Something they never tell you about being a high school teacher is that you will get sick a lot your first year or so. All of the viruses circulating around your high school will be on the papers you grade, the door knobs, the lab equipment, the desks… and I didn’t even mention the bathroom. Your immune system will take a hit that first year but it will soon recover and you will be a healthy, immune veteran teacher before you know it!
But in the meantime, you will need Emergency Sub Plans! Place them in a binder with seating charts, school bell schedule, important phone numbers, and anything else might be useful for a sub. If you teach in different rooms, print a map of your high school and circle the rooms. And add in the lessons.
What makes a great emergency sub plan lesson?
1. It has to be separate from your normal curriculum, but must be relevant. The newest virus might hit you quickly (maybe even the second week of school?!) and you cannot assume you have covered any material ahead of the sub lesson.
2. It has to be do-able for a substitute teacher. For science teachers, it can be hard to make a lesson that a substitute teacher can lead a class through. Substitute teachers are generally not knowledgeable enough (or trained in safety!) to be able to perform a lab. No chemicals. No fetal pig dissections. It just won’t work.
Teachers often turn to videos (and question sheets). I am not a fan of the video solution for a few reasons. Reason 1: Students often decide that videos mean “I can fall asleep! Yay!” Reason 2: It is rare to find an hour long video that truly fits into a particular curriculum and is entirely relevant. There are a few that exist, but not many, in my opinion.
There is a better option: Science Readings and Questions!
There are many great science news articles out there and you can always print one out and write 10 questions to go with them! Students need to read more science that isn’t in their textbooks.
For my sub plans, I write my own Journal Article Adaptations and Questions. They are relevant to any science curriculum because they help students develop reading and analysis skills. They let students read about REAL SCIENCE, analyze data, and draw their own conclusions!
I wrote some teacher tips on how to write your own adaptations and you can find those here: