I am such a perfectionist; I just hate being absent.
I have to say that I am almost never absent. In the 7 years that I have been teaching, I can count the number of days that I have been absent. If I am absent, it's not because I was so sick and weak that I needed to crawl home. For those cases I would stay at school. If I am absent, it's because:
1. I'm going to a conference or job fair: I missed 1 day this year for a conference, and 1 day 4 years ago because I needed to attend a job fair.
2. I need to catch a flight for a wedding that is out of town: I miss 1 day every 2 or 3 years for this.
3. I'm getting married myself: I am taking 2 days off for my own wedding this year. Hopefully this is a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing.
4. My doctor absolutely isn't available in the entire month except during work hours, and the situation is urgent. I've missed about three or four half-days for this in all the years that I've been teaching.
However, sometimes we need to be absent and we need to have substitutes. And I HATE THAT. I cannot seem to substitute-proof my lessons. I try to give them all the details: all lesson material, with extra copies and neatly labeled answer keys and instructions on what to write on the board and how many answers to check. I try to make the lessons SO easy to run that a non-mathy person can still do it, and I even talk to the kids in advance and prep them for the activity. If there are support teachers in my class, I brief them in advance, send them all the lesson material, and make sure they know what should be happening in case the substitute teacher is unclear. In the end, I come back and the kids are like, "The sub didn't write anything on the board. They didn't do anything." Last time, I made spiffy pencasts and tested them on the computer under another teacher's login, and everything, and the substitute teacher didn't have access on their own login account, and the whole thing was a fail even though in my mind, all they had to do was to hit Play. That was not their fault... however, moral of the story: I cannot substitute-proof my lessons!!
ARGH. So, tomorrow I'm out for a half-day. I planned it so that I'd miss only one single-period PM class, thereby minimizing the damage. I've made all my answer keys and even color-coded them and everything. Keeping my fingers crossed that whoever takes my class will defeat all odds and make me proud.
What do you do to substitute-proof your lessons?