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For some weird reason, I need a ton of substitute teachers at the same time.  I know we all have regular absentee teachers and need to have subs ready, but last week I got so many emails and texts for dates that my wonderful teachers will be out. When I began to get frustrated, I realized the reason I felt this way was because I planned to be out a week which made me miss two Wednesdays and a Sunday.  Yes, I was also going to be absent. 

This helped adjust my attitude about workers being out since I was planning some time away too.  Now, I have emailed parents and texted my reliable people about filling in so we can survive the month.  Sunday and Wednesday just keep coming!

Here are my suggestions since I am trying to put this into practice:

  1. Stop pouting and entertaining thoughts of quitting just because you need subs. Don’t be a baby!  Do the work. That’s what your church is counting on. They chose you to be their leader because they have more confidence in you than anyone else to make this ministry effective.  Finding subs is just something you have to do.
  2. Enjoy time away from the church when it is time for a break. In order to enjoy your time, you will need to get some things in place. Who can step up to be you that day?  Ask them to serve in your stead and let them know all the arrangements you’ve made.  Pass the baton confidently. 
  3. If you have teachers that are notorious for calling at the last minute or simply not showing up, cover that trouble spot ahead of time. A better solution is to find teaching partners to join them since the dependability is low.  When you are out, plan a special feature, teacher, or speaker for that day so you know the spot is covered in case the “Iffy” decides not to show at the last minute.
  4. Finally, make sure the entire faculty knows you will be out. These are wonderful teachers and they can often find subs if they know you are out.  It will be easier for them if you provide a class roll with parents you have highlighted as good contacts for requesting a substitute. 

This might be a bonus idea, but I need to mention that you should pray about and consider a rescue list of adults that aren’t scared of kids.  A list of people you have confidence in and could call at the last minute for them to step into a classroom and make the magic happen.  Try to come up with a list of five or more names, so you are not calling the same person all the time.  This way they will know it is an emergency when you do call or text.  You might want to create a list for preschool and a list for elementary.  Put their names and contact information in the NOTES of your phone so you can quickly find them when needed.

Finally, planning ahead and communicating is paramount.  Gather materials together a couple of weeks ahead and give them to the sub.  Over communicate the details of who, what, when, and where.  If you are asking the pastor’s wife, be overly helpful since she will talk to him about you- good or bad.  She will talk. What other suggestions would you add?

Your Friend,

Mr. Mark


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