Can Substitute Teachers Use Discipline Help?

When you’re using the Discipline Without Stress methodology in your classroom, can a substitute teacher step in and lead your class if he or she is not familiar with the discipline help in the book, Discipline without Stress, Punishments or Rewards?

Yes! A substitute teacher does not need to know the discipline system at all for discipline help. Also, I use the term “guest teacher” because of the influence it has on students. When I was an elementary school principal, as soon as the day started I was in the “substitute teacher’s” classroom and introduced the substitute by announcing that we had a guest teacher that day and that I knew the students would treat the teacher accordingly. Expectations for responsible student behavior were established immediately. I empowered students to be self-disciplined.

As a teacher, I had the following one-page at the top of my substitute teacher handbook:


Read to Each Class at the START of the Period:

This class understands levels of development. It is the basis of discipline in this classroom. A guest teacher need not be versed in the system to use it.

It is the responsibility of the class members to maintain their own discipline. Students know that they choose their own level of behavior.

If students behave and do the given assignment, they are on Level C or Level D and should not present a problem.

Level B students are the ones who defy your authority, act inappropriately, or are not good hosts to the guest in the classroom today.

My students know that they alone choose their level of behavior and that they will accept the responsibility for their choices.

Please leave me a list of the level B students so they can carry out the assignment that goes along with their choice of behavior.


Upon my return, I had an individual conversation with each student on the list and ELICITED a CONSEQUENCE to help the student remember and would also ELICIT a PROCEDURE to redirect future impulsive behaviors.

This simple discipline help procedure will make your substitute teacher’s job much easier.