A substitute teacher takes over the class when the regular teacher is absent due to illness or attendance at professional development events. You can virtually work full time in this capacity and often teach in a different class or school each day. To get hired for this position, you do have to be a certified teacher. This means you have to hold a Bachelor’s degree, graduate from a teacher preparation course and pass the state certification exam for a specific grade level or content area. This certification may limit your access to all the substitute positions that many be available in your region, so it would be in your best interests to hold as many teaching certificates as you can.
Although you do have to follow the same procedures as a full time teacher in getting hired, there are many advantages to working as a substitute teacher. You can pick and choose the schools and grades you want to teach. You can also choose the region in which you teach. You do have to submit an application to a school district and provide your fingerprints, background check and police check. However, if you get a call to teach and you have plans for the day, you can refuse the offer for work. In addition, if you do not have a good teaching experience in one school or one particular class, you can opt not to take any work for that school or class again.
Taking work as a substitute teacher is one way to ''get your foot in the door'' if you want to have full time employment as a teacher. There are many times during the school year when a teacher is off for an extended period of time, such as in illness, for maternity leave or for educational leave. As a substitute, you can get one of these term contracts and gain much needed experience for your resume for future applications. When you do a good job teaching in a class, the teacher and the principal will recognize that you are a “highly qualified” and “effective” teacher. Therefore, your name will be at the top of the list when any job openings occur.
There are various methods by which school districts will hire you as a substitute teacher. Some districts coordinate the substitute jobs from the main office and in other districts calling in substitutes is the responsibility of the school administration. In either case teachers can request a certain teacher to replace them. Therefore it would be in your best interest to get to know the regular teachers in the district and let them know that your name is on the substitute teacher list. Visit each school to introduce yourself to the principal, bringing along a copy of your resume. This way the principal will recognize your name and call you for work.
You can also volunteer at a school to try to get hired as a substitute teacher. This could include volunteering to help out in the library, for events in classrooms or extra curricular activities. This will help you be recognized as someone who is willing to donate extra time and as a person who would be a great asset to the staff.