Who Ya Gonna Call?

When you’re subbing? Likely the vice principal.

Here’s a short and sweet post.
One of the best ways to be prepared in a rowdy substitute situation is to know extensions and to know names. Want to lose credibility in front of a class that isn’t listening to you? Call the principal or vice principal by the wrong name. Want to lose the class even more? Struggle to find the extension for the office when you’re trying to send out a trouble-maker.

When you get to the school you’re working at for the day, one of the first things you need to do is make sure you know the names of staff who can help you out (namely, administrators and anyone the regular classroom teacher has listed on their lesson plan as a teacher who can help out if needed) and their extensions. It might be helpful to make a separate note of name and numbers that you can refer to quickly to efficiently handle a situation that might get out of control. Check the lesson plan, check if there is a list posted by the phone, or go down to the office and get the names and numbers you need. It’s better to have them and not use them than need them and not have them.

And to remind you why it is so important to know extensions and how to use them. I was working a contract at a school when the fire alarm went off. Odd, because staff wasn’t told ahead of time that there would be a drill, but sometimes unannounced drills happen. No biggie. So we all file out, and wait. And wait. And wait. And start thinking it wasn’t just a drill…
What actually happened was a substitute teacher was having a rough time in a class, and wanted to call the principal. The principal’s extension started with 11. The sub thought he had to put a 9 in front of the extension number. So, completely unintentionally, he called 911. Every admin (and there were 5 at that school) got a call on their cells and rushed to the class. Every emergency response team responded because instead of staying on the call to explain it was an accident, the sub hung up. Every class lost over a period in instruction time. And that substitute never worked at that school ever again.



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