Substitute Teaching Tips

Hello! Happy Summer!

This post is going be all about substitute teaching and tips that would be beneficial to new subs! After graduation in May, I applied for my certification and I registered with the substitute teacher service for my county. My goal was to daily sub for the last few weeks of school to get my feet wet, gain some experience, keep me busy until my summer job started, and earn a bit of money.

I highly suggested substitute teaching ASAP once you graduate. If you are anything like me, you still are wondering, even after passing your certification tests and graduating you are still wondering, “Can I do this?”Of course you can, but subbing helped me to gain confidence in my teaching and classroom management right off the bat.

Now, there is daily subbing and long or short term subbing-I only daily subbed since I graduated in May and there weren’t a lot of month long positions available. Through the duration of my substitute teaching I was in five different buildings in four different school districts over the course of about three weeks. The following are just a few tips I have or some reactions I have that may help any other substitute teachers in the same boat!

1. Be Professional: Being professional covers many different topics. As a newly graduate teacher I was all about making first impressions as I applied for a permanent position in three districts I subbed in.

  • Make sure to dress professionally, even if it’s a dress down day, don’t. But remember some schools might not have air conditioning–since I was subbing towards the end of spring this was an issue–so, Ladies, make sure if you have a cardigan or sweater on, the straps underneath are still appropriate to be worn alone if needed.
  • Be on time, or if you’re like me, be early! Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to the school and prepare for your day.
  • Use appropriate language and don’t gossip with the building teachers. You may know some of the teachers in the building if you’re familiar with the area and school or the teachers may talk about other things in front of you. Keep your head down; don’t engage.

2. What to Do When You Arrive: When you arrive to the school for your day, you’ll most likely need to check in at the office. Here you will be directed to the classroom you’ll be in for the day and possibly pick up lesson plans and a school badge. The service I sub for issued me an ID badge, but schools might give you one as well!

3. Stepping into the Classroom: When you first step into the classroom, begin to orient yourself. Figure out where the student bathrooms are in relation to your classroom & the staff bathrooms as well. Find the route to the cafeteria, playground, and any other “specials” the students may have that day.

  • Next, I look for the lesson plans for the day. Typically these will be laid out on the classroom teacher’s desk or a table in the room. Sometimes you might have very detailed plans and other times it may be the bare minimum. No matter what read them. Make sure you do what the teacher wants you to do and execute it in the way they present it, even if you think it could be done better.
  • Familiarize yourself with items in the classroom. Locate the pencil sharpener, tissues, trash cans, and student cubbies or hooks. Other items to look for are classroom rules and a behavior management system like a clip chart, fill-up jar, point system, etc. The teacher should have mention of these systems in his or her lesson plans.
  • Another thing I like to to is walk around the room with a class list and work on saying each student’s name and finding out where he or she sits. Then, when they walk in and sit down I can work on attaching the name to the face.

4. If there are no plans on the desk DON’T FREAK OUT: Story Time…so I went to sub for a full day at a building in the district I grew up in. I got to the school about 45 minutes early (I’m also crazy about being late) so I had enough time to read through the plans but they weren’t there *cue the panic*. All I had were instructions for a directed drawing and the paper that went with it. It turns out one of the team teachers was supposed to print out the plans and bring them to me. She did bring them over and crisis averted.

5. Eat Lunch in the Classroom: This is a handy tip even if you have a permanent teaching position. As a substitute it is good to use the time during lunch to read over the plans for the afternoon and prep if needed. But as I mentioned before, it would be good not to get caught up in the potential drama of the faculty room. Also, I am a shy person so being alone in the classroom is more comfortable to me. But don’t alienate yourself from other teachers in the building. Say hi and smile in the hallway. Introduce yourself to the team teachers. I meshed really well with a few team teachers I subbed with and they offered me really good advice for job hunting, teaching with a family, and working towards my Masters degree!

6. Take Notes: Take notes throughout the day. Write down how the activities and lessons went. Keep an account of student behavior as well. The classroom teacher will appreciate this when he or she gets back.

7. Walk Around the Room: As you instruct walk around the room. Make your presence known. Students will realize that you are in charge and proximity control is a great classroom management tool. Check in with students as they are working. Try and learn a bit about the students throughout the day.

8. Clean the Room Before You Leave: Make sure the classroom is cleaned up from the day. Make it look how it did when you walked in. Don’t go through the teacher’s things, but straighten up and make sure the lesson plans and left over copies are neat on the desk or tables.

