. If I hadn't been walking around with torn cartilage for five months, I would have scheduled my surgery for another week, but the soonest they could get me in was the week of Halloween. Just thinking of it now makes me cringe! To make a long story short, knowing that I could be out anywhere from three to five days made the gears start turning. So, in true Amanda fashion, I turned to Google. I found a template that I used until I finally decided to upgrade & create my own system.
I created a template to fill in. The nice thing is, I now will only have to write it out once a year... if that rather than every time I'm going to be out. I created a few pages of photographs that explained where things were located around the room as well. In the back, I photocopied frequently used documents, their computer usernames/passwords, and other practical documents that they may or may not need during my absence.
I also bought a few documents that I added to other sections of the binder. I bought emergency plans from Teacher's Clubhouse and Littlest Learners at TPT. By the way, if you're looking for even more on the topic, Littlest Learners has a whole page devoted to the topic. I put one copy of each document in page protectors, then I ran off 24 copies of each document and organized them into color coded file folders. I keep them here, but I haven't added my new label to the tub yet! Ooops!
I keep the Substitute Teacher Kit on the edge of my desk. It's empty here, but has been filled with trade books, games, and the aforementioned emergency plans folders... just in case I wake up feeling like I'm going to keel at any point. I keep this filing system next to it for "Papers to Grade". I found it at Target, and I thought it was darling! I labeled each folder with the days of the week, and it was also a life-saver when I was out for a week. I came back, and everything was super-organized. Another perk--- if you're uber organized and detailed--- your substitute tends to repay the favor with a detailed account of their day(s) with the kiddos! Everything is spelled out in detail in my substitute binder, and luckily, I don't have to freak out if I'm going to be out. More often than not, when I'm out a half-day for Literacy PD, a post-it note or two does the trick. For somebody that used to spend HOURS freaking out before a substitute... even for a half-day release... this is pure magic!