Substitute Teachers?


New Member
I received an e-mail that Ducky was yelling at the sub last Friday. Ducky was sent to the principal and then put into another class for the day. He says the sub wasnt listening to him and was mean. I know he doesnt handle changes well. His teacher says he is good normally but fidgets. She is very understanding to his ADHD as she has it to.

Do any of you have issues when there is a sub? Any suggestions on how to handle another sub day?


Well-Known Member
My difficult child never dealt well with substitute teachers. His regular teachers were familiar with his behaviour, and knew what was "good" vs. "bad" behaviour for him. With subs, no matter how many notes and instructions are left, they usually haven't had the time with your difficult child to understand what makes him tick, or what he's capable (or not capable of).

When my difficult child had access to an EA (Education Assistant -- not sure how things work in the US school system), it was a bit easier, because he had someone familiar with him in the class, but when he didn't have one, he was usually sent to a different class where the teacher knew him. Or the Head of Guidance would put him in the quiet room with an individual assignment (usually an art project) to complete.

I'm not sure what others have tried, but it was always a nightmare when the regular teacher wasn't there.

Best of luck,


New Member
Well, I can totally understand this being a problem for our little ones. Having a change to the routine is enough to get them a little frustrated by itself, but then dealing with a teacher all day who doesn't know him or know how to handle him or how to relate to him could DEFINITELY be enough to set him over the edge.

I know that this is WISHFUL THINKING, but maybe you could ask the school to contact you in advance in the future if there is going to be a sub. This way you would have time to prepare your son before he goes into that situation. I know they will ALWAYS handle things better, even difficult situations, if they are aware of them in advance. Now, I know that sometimes in emergencies, there may not be time to notify you, but for instances where there IS time, they should consent to this. Again, maybe this is WISHFUL THINKING, but I think our school would do something like this if it were going to help.

If I think back, WAY back in the day....I seem to remember there was ALWAYS one or two teachers who NEVER had a sub because they were like NEVER GONE....and for most kids, that's boring because sub days are supposed to be exciting, but for our difficult child's maybe it would benefit to try to find the teacher who is "never gone" or "rarely gone" so that the situation might not come up as often.


New Member
We've asked the teacher to request the same sub each time. It doesn't mean you always have the same sub, but more often than not, you do. This is in our system in our SD, I'm not sure how other SDs work, but in ours, you can ask for someone specific.

Besides this, we had the other grade level teachers step in when there was a sub and give the sub some pointers on working with our difficult child.

My oldest and youngest have serious problems with subs so it was always hard to tell when one was "mean". Then my middle easy child and difficult child mentioned this one guy and said he was awful. After speaking with my other kids and their friends, I found he really was mean. Then a dad I know asked me about him and I asked him why and he told me his horor stories. We complained at the old school, but they kept using him. One day last year youngest difficult child through a huge fit on the way to art. His teacher didn't know what to do. She said there was a sub, but that all the kids loved the guy. Well, you guessed it, it was Mr. Meany sub man. I don't blame difficult child one bit for freaking out. It's hard enough with your regular teacher to transition from class to art, but add a sub and a MEAN sub, and it makes it 500 X worse.


Well-Known Member
When my son was younger, the school would call if there was going to be a sub and we kept him home those days. Eventually, he got older and when he entered middle school, we stopped doing that. He is now fine with subs but it is a maturity thing.


Active Member
Like svengandhi, we would ask the school to notify us in the event of a substitute and we would, if necessary, keep difficult child 3 home. They didn't always tell us, and sometimes it wasn't too bad (once he got up to about grade 3). But it was much easier on everybody and frankly, difficult child 3 always worked much better at home. Still does.

About grade 3, the teacher was on long-service leave and the substitute was going to be there for a term, so difficult child 3 had to get used to him. The sub turned out to be really good with difficult child 3. He is now retired, lives a few doors away and we often drop in for a visit.

You make your own way in this sort of thing. Again, a communication book helps a great deal. You can tell very quickly then, if it's working or if it's not. You can also use the book to dramatically increase the chance of things working.