Preface ...
It's 6:30 am. You wake to the shrill ring of your telephone, answering quickly so you don't disturb the entire household. Groggy, you try to focus as the local sub coordinator asks, “Are you available for a Kindergarten classroom in Mary Tracy School?” There's a hint of desperation in the coordinator's voice.

You pause for just a moment, weighing the pros and cons of spending the day with a group of rambunctious 5 year olds. There's no doubt it will be a physically exhausting day. But you'll get to sing songs and read stories. You might even come home with pictures of rainbows and butterflies, made with love-just for you!

“I'll take it!” you say.

And so, your day as a substitute teacher begins.
Substitute teaching is always challenging because you never know what to expect. One day, you might encounter a difficult class that fills your day with frustration. But on other days, you and the children will really 'click.' You'll feel the joy that only a good teacher can feel as real learning happens.

Every day, you'll have an opportunity to reach out and touch a child that needs a little TLC. You might even have an opportunity to truly make a difference in a child's life. There will be smiles and frowns, laughter and tears, and numerous pictures to hang on your refrigerator. It's all in a day's work for a substitute teacher.

I've written Substitute Teaching From A-Z to help you become an effective substitute teacher. The book has been designed to provide you with useful guidance in a reader-friendly format. Each chapter corresponds to one letter of the alphabet, addressing a vital topic that will help you to be a better teacher and a more effective sub.

Substitute Teaching from A-Z presents a true hands-on approach and provides a “toolbox” of ideas and resources that will help you solve subbing problems. In my experience, “theory” provides very little help when you walk into another teacher's classroom. What you need is pragmatic guidance, and that's what you'll get with Substitute Teaching From A-Z. Each chapter in this book begins with an anecdote based on actual events as described by colleagues and friends.* The anecdote sets the stage for step-by-step suggestions, helpful hints, and proven ideas that will make your classroom experience more rewarding (and easier!). You'll also find pointers to valuable resources-some in print and others available on the Web.

Take the suggestions, hints, and ideas presented in Substitute Teaching from A-Z and make them your own. Refer to this book often, after a good day or a difficult one. Highlight the suggestions that you feel will be most helpful for your needs. Keep a folder of helpful suggestions that have worked for others and for you.

As a substitute teacher, you belong to a select group of people. You are a capable, organized, intelligent, brave, and caring human being. Hold your head high and start your day with confidence. The rewards will be worth it!

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