Being a Substitute Teacher

Substitute teachers play a vital role in education. However, people may not realize that fact, because they are unfamiliar with the job. Here are some information to help you learn about being a substitute teacher.

A substitute teacher is not a babysitter, but an instructor. (Photo by blonde_sage)

What Is a Substitute Teacher?

A substitute teacher is any person who stands in for the permanent classroom teacher during an absence from the classroom. A substitute teacher can be a temporary substitute teacher or hired substitute teacher, or even another permanent classroom teacher who covers the class for the absent teacher.

What Is the Role of the Substitute Teacher?

Substitute teachers’ role is to carry out the education plans for the students during the teacher’s absence and follow the lesson plans. They should keep the class flowing and be able to control the classroom.

What Characteristics Does a Good Substitute Teacher Have?

1. Initiative: Initiative means completing a duty without being told. A good substitute teacher will follow the lesson plan and do more if there is something else he or she can do. For example, the absent teacher may not ask the substitute for leaving a note for him or her about the behavior of the students. Good substitute teachers would leave notes about students’ performance, so it would be easier for the permanent teachers to get back on track upon returning.

2. Resourcefulness: Resourcefulness means the ability to work on what you get and find solutions to problems. If the permanent teacher did not leave a lesson plan due to emergencies, a substitute teacher has to be able to give students instructions according to the subject. For instance, in a Teacher Assisting class where students want to become a substitute or permanent teacher , you can tell the students about your own substitute experience. Check this post to learn more about different teaching styles you may use.

3. Reliability and Punctuality: A good substitute teacher is reliable and always on time.  It works the same for any job. If you are not dependable, you should worry about losing the job.

4. Enthusiasm: A good substitute teacher loves his or her job. Being enthusiastic would help you to fulfill your duty pleasantly and easily. Introduce yourself to the class at the beginning of each period and get to know the students quickly. Answer students’ questions if you can. If not, let the students understand you would do something else to make sure their questions do not get ignored. You could leave a note about the question to the absent teacher or see if some students there can help.

What Is the Minimum Level of Education Required to Become a Substitute Teacher?

According to  Hillsborough County Public School Website, a substitute teacher needs at least an Associate Degree.

However, each state may have different qualifications.

What Process Does an Applicant Have to Go through to Become a Substitute Teacher?

In Hillsborough County, the process includes application, references, background check and fingerprint processing, and completing district training program.


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