Being sick is no fun. But for a teacher, it can be downright stressful. Waking up to realize you’re not well enough to go into the classroom can send your morning into a tailspin.

We asked some savvy Teacher-Authors how they plan ahead. Here are some tried-and-true suggestions for when the inevitable happens. Take a look: You deserve to get the rest you need so you can return to school ready to face the day.

Resources & Tips for Secondary Teachers: 

  • Differentiated Middle School Math WorksheetsSomething additional that teachers deal with when out sick is coming back to papers and assignments that need to be graded. Math in the Middle provides a resource for grades 5-8 that allows students to check their own work… a win-win! She keeps her Middle School Math Bundle of Self-Checking Worksheets – Differentiated in her emergency sub binder, so when she has to be out, she has assignments ready to go.
  • Solving Equations Sub PlansLindsay Perro has a plan in place for those mornings she wakes up feeling sick. “I have three sets of Emergency Sub Plans completely prepped and ready to go!” She suggests keeping a copy of her Equations Substitute Math Plans (grades 7-9) in your desk — “just in case!”
  • 1 Day Lesson PlansIf you’re a history teacher like Students of History, check out some of his Complete 1 Day Lessons. He says, “They’re great for a secondary-level sub because they include every resource a sub would need for a lesson as well as step-by-step directions on how to implement each resource. They’re easy enough to email to a department chair who can print it off and hand it to the sub. And you don’t even have to leave your bed! You’ll rest easy that your students will still have a meaningful lesson.”
  • Sick Teacher's SaviorRoom 213 says her Emergency Sub Plans: The Sick Teacher’s Savior (grades 9-12) resource “is designed to go with any text, and takes next to no prep. It also allows students to keep working on the text they’re studying, rather than doing filler exercises.”

Resources & Tips for Primary Teachers: 

  • Color by ShapeLindsay Keegan explains, “It’s really important to have quick, easy-prep, and engaging activities available for substitutes or for the inevitable hiccup in the day. These types of activities are a necessity for when there’s a gap in the plans, there’s an issue that needs immediate attention, or the sub needs more time preparing a lesson.” She says her students love her 2D and 3D shapes – Color by Shapes (grades PreK-2) resource. “It keeps them calm, cool, and collected while the substitute works hard to make the classroom his or hers for the day.”
  • Food Allergy Form For Subs My Book Boost wants to help, too. She shares a free resource that’s great for any grade or subject — Food Allergies Form for Sub Tub. Having this readily available means the substitute teacher will immediately be aware of any dangerous food allergies among students… safety first!
  • Print and Go Sub Kit Curriculum Castle has a Sub Plans: Zoo Theme Math & Literacy Activities Substitute Kit {Print & Go} resource (grades K-1), with everything you need to keep your classroom running smoothly while you’re out. “There are substitute pages that are ready to fill out and place in a binder for easy communication between the teacher and the sub.”
  • Substitute Preparation PacketAmber Thomas is a habitual list maker! She says, “When I started in a new grade, I made a list of all the routines I needed to do in the morning before school, during students’ arrival, at lunch, and at dismissal. I posted them by my desk and later realized they would be just as useful to a substitute. So I’ve left them there even though I haven’t needed to refer to them myself for a very long time!” She also makes sure to leave her Substitute Teacher Instructions Packet (grades 3-5).
  • Sub Plans Upper Elementary “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to school when I’m sick because it’s easier than doing sub plans,” says The Owl Spot. She’s excited to share her Sub Plans for a Week- Upper Elementary Spring Edition (grades 4-6).
  • Sub Folder CoverDo you keep a sub folder at your desk? Then you’ll enjoy Sub Binder Cover by Polly Hill — and it’s a freebie! She says, “If I die before I wake, my lesson plans are yours to make! They’re easy for a sub to spot when looking for your plans,” and laughter is the best medicine!

Resources & Tips for World Language Teachers: 

  • World Language Vocabulary Activity Task Cards Plus Editable CardsTeacher-Author Island Teacher explains the added struggle that world language teachers go through when planning for a substitute teacher — the sub often doesn’t speak the target language. “Therefore, it’s important that students have a meaningful task to complete that doesn’t require the sub to know the language.” She relies on her World Language Vocabulary Activity Task Cards Plus Editable Cards (grades 6-11) to keep her students busy.
  • Preterite Tense Task Cards (REGULAR VERBS ONLY)La Profe Plotts is also a fan of task cards when she can’t be in the classroom. “Task cards make a perfect sub plan because they don’t require any Spanish on a sub’s part, they’re easy for a sub to facilitate, and they’re engaging and educational for the students!” She shares her Preterite Tense Task Cards (REGULAR VERBS ONLY), to which we say gracias!
  • Les VirelanguesMadame H agrees that it’s difficult to find a sub that speaks the language, so she makes sure her Les Virelangues activity is printed and ready for when she’s not there. “This activity gets students reading, practicing pronunciation, visually depicting, and creating their own tongue twisters in French. It’s engaging for the students, and I always laugh when I later read what they’ve created.” Merci!


What wonderful ideas! Here’s hoping the sniffles, sneezes, and bellyaches stay away, but if they make their way into your day, TpT Teacher-Authors have got you covered.