Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SOL - Sub Plans

I’ll never forget how difficult it was to leave my first sub plans.  During my first year of teaching, I arrived at school at 6am most days to figure out how I would spend my time with my class.  I felt totally incompetent and unprepared!  How in the world could I figure out IN ADVANCE what SOMEONE else might do with my class for SEVEN HOURS?!  Obviously, I taught in a district that did not have mandated curriculum.  Oh, how I longed to have a teacher’s manual and a class set of textbooks.  Maybe even a movie!  No, I was in a poor rural district and all the resources I had I either made or found in the one file cabinet in my room.  In the long run, that was a blessing: I learned to write my own engaging curriculum.  But that first year was certainly long.

Now I have a few tricks to making sub plans less cumbersome for my classroom, but for the first time I am leaving my preschooler behind as I attend a 3-day conference.  I am faced with leaving sub plans for home.  One student: my preschooler.  Two cats, one aging. 

I’ve been resisting the urge to write detailed plans for both my husband and my parents.  But I finally caved.  I sent an email to my parents with information about the brushing teeth routine, the bath routine and a plea to feed her vegetables.  I’ve written a list for my husband of items to be sure to pack in Clara’s overnight bag as well as a note to remind him to feed and water the cats.

The difference between this absence and my first missed day of teaching is that I won’t be so nervous once I’ve left.  Of course I’ll think about Clara and Max and the cats and my parents and I might even call, but I won’t be sitting in conference sessions with a pounding heart, looking at my watch every 15 minutes and reviewing what, exactly, they all are doing at that very moment.  Thankfully, I have learned to enjoy my time away!


  1. I remember the day when I had to make sub plans...it took more time and effort to prepare them than to be in the classroom...and the wondering all day long how things were going. You said it well. As for your home sub plans....I am sure they all appreciated your effort...and you know you can trust that things will get done, maybe not as written...but they will get done. So glad you are able to enjoy your time away now.

  2. We don't realize how many details make our lives until we have to tell someone to "be" in our life for us. Fun to hear about all the things you do, naturally, but now you have to tell your parents "what" you do. Happy Travels, look for hummingbirds, Susan!

  3. It has been years since I had to leave detailed notes about how to care for my children at home - but your words made me feel that tension all over again! It is so hard to share the details, the minutiae...and yet these are so important. Have a fabulous time at the conference!

  4. Your introduction took me back to that first year! I could feel the questioning, the panic, and I remember so clearly the feelings you described. I, too, worked in a small school where my curriculum was driven by my own creations. Trying to articulate that on paper was overwhelming! I enjoyed this post-- hope your conference experience is wonderful!!