9. Fill Out Report and Bring it to the Office: The school may have a form to fill out at the end of your subbing day. These are pretty generic and allow the classroom teacher to evaluate your performance and what you did well. It also allows them to say if they would like you back in their classroom to substitute! Make sure to fill this out in detail and turn it in!

10. Check For Jobs the Night Before: For the substitute service I’m with, I can search for jobs for the following day the night before. This is really helpful because if I secure a position the night before I don’t get any early morning phone calls and I can plan my morning accordingly.

11. Roll With It: One of the biggest things to stress when being a substitute teacher is being flexible. You never know what your day will bring or what the plans will have you doing so being able to roll with the punches is quality that teachers need to have.

I know these “tips” were all over the place but I hope that someone out there finds them helpful. Comment down below with anything that you have to add! Thanks for reading!!




Update-One Month Post-Grad

So today marks one month since I graduated college. May 7, 2017 I walked across the stage ( did not receive my diploma-they are mailed to us) and I did it. So much has happened in this past month that needs some updating.


Since graduation was on a Sunday, my family came to my house starting Friday and we had a little celebration on Saturday. When my mom and her siblings each graduated from Penn State, my Poppy had their names put on a banner. Well, my Grammy had a section made with my name and graduation year to add to the bottom of the banner. I was so incredible to see this and know that I did it. I accomplished one of my biggest goals this far in life! The actual ceremony was Sunday up at school and I got to sit next to my best friend which made it all the more special. Down below are some quick snapshots from the weekend!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Applying for Certification:

I ended up applying for certification two days after graduation. I wanted to get it done as soon as possible because I plan on taking the PRAXIS to become certified for 5th and 6th grade as well as middle level English. I also wanted to get some days in as a substitute, just to gain some more experience–more on that coming. The application process was really easy and Penn State was very quick in their response of support. My application was officially approved on June 1, 2017!

Substitute Teaching:

I started substitute teaching a week and a half after graduation. I applied on a Wednesday and had my on boarding meeting the next Tuesday. My first day subbing was that Thursday. I only got a few days in for this school year, but those days provided some different experiences and boosted my confidence, like “Hey, I CAN do this!”. I am applying for a full-time teaching position for next year, but if I do decide to long term sub, or daily sub, I have that option too!

Work Zone:

This summer I am working as a Day Camp Counselor for our local recreation department. This is a new job for me as the last few summers I babysat. I’m looking forward to meeting all my co-counslers and having a fun summer! We have kids in first through eighth grades. Each day we get to take them to the pool and once a week we’ll go on a field trip. Let me know if posts on summer activities for kids is something you’d be interested in! In addition to Day Camp, I am continuing my volunteer work with PAWS and playing with some cute reduce kitties on a weekly basis.

What’s Next?:

As I mentioned before, I am applying for full-time teaching positions and I’m excited to continue through the job search process. I am going to the beach in July so hopefully I’ll be able to do a few blogs about that as the summer progresses! For the blog I plan on continuing my bookshelf updates each month and once I get a job and start planning out my classroom expect some posts about all that fun too!

Hope you all are having a great day. What is one post you want to see this summer!? Let me know down below. 🙂


May Wrap-Up//June TBR

This month I got back on track with my #52Books2017 reading challenge! I knew being home from school for the summer would help with my pace of reading!

May 3, 2017-Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris.


This book gets 3/5 stars. It was a very well written and interesting read, but I most likely wouldn’t pick it up again. The novel starts out with the sentence, “I killed a man the summer I turned thirteen”. This was more than enough for me to jump right in. A story of the American Civil War, this novel sheds light on how the women and children left at home in the south defended themselves, their land, and their honors. With a Gone with the Wind feel, Harris does a phenomenal job of latching on to the reader’s emotions though protagonist, young Amire St. Pierre’s voice.

May 11, 2017-I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi.


This novel earned 4/5 stars for its twists and turns. When Maddy seemingly commits suicide by jumping off of a building the lives of her husband and daughter go awry. From  her birds-eye view, Maddy try to align fates and picks school teacher, Rory to take her place in her family’s lives.

May 17, 2017-The Trophy Child by Paula Daly.



The term helicopter parents rings true for Karen Bloom in this novel. Dictating every second of her daughter Bronte’s life, Karen runs her from activity to lesson to tutoring session like mad. When Bronte goes missing and refuses to tell where she was and another sudden disappearance occurs, secrets start spilling out left and right in this novel. This book earned 4/5 stars. The way the author wove the different character’s stories and voices seemed effortless.

