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The Successful Substitute

How to Prepare, Grow, and Flourish as a Guest Teacher

You’ve accepted the challenge of becoming every teacher’s hero: a substitute teacher. Now what? This quick-read guide offers plenty of preparation and training for whatever comes your way. Gain insights from guest teachers, as well as dos and don’ts that will save you stress and boost your confidence.


  • Walk through the process of becoming a substitute teacher step by step—from submitting the initial paperwork to completing a full school day.
  • Glean insights from current and former substitutes, with clearly defined dos and don’ts of the role.
  • Learn how to make positive impressions with school staff and establish connections with students.
  • Strategize on how to correct misbehavior and redirect attention in rowdy classrooms.
  • Understand classroom structures you may encounter and receive tips and activities tailored to each one.

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The Successful Substitute

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Chapter 1: Prepare for Success
Chapter 2: Start Out Strong
Chapter 3: Connect With Students
Chapter 4: Make It Manageable and Engaging
Chapter 5: Stay Calm in the Storm
Chapter 6: End Strong
Chapter 7: Thrive and Grow Into Your Future
Chapter 8: Keep Going! Keep Growing!


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7



  • Harlacher, J. E. (2015). Designing effective classroom management. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Resources.
  • Marzano, R. J. (2017). The new art and science of teaching. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Marzano, R. J., & Pickering, D. J. (2011). The highly engaged classroom. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Resources.
  • Reibel, A. R. (2023). Embracing relational teaching: How strong relationships promote student self-regulation and efficacy. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.