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The Interpreter's Tapestry
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Substitute Interpreter Notebook

Inevitably there will be times when you will have an unexpected absence. In those situations, it is great to be able to direct a substitute to your stash of information for the next day's work without having to type everything up at 7am when you're feeling lousy. Here's how I approach my substitute interpreter folder.

At the beginning of the year, I prepare a folder for my principal (or other supervisor the sub will meet with before starting the day.) This folder contains:

  • Thank You letter:
    • thank the interpreter for substituting,
    • logistics for classes – where to sit/stand, teachers' names,
    • necessary details about the student – language, abilities,
    • information on where to find the daily journal,
    • safe place to store personal items – locker or desk,
    • contact information for principal, supervising teacher, etc;
  • color-coded schedule of the day;
  • color-coded map of the school (colors match the schedule, i.e. during the red block we go to the red room).

In addition to the substitute folder, I try to maintain a daily journal of topics and activities in the classroom, vocabulary agreed upon, and other issues necessary to the day. Usually I get an agenda from the school at the beginning of the year and fill it out in each class just as the students do. I keep this journal in a specific place as described in the thank you letter so a last-minute substitute can find it.

This is one way to approach a sub folder. Other groups do a sub notebook, keeping all these things in one place. For my specific situation the separate books work better, for yours it may work another way.


Last Updated: January 1, 2015
Heather R Lawson
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