- How do I take attendance and where the heck is your class list/seating chart?
- Where's the nearest bathroom that I'm allowed to use?
- What, EXACTLY, do you want me to do with difficult children (and no, telling me to use the "school standard policy" doesn't really help)?
- Which children are helpful and which will try to pull one over on me?
- What things in the room are fair game for students to use without asking?
- What are your rules about going to the bathroom/getting a drink/going to the library/going to lockers during class?
- What teacher(s) will be helpful if I'm in a jam?
- What are the names of the nice people in the front office?
- What's the bell schedule and how does your crazy lunch schedule work?
Since I subbed at all levels, the questions had different priorities depending on where I was. I only had one day where I had difficult children where I was at a loss, and that was at a place where there was a student teacher who was supposed to do everything. The kids walked all over her.
As for my own sub plans, I have generic plans with something to do in case I can't make sub plans, my seating charts, and hopefully plans specific to the day(s) I'm out. We are required to have a sub folder in the office at all times, ready to go in case of emergency. The seating chart thing is a pain because we switch seats pretty regularly in my classes. I'm considering coming up with a "sub seating chart" that I post on the wall and tell the kids about so that I don't have to keep killing trees printing out the seating chart to put in my sub folder.
My generic plans right now involve variations on the game War. I'm thinking of changing that to a special sub set (not subset) of "I Have, Who Has?" since the kids seem to like that and everyone at school knows how to play it. Since I teach both science and math I have to come up with things that all my classes can do. Ideally, anything the kids do with a sub should be practice of things they need to know how to do.
I was out for a half day a few weeks ago, but it was a test day for ALL my classes. That was ideal because the kids knew what was coming and I could give them all rules to follow for the sub. Since we assess collaboratively I don't really have total control over the test schedule, unfortunately. I'll be out again at least twice this month for various meetings and things, and I'm hoping everyone else who posts will have fabulous sub plan ideas!