May 21, 2017-Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.


Mother Kate Baron is called to her daughter’s expensive, private school under the impression that her daughter plagiarized and received a failing mark. What she finds when she gets there is a whole different scenario. Amelia has jumped from the top of the school, committing suicide. When Kate starts receiving bizarre text messages claiming that Amelia didn’t jump, Kate realizes there is more to this story and has the case reopened. For fans of Gossip Girl and crime shows, this novel combines the two earning it a 5/5 stars.

May 27, 2017-Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight.


After experiencing the loss of a stillborn child, Molly Anderson, her husband, and five-year-old daughter Ella relocated to a small town where she takes a job as a reporter. When an abandoned, deceased infant is discovered, Molly is put on the case to report the findings. Along the way, she works through her grief and feelings of loss, while also uncovering  decades old secrets some members of the town are working hard to keep covered. Told from alternating character perspectives, this novel gets a 4/5 stars.

May 28, 2017-What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross.


How can you miss something you never knew? Lucy Wakefield longs for a baby. After a miscarriage when in college, many failed fertility treatments, and her husband nixing the idea of adoption it seems she will never be a mother. When four month old Natalie is taken from a shopping cart at IKEA and raised as Mia for 21 years, worlds collide. Told from perspectives of all parties involved this novel is fast paced and a quick read. I gave this a 4/5 stars.

This month I didn’t finishing reading The Program by Suzanne Young, opting instead to wait until next month and read the series as it stands right now, back to back. I did have a  bonus book not mentioned on my TBR. The first is titled: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.



With a tag-line on the cover reading, “Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.” this young adult novel takes place over an hour. The entire student body is locked in the school auditorium when the shooter shows himself. While this book kept me engaged and I didn’t want to put it down, I only gave it two stars. Told in 4 different voices over less than 300 pages, I felt that it was a little much for the length of the book. The teen angst of the shooter also felt a little stereotypical and I predicted his motive around page 80 earning this novel a 2/5 star rating. However this novel brings up great conversations about bullying, mental health, and awareness of how your actions affect others. If you need a quick action packed read however, this novel fits that bill. Check out more on this book and others I read this month on Instagram @ms.m_teaches


WOW! OKAY! If you read through all that, thanks, you’re a trooper! Now on to a rather short TBR list for June. Right now I only have four books checked out from the library, and I am halfway through the first.


~Books to read in June~

  1. The TeacherKaterina Diamond (Currently Reading)
  2. The Finishing School-Joanna Goodman
  3. The Program-Suzanne Young
  4. The Treatment-Suzanne Young

I hope to read the rest of The Program series by Suzanne Young this month as well!

What are you currently reading? Share in the comments below!

Happy Reading!


April Wrap-Up//May TBR

April Wrap-Up

Well my April reading didn’t quite go as planned…

I anticipated reading three books last month: finishing Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick, The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, and Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade. I started off GREAT! I finished Scrappy Little Nobody which was AMAZINGGGGG (more on that below) and began The Girl With All the Gifts. But then I had to stop at the campus library to a meeting and decided to look at the new book shelf (when will I learn?). I ended up checking out Little Deaths by Emma Flint and put my other book on hold. Well it took the rest of the month to read that book, which I finished on May 1st.

Here’s what I thought of the two books I read this month:

Scrappy Little Nobody-Anna Kendrick: This book was 5 star material in my opinion. I received this book at Christmas and had to control myself not to read it super quickly. Anna Kendrick is funny and charming and her stories are priceless! I would love to meet her one day although I feel I already have by reading her memoir. If you need a funny beach read this summer, pick up this.

Little Deaths-Emma Flint: IMG_7706

This book was a two star book. Although I’m happy I read it and it did keep me interested, I wouldn’t pick it up again. The ending seemed like a cheap way out even though I was a twist I didn’t see coming until a few pages before.  This read like a true crime novel and I felt like I was reading an episode of Law & Order.

May TBR: 

So this month started out with me posting on my bookstagram @ms.m_reads about how I was just going to finish Little Deaths and keep working on last month’s book list. IMG_7704

Well then I went to the library.

I happened to check out SEVEN books.

So my new TBR post looks a little like this…


I have two weeks to read these, and I’m almost finished with the first one.

