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As a substitute teacher, your day will most likely be hectic, especially if you’re subbing for a new classroom. No matter how busy you get, you should always leave a detailed thank you note at the end of the day.

The regular teacher will see from your sub note that you’re a responsible sub who cares about the work you do. When that long-term subbing position opens up, you’ll be the first they recommend for the job.

Here are some tips for writing a thoughtful note that has teachers calling you back again and again!

Psst – grab our free, downloadable 1-pager that lists out vital topics to report to the regular teacher. You’ll stand out as a stellar, professional educator!

Get your free template

Why you should write a substitute thank you note

thank you note

When a teacher is out for a day or two, they’ll usually feel worried about their classroom. They’ll wonder if their students are learning and behaving well even when they’re gone.

You can alleviate the teacher’s stress by writing a sub note that covers all the important details of the day.

Sub notes will help the regular teacher get back into the swing of things when they return. This gives the students a seamless learning experience.

Also, subs who leave helpful notes have a higher chance of being requested again in the future. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Download our “Sub report” template

sub report template preview


Coming in with copies of your own “Sub Report” form will definitely help you stand out from other subs. You’ll also get used to organizing your thoughts in a systematic way each time you sub. Here’s what you should take note of throughout the day:

  • Absent students
  • Student and classroom behavior
  • Any unfinished work or activities you couldn’t get to
  • Lesson plan modifications
  • Extra comments about the day

Download and print out our template to make it easier to leave sub notes!

Get your free template

Tips to write an amazing sub note

teacher writing in notebook

1) Stay professional and informative

Since this note is going to be seen by the regular teacher and could potentially lead to more job opportunities in the future, make sure to keep your notes professional, informative, and thoughtful.

Organize your notes in a template that’s easy for you to fill out and for the teacher to follow.

Then, make sure to write a formal letter to leave a strong impression on the teacher you covered for.

You can address them as “Dear Mrs.”, “Dear Ms.”, or “Dear Mr.” followed by the teacher’s last name. If you don’t know how to address them, just saying “Dear teacher” works too.

Instead of using bullet points, use full sentences. Think of this as a formal letter, with a greeting, body paragraph, complimentary closing, and a signature.

2) Take notes throughout the day

Sometimes, subs forget to write thank-you notes at the end of the day. This can happen if their day is too busy or if they’re just wiped out from a long school day. Don’t let this happen to you!

Write down small notes to yourself throughout the day so you don’t miss anything. Keep these notes in front of you so you see it. When school is over, you can compile everything quickly and easily.

Carry around a clipboard and fill out a “Sub Report” template to keep track of your short notes. You can also opt to record everything in a notebook.

Bonus tip: Tell the class that you’ll be recording down the names of exceptional students to let the regular teacher know. This can be a great classroom management tactic!

What to include in a sub note


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1) Absent students

attendance record

You should always remember to take attendance for every classroom you sub for. This is a task that subs often forget to do so make sure to cross this off your checklist the moment class starts.

Take attendance using the class roster that is provided to you and write down any students who are missing.

At the end of the day, let the teacher know which students were absent or late to class in your note. This way, they’ll know who needs to get the makeup assignment. The teacher will be grateful for your thoughtfulness.

2) Changes to the sub plan

educator teaching math on chalkboard

Many teachers will leave sub plans for substitute teachers to follow in case of their absence. Usually, following the lesson plan will help you get through the school day without a problem.

However, you won’t always be able to finish the lesson plan. Some students may fall behind on an activity or the whole class couldn’t get to the next section of the lesson plan.

It’s okay to not complete everything. You just need to let the regular teacher know, so they can easily pick up where you left off.

What if there are no sub plans?

Sometimes, teachers won’t leave lesson plans behind. This can happen if a teacher has to suddenly take time off for an emergency, or if they were just too busy to get around to making a plan.

First, consult other teachers in your curriculum. Try asking the next-door teacher to see if they can give you ideas for activities. Or they just might lend you some spare materials and lesson plans for the day.

If all else fails, thankfully you can bring in your bag to fill up the time!

3) Student behavior

teacher and student smiling

Write down how well behaved the students were. Any teacher would be happy to hear that their class was amazing in their absence!

You can talk about how they paid close attention to instructions or did their work quietly and efficiently. Mentioning important things like this will help the teacher feel a lot better about missing a day or two of class.

Mention the students who actively contributed

Write down which students were exceptionally helpful and contributed to helping the class progress through the lessons and assignments.

The teacher will greatly appreciate the extra time you take to recognize the great students in the classroom.

Had some challenging students?

Sometimes you’ll encounter some particularly challenging student behavior. It happens to the best of us!

When this happens and you’ve used all your classroom management techniques, sometimes the best thing you can do is just let the teacher know about it.

Make a note of the student’s name and in your letter, say that you did your best but the student was still distracting to the rest of the class even with redirection and reminders.

It doesn’t feel good to call out a single student but at the end of the day, the teacher will appreciate it.

Don’t focus only on the negatives

Unless you had an extremely poor experience in the classroom, it’s best to avoid writing only negative things. Even if your time was truly bad, you still need to be specific about what could’ve gone better and the steps you took to help the student.

Try to sprinkle in praise and positivity wherever you can. Consider starting your note with 2 positive experiences, mention any bad experiences in the middle, and end on a positive note.

The last thing you want is to leave a bad impression on a teacher who couldn’t see your hard work!

4) Anything else the teacher should know

writing on a notepad

Did you notice that some of the students really struggled to keep up with the materials? Were there a few students who fell behind in their work, even after you tried to help them? Make sure to write this down!

If you notice anything unusual or saw something you thought the teacher would like to know, you can also write it in your note.

5) How to end your sub note

thank you note envelopes

Now that you’ve written a thoughtful thank you note, all that’s left is to close it out. Here are a few phrases you can say to finish your note:

  • It was a pleasure to sub for your class.
  • I had a lot of fun subbing for your great students.
  • Thank you for the opportunity to sub for your classroom.

Finally, sign off with your full name and leave the note on the teacher’s desk. Make sure to place it somewhere that the students won’t spot it. 

You can also ask the school admin you greeted that morning about where you should leave the thank you note.

Taking the extra time to write a thank you note shows the teacher and school that you sincerely care about your work as a substitute teacher. And if the school is hiring for a long-term substitute, you can be sure that the teacher will mention you to the principal and hiring sub coordinator!

Leaving a thoughtful thank you note can make you popular as a substitute teacher. The school you’re at will appreciate the extra though you put into the note and might request you again and again!

Want to start subbing with a company?

thank you note to teacher | substitute teaching jobs | substitute teacher thank you note

Here at Scoot Education, we make sure our subs feel completely supported. In addition to helping you write your thank you note, you’ll also get:

  • Access to your own Scoot consultant, an expert in the education field who can answer all your questions. Whether you need help getting through the application process or need advice when teaching, your Scoot consultant has your back!
  • Exclusive access to exclusive resources from experts in the education field, all from the comfort of your own computer. We care deeply that our educators feel prepared for success in the classroom.
  • Full control over your schedule with our app Scoot 2 Work. We have no availability minimum so you can work as much or as little as you want!
  • Weekly pay every Friday via direct deposit straight into your bank account.

Apply to substitute teach with Scoot Education and you can start subbing with great perks!

Apply now