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Substitute Teacher Magazine is looking for authors. Information on submitting to the magazine can be found by clicking here.  Submissions can be printed anonymously, please request if you would like us to not print your name or location. Please contact

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Dear Barbara

Barbara Pressman is the author of book Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008), available in all major bookstores and To find out more, visit:

If you have a question for Barbara, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

"Is it necessary to say “Yes” to every subbing assignment that is offered to me?" PDF Print E-mail
Dear Barbara,

I am proud to say that I have a good reputation in my school district, after subbing here for a little over a year. Most students seem to be happy when I’m their sub for the day. Many teachers put in requests for me, or call me directly.
Although I’m usually pretty effective with classroom management, there have been some classes that have been very tough to handle. In the past, I’ve said yes, even for those difficult groups.
Do you think I should continue to say yes, even when I know the day will be really hard for me?

Little Rock, Arkansas
"What can I do this summer to prepare for next year’s subbing assignments?" PDF Print E-mail

Dear Barbara,

Summer is here and I’m enjoying my free time. But I feel as if I should be doing something! Do you have any ideas for me? I want to be sure that I can be prepared and successful for my very first call to sub in the 2010-2011 school year.  

Cooper City, CA

"Are Rewards the Answer?" PDF Print E-mail
Dear Barbara,

I read your book and I have followed your advice about keeping rewards in my Bag of Tricks. I am concerned about students working and behaving well so that they can get a sticker or a certificate. Shouldn’t children learn to be self motivated?  I’m getting tired of “bribing” students! Is there a better way?

Cherry Hill, NJ
"Will I be able to Sub in High School?" PDF Print E-mail
Dear Barbara,

I’m a new sub and have been working mostly at the elementary and middle school level. I really enjoy grades 4- 6 the most. I would like to work every day, and I know that if I sign up to work at the high school, I’ll have more subbing days. Other subs have told me that it’s not that hard.

I am worried about subbing in an advanced class. What if I really don’t know the material? If students ask me a question about Geometry or Chemistry, I’m afraid I’ll make a fool of myself if I don’t know the answer. Yet I feel that I might be good at working in the high school. Plus… I need the money? Any advice? I really appreciate you help.

Medford, MA

"Nagging and Negative – How can I change?" PDF Print E-mail
Dear Barbara,

I had an awful day today. The fifth graders filed in at 7:45. I was sitting at my desk, and the students walked right up to me and started asking for special favors. I was asked to solve disagreements even before class began!

I found myself pleading for quiet. It set me off on a negative path for the whole day. Yelling and nagging never work, and I know that. For some reason, I was in a bad mood and had very little patience for the students.

I hate being that way. Can I recover? It’s not who I am, and it’s not who I want to be.

Davie, Florida
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