Substitute Teacher Binder

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I have a teacher hack/tip to share with you today. Before the school year begins, create a substitute teacher binder for your subs. This binder will be the subs one stop shop for all info needed. Once you create this binder you’ll just need to update it each year with new student info. This is a great way to be organized and ready for a sub at a moment’s notice!

Benefits of Having a Substitute Teacher Binder

  • You will be prepared for any time you need a sub. All of your basic and important information is in the binder.
  • With COVID, unfortunately there might be more of a need for subs so you’ll have this ready to go.
  • When you’re not feeling well the last thing you want to do is get ready for the substitute teacher.  While you’ll still need to write your actual plans for the day, the rest of the information will be ready to go in your binder.

Items in Substitute Teacher Binder

Picture of Substitute Teacher Binder with cover that says "Guest Teacher Binder"

At the beginning of the binder, I include a table of contents so the sub can quickly identify where to find different pieces of information.

Student Info 

  • Class Roster
  • Seating Chart
  • Dismissal Plan (students have different plans each day so I leave a chart so the sub can identify how each student goes home at the end of the day)
  • Health and Allergy Info (While this is confidential information, a substitute teacher does need to know if students have allergies or major health issues. I always write – “Keep Confidential” at the top as a polite reminder.)
  • Behavior/Work Needs – It is helpful for a substitute teacher to know ahead of time some of the needs in your classroom. On this page, I share with the sub if certain students will need assistance completing work or reminders for specific behaviors (staying on-task, etc.).

School Info 

  • School Phone Numbers – Make sure to highlight important phone numbers (administration, secretary, team members).
  • School Map – Make sure fire drill routes are easy to see on this.
  • School Emergency Plans – If your school has written out directions for lockdowns, fire drills, tornado drills, etc make sure your sub is aware in case their is a drill on the day you are gone.
  • School-Wide Behavior Expectations – If your school has a school-wide plan, place it in the binder so the substiutte teacher is aware of the expectations and can keep things consisten for the kids.

Schedule

  • Daily Schedule – Although I include a detailed version of the specific schedule in my plans, it’s always nice to have your weekly schedule in the binder for the sub to reference.
  • Special’s Schedule – Make sure the sub has the schedule of what special classes you have when.

Behavior Plans

  • Classroom Behavior Plan/Expectations – Share your class rules or expectations with the substitute teacher. While all class rules are similar, make sure he or she knows the specifics for your class.
  • Info on Class Reward System – Share with the substitute teacher how you reward positive behavior. Currently I use brag tags so I let the sub know and leave out “Good for the Sub” brag tags for the sub to hand out at their discretion.
  • Individual Behavior Plans – If you have students on individual behavior plans make sure the substitute has that info so they can be aware and help keep things consistent.

Lesson Plans

The last tab is where I leave my specific lesson plans for the day or days I will be absent. These are specific to the current curriculum and by leaving them in the binder – everything is in one place and easy for the sub to find!


I then leave the substitute teacher binder along with whatever items the teacher will need for that specific day out on my desk.  I also label games, worksheets, books with post-it notes explaining what subject they are for. The nice about thing about this substitute teacher binder is it’s always ready to go. Once I’ve updated it in August/September with my new class info – then I’m ready for a sub!

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