In my classroom an Occasional Teacher is referred to as a Guest Teacher for many reasons. The most important being that the person who arrives that day is first and foremost a teacher. That individual is a qualified teacher who is there to help students continue on their daily academic journey. They are not there to keep students busy nor are they there to just supervise for the day.
It is very important that in my plans I both value and allow that incoming expertise to be shared with my students. Of course I have developed plans that will be a continuation of what is going on in my classroom but have left instructions that are open ended and allow the guest teacher to be able to adjust them based on the needs of the students they are working with as well as the expertise and experience they bring into our classroom. In that way, my students are able to enjoy and share the uniqueness of each teacher they work with.
My experience has taught me that one of the worst things I can do is to set up the guest teacher for failure or classroom management problems by assigning work that is not relevant or connected to the day-to-day academics that are occurring in that room. My students need to know that each and every task they are working on is important to their overall growth and academic success.
I truly enjoy the day after a Guest Teacher has been in my room and the students remember their name, tell me something personal they learned about that individual and are eager to share the work they completed. That type of response provides very valuable feedback about how well my students are transferring the classroom agreement to all individuals they come into contact with.
I want to tell Occasional Teachers how important your role is and how much I appreciate the time and effort you put into my students. Thank you for everything you do as partners to contract teachers.