You’ve finally got a regularly scheduled class with consistent students enjoying what you have to offer—congrats! But life happens and sometimes you need a substitute. How you make your request can impact how likely (and quickly) you are able to secure a sub. Here are six quick tips for successfully securing a sub:
Provide all the info when making requests, including location, date, description, etc. Potential subs should not have to work to think what you’re talking about before they can even consider the possibility of teaching for you. Here is a sample template:
Location | Day of Week - Date | Time | Class Name (potentially description)
Tell ’em what you’re up to—continuing education? Special event? Family emergency? Sharing your intentions with your team helps them empathize with your situation and be more willing to cover for you. Keep in mind that your goal is not to brag or make others feel guilty, but to offer a little context. Of course, any personalization should be concise; keep the focus on the subbing need.
Request subs at least two weeks in advance when possible so people have time to consider their schedule. While last minute sub needs are inevitable, you want to avoid adding stress to others. As you look to the future for subbing needs, consider establishing a ‘go-to’ sub for certain classes.
Be willing to sub for others whenever you can AND as responsive and encouraging as possible even when you can’t. If you want others to sub for you, you need them to know you’re willing to help out too. Subbing for others is also a great opportunity to grow your own teaching and meet new students.
Your first goal is being there for your students—if you need a sub more than 25 percent of the time (ie. once a month for a weekly class), you might want to re-consider if teaching that class is right for you. Schedules change and unexpected events happen, but if you’re inconsistent in your own teaching, you cannot expect subs to consistently cover for you.
Once you’ve secured a sub, be grateful and resourceful. Share any extra valuable information about your class or community. In addition, especially if requesting far in advance, it can be courteous to remind your subs of their agreement as the date approaches.
Once you’ve secured your subs, be grateful for your time off so you can attend to whatever else needs your attention. And remember to pay it forward!