How to write a strong thank you note as a substitute teacher

As a substitute teacher, you should always leave a detailed thank you note at the end of the day. Here are some tips to writing a thoughtful note that has teachers calling you back again and again!

Table of contents:

  1. Why you should write a substitute thank you note
  2. Stay professional and informative
    • Don’t focus only on the negatives
  3. Take notes throughout the day
  4. Keep track of the absent students
  5. Note any changes to the sub plan
    • What if there are no sub plans?
  6. Talk about how well the students behaved
    • Mention the students who actively contributed
    • Had some challenging students?
  7. Note anything else the teacher should know
  8. Ending your substitute thank you note
  9. Want to start subbing with an agency?

1) Why you should write a substitute thank you note

Thank you note to a teacher | Teaching as a substitute teacher | Substitute teaching tips

When a teacher is out for a day or two, they will usually feel worried about their classroom. They’ll wonder if their students are doing the work they left behind and if everything is going smoothly in their absence.

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

Your substitute thank you note will help the regular teacher get back into the swing of things when they come back. And the students get to have a seamless learning experience.

And substitute teachers who leave helpful thank you notes also have a higher chance of being requested again in the future. It’s a win-win for everyone!

2) Stay professional and informative

Focus on positive things | thank you notes can be the best gift to a teacher

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

Start off your note by addressing the teacher you covered for. You can start the letter off by saying, “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.

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.)

Try to sprinkle in praise and positivity wherever you can. You could even name a student or two who impressed you throughout the day.

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

3) Take notes throughout the day

Your efforts will be sincerely appreciated by the teacher | Start writing your notes when the day starts

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 and when school is over, you can compile everything quickly and easily.

A great way to keep track of your short notes is by recording everything within a single clipboard or 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!

4) Keep track of absent students

Writing thank you notes are important to show your appreciation and care for the classroom | substitute teacher appreciation

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.

Then, 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.

5) Note any changes to the sub plan

Simple thank you notes go a long way | Stick to the lesson plans | Substitute teacher thank you letter

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.

Luckily, you know what to bring in your bag to fill up the time!

6) Talk about how well the students behaved

Describe student behavior for the teacher | teaching as a substitute teacher | substitute teacher tips

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

As you go through the day, you should be writing down notes to yourself. 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.

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

7) Note anything else the teacher should know

The teacher will be grateful for your hard work | Simple thank you notes for substitute teachers | Substitute teaching tips

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.

8) Ending your substitute thank you note

How to be a good substitute teacher | Sweet and simple cards are all you need | Write a thank you note as a substitute teacher

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.

And 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 an agency?

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 substitute 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 Substitute, PreK-12 Certificate application process or need advice when teaching, your Scoot consultant has your back!
  • Exclusive access to Scoot Camp, our voluntary teacher preparation program that helps educators feel prepared for success in the classroom. Through Scoot Camp, you will get access to exclusive resources from experts in the education field, all from the comfort of your own computer. This free professional development covers three important subjects:
    • Behavior management
    • Special education
    • Trauma-informed teaching
  • 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! 

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