Monday, July 2, 2012

Planning for a Guest Teacher

Since we have a unique setup in the preschool program where I teach, I have the added challenge of planning for a month long guest teacher each and every July!  Last summer was quite the challenge.  I ended up leaving at the end of June and a teacher associate sub as well as a guest teacher stepped in with no type of transition time for the children at all!  Not ideal!!

I am so much happier with what I was able to create this summer (partially by design, partially on accident)!  While the children will still have adjustments to make, they have had some time to get to know the new people.  I also know that I have done everything in my power to make this the most positive time for the children that I can. 

I updated my teacher binder with new notes, information about the children, daily schedules and names, numbers and where items are located.  I made "cheat sheets" and posted them around the classroom.  Here is a list of the cheat sheets I created and posted around the classroom this year:
  1. Cheat Sheet for mealtimes- lists who needs food cut up, who eats what type of food, assistance children may need
  2. Cheat Sheet for IEP goal work- how to work with certain children who may need more prompts, what to work with children on, how to fill out IEP tracking sheets.
  3. Cheat Sheet for calendar time- sequence of routine
  4. Cheat Sheet for water day- who needs sunscreen, when to begin getting ready
  5. Cheat Sheet for songs/music- what songs are routinely done, what CD are they on.
  6. Cheat Sheet for Daily Schedules- (object schedule as well as picture schedules)
Now, of course, none of this would have helped if the people coming in didn't already have a basic understanding of the children!  My guest teacher happened to be the guest teacher next door for the month of June.  This gave my group of children the opportunity to get to know her in a relaxed way!  We spent several days slowly working her into the flow of our day so the children could begin to understand that she would be in the classroom with them soon.

Of course, I certainly can't guarantee that this will eliminate all challenges (I'm sure it won't).  I do know that this is a significantly better set up than last summer and I am confident that the people taking over will provide a relatively smooth transition for the children!  THAT makes my job of relaxing on this month MUCH easier!  Now, I'm off to do more of that! 

If you would like to see a bit more detail of the Guest Teacher Cheat Sheets I talked about in this blog post, hop on over to Prekandksharing I wrote about the details of those cheat sheets!


  1. I know you are working with SEN children mainly but I think your advice is true for anyone working with young children. Unfortunately I don't think enough principals get this & think anyone can just step in to to the job. I know I fret about this when I have to go off for days for courses & know that my poor assistant will have a stressful few days ahead of her. I also find some of the children will 'punish' me when I come back by ignoring me or playing up!

    1. Kierna the comment about the children "punishing" you when you return to school makes me laugh! This is exactly what happens to me every time I return! I also agree with you that providing this type of transition time should be the norm for any early childhood classroom and administrators definitely need to make more of an effort to understand this!

  2. I've never heard of a "guest teacher" coming for a month. Is this so regular teachers can get a break while the children go to echool year-round? I love your ideas of putting cheat sheets everywhere to make it easier for the new teacher. Its probably easier for them than having to search through a binder to find information about each part of the day!

    1. Hi Angel- yes, we are the only place I have ever heard of doing this as well! Our program runs year round with a winter break and spring break. School is available throughout the summer though. The teachers are contracted for a certain number of days each year, which leaves a month off for each during the summer. (we have either June, July or Aug. off). I do think the posted cheat sheets help- especially for those small routines that non one would realize are so important to the children until they forget to do it! :)

  3. Is having a guest teacher effective? I was wondering how the children goes around having a guess teacher often.

    1. Hi Izza- it's difficult to have a guest teacher for a full month. If I had my way (which, of course, I don't :) I would rather have no school during this time (with children on break as well). Having said that, we are relatively lucky to have the same guest teacher the whole month. I also was able to have time before I was on break to help the children get used to the new person. But, of course, transitions to the new person and then when I come back are always a challenge for the children (I definitely don't think it's ideal).

  4. I’m your newest follower. Please check out my blog if you get a chance “Calling Plays in 2nd Grade”.
    Thanks, Shanell

  5. Hi Pam,
    I am now following your blog. You hooked me with your info on IEP's. I am switching from a gen ed teacher to an ESE co-teacher this year and the paperwork is the one thing that makes me a little nervous. I hope you post more to help newbies like me. I would love for you to stop by my blog sometime.


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