1.4 Setting Clear Expectations – Demo

1.4 Setting Clear Expectations


The ability to be a “warm demander” requires a substitute to set clear expectations to promote collaborative learning. Doing this puts students at the center of the learning process. Setting clear classroom expectations will motivate students to take personal responsibility to improve their learning and behavior. Substitute teachers should make sure that expectations are developed right from the beginning. In many classrooms teachers have already created “class rules” or “norms”. Norms are the agreements we make with each other. They represent community goals, and as such all classroom members should be given the opportunity to contribute to their creation (EL Education). Norms are usually located in a visible place for all to see.  As a substitute teacher it is important to reinforce these expectations by involving students in the process. This collaborative process allows the students to “teach” you the values of the classroom culture, and it also allows you as the substitute to share your needs and expectations in order for the day to be successful. In your strategy backpack you will find a protocol that can be used to support you in the process of creating norms for the day. 

Having a classroom presence is essential as a substitute teacher. This means finding your “teacher voice”. The teacher voice of a warm demander is nurturing and supportive, and one that students can internalize for positive growth and change. “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”. (Barton, 2012) Ensuring that the language and tone we use to communicate is one that will allow students to feel cared for and supported. 

WATCH: Collaborative Norm Creation

Norms are not a list of rules and/or bad behaviors to avoid. They are a list that describe the type of positive environment needed for all to thrive. Norms are most effective when students are involved in the process. Watch the video, Creating Classroom Norms, to learn tips on how to make the creation of norms a collaborative process. 


Strategy Backpack

A Norm Protocol is a process for generating community ground rules. It can be adapted to quickly generate work expectations for an activity, or to frame guidelines for your day. Review the norm protocol to help you create norms for your day.

The Teacher Voice Chart contains strategies to support you in developing your teacher voice. Which strategies do you feel confident about? Which strategies seem most compelling? What kind of support will you need to effectively find your teacher voice? Review the “Finding Your Teacher Voice” chart to help you think about your own voice as a teacher.

The “Strategy Backpack” is an opportunity to download resources, guidance, or working documents to support your future journey as a substitute teacher. To leverage these additional resources, create a Strategy Backpack folder in your Google Drive or on your hard drive. Review the materials provided, and save the information you find compelling in your personal folder. Strategy Backpack resources are completely optional to download or complete.