7 Ways to Thank an Amazing Substitute

When a sub actually makes being absent less work, you have to show your gratitude!

This past week, the WeAreTeachers Helpline discussed a question that we all should be so lucky to have: How do you thank a sub who went above and beyond? Teacher Amy wrote in, “After being out with the flu for three days, I came back to a clean room, organized stacks of papers (which she graded!), awesome feedback, no incidents reported and no stress about being gone! She even taught distance formula to my eighth graders. What do I get this fantastic sub to thank her?!”

Teaching is one of those professions where it’s more work to be absent than to be present, so we totally get it, Amy! Here are some suggestions for showing your appreciation to this wonderful teacher.

Lunch (or gas or groceries) is on you.

“Get her a small gift card for lunch somewhere, or dinner for two for a date night.” —Desiree H.

“Get her a gift card to whatever is popular around your school. We have a Sonic three minutes from our school, and it’s everyone’s go-to.” —Megan T.

“Get her a gas or grocery card. Who wouldn’t appreciate that?” —Sarah T.

Write her a letter of recommendation.


Many teachers from our Helpliner community—several of whom are former substitute teachers—agreed with this one!

“I wrote a letter of praise for our incredible permanent sub. The sub service emailed me and asked me to put the letter on our school stationery. She ended up winning Missouri Sub of the Year!” —Stephanie S.


Tell her superiors.

“Sing her praises to your principal.” —Shelby C.

“Write a positive report and ask that it goes in her file. I was a sub, and that is what I would want.” —Kelly H.


Request her again.

“Keep her on your requested subs list, and make sure your administration knows about her good work.” —Lori S.


Don’t overlook a simple thank-you note.

“Write a nice thank-you note. It’s a kind gesture, and she can include it in her portfolio as evidence of her success.” —Jenny E.

“I was a sub for eight years before I got my credential. A thank-you note would be very appreciated. I still have the ones that I received from back then!” —Laura M.


Spread the word.

“Tell your coworkers how wonderful she is so that she gets more requests to teach.” —Rebecca A.


Get her a permanent job at your school.

“If she’s good at subbing, she’ll probably be a great full-time teacher!” —Erin F.

Teachers, if you’re a sub or have subbed in the past, what would you add to this list?