  1. Good Time Coming-C.S Harris
  2. I Liked My Life-Abby Fabiaschi
  3. The Trophy Child-Paula Daly
  4. Reconstructing Amelia-Kimberly McCreight
  5. Where They Found Her-Kimberly McCreight
  6. What Was Mine-Helen Klein Ross
  7. The Program-Suzanne Young

As I finish each of these I’ll begin writing next month’s wrap up post.

I also found the OverDrive App too which may become dangerous to my reading addiction as I can borrow and download books from ANYWHERE!

As for an update on #52Books2017 I am currently reading book #9 Good Time Coming-C.S. Harris and #10 Grey-E.L. James (Yesss the 50 Shades novel…but I had to test out this ebook app!).

Let me know what you’re reading this month in the comments below!



March Wrap Up/April TBR

Oh wow! We are over a week into April and I am very late with this post!

In March, I read 2 books:

I finished The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor & I also read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

I started to read Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick and I finished that last night (April 8).

The Girl Who Came Home was about the sinking of the Titanic. It is told in flashbacks to the disaster and what is considered present day in the novel. This was the second time I read this book and I enjoyed every part of it even more this second time around.

Small Great Things is such a relevant read to right now. When an African American nurse is told she can’t touch a newborn baby but then is the only one around when this baby is in distress, what is she to do? This is a compelling novel that makes you think about everything.

For my April TBR:


Finish Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. So even though I finished this book before this post I will about it my next Wrap Up/TBR post. But if you can’t wait, check out @ms.m_reads on Instagram for a bit of an update!


Read The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. I have no clue what this is about. I think maybe zombies? So a bit out there for me, but the back was just so intriguing: “Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don;t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.” So this seems like it’ll be a fun read.

Finally, read Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade. In this novel a young girl is separated from her family during WW II and sent to an orphanage were she undergoes experimental treatments. Years later she encounters the man who performed these experiments on her. This time she is in the dominant position. What does she do?

I am hoping that for May I’ll be able to have more than three books on my TBR list and I’ll actually get this #52Books2017 challenge rolling!

What are you reading this month? Comment below!



I’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately.

There are people who say that the friends you make in high school will last you the rest of your life. Then there are those who have the same sentiments about college friends. Or those you make post-grad.

Who is right?

Sure there are some people I keep in touch with from high school. But there are others who just keep popping up when you don’t want them to, who keep you tied to the silliest memories and things you just want to forget.

I’ve meet so many amazing people in college. Some of my best friendships were formed here at Penn State. But with my track record, how many of these friendships are going to last once we walk across the stage in a month? All of them I hope but that is wishful thinking.

Something that’s been on my mind lately is forming a bridal party. I’ve heard so many stories of people who had a major falling out during the wedding planning process or afterwards. Who is important enough to be considered a part of this momentous day? How do you choose? Who comes first, family, high school friends, college friends? It’s crazy times and I just can’t fathom picking.

Frankly, I wish being friends was easy…and it is to some extent, but maintaining friendships is hard. It’s something I struggle with. I get caught up in my life and my world and sometimes forget about others. So to my friends, I’m sorry if I’ve been a bad one. But I appreciate each and every one of you. ❤

Do any of you struggle with this idea of friendship and how quickly they change? Comment below if you’d like to share.

Lots of love always.


Bucket List

There are so many things that I wish to do as I “grow up” and live my life. There are places I want to travel and things I want to experience. So here is my bucket list…items that are bolded I’ve already completed!


*Go to a Rose Bowl Game 

*Graduate College

*Gain my teaching license

*Survive my first year teaching

*Adopt a kitten

*Run a 5K

*Learn a new instrument

*Own a house

*Buy a car

*Pay off my school loans

*Get my masters

*Get my PHD

*Get married

*Buy PSU football season tickets

*Participate in an Alumni Blue Band event

*Have a baby (or 2 or 3)

*Travel to all B1G Football Stadiums (I have been to two so far!)

*Attend a Presidential Inauguration

*NYC Christmas Tree Lighting

*Attend a Broadway show

*Ride in a hot air balloon

*See a waterfall in person

*Visit Ireland

*Vist Scotland

*Visit Italy

*Visit England

*Visit Niagara Falls

*Visit Canada

*Visit New Orleans

*Caribbean Cruise

*Alaskan Cruise

*Go to all the Triple Crown Races (Kentucky Derby, Belmont, Preakness)

*Go to Disney

*Swim with Manatees

*New Year’s in Times Square

*Write a children’s book


Of course this list is going to change throughout the years, but I hope to keep up with it!

What’s on your Bucket List? Are there any items you think I should add to mine?