Becoming a Substitute Teacher

If you enjoy working with children, but want a flexible schedule, you might want to consider becoming a substitute teacher. The first step in getting a job as a sub is to contact the school(s) where you are interested in working. If it happens to be a private school, then you will need to find out what qualifications you need in order to substitute there. If you are interested in working at a public school, then you will probably need to contact the school district to see what its policies are for substitutes.


Some educational institutions will want you to be a certified teacher before they will hire you as a substitute. Others will only require a Bachelors degree in order to consider you for a substitute position. Schools that happen to have severe shortages of substitutes available might even hire you if you have an Associate’s degree or a specified number of college hours, even if you didn’t finish your schooling. However, they may ask you to be actively pursuing your higher education degree before they allow you to apply.


Besides your academic qualifications, you need to have other qualities in order to succeed as a substitute teacher. One of these qualities is patience. If you think about what a substitute is expected to do, you will realize that you are going to be constantly challenged by youngsters who want to see if they can get away with misbehaving and not doing their work while their regular teacher is gone. Substitute teachers also have to like kids. Children will sense immediately whether you like them or not, and you are much more likely to get their support and cooperation if you have a genuine affection for them. It also doesn’t hurt to have a good memory so that you can learn the names of the kids quickly because in order to effectively discipline them, you need to call them by name.

Getting the Job

In order to get a job as a substitute, you will probably need to submit a resume and fill out a job application. Just make sure that you list everything you can think of that is related to working with young people. Include things like babysitting, tutoring, coaching, teaching summer camps, being a lifeguard, etc. Of course it is important to list any training or teaching positions you have held as well. When interviewing for your substitute teaching position, make sure to emphasize the fact that you are dependable, flexible, and have a positive attitude as well as a helpful spirit since these are key components they will be looking for in order for you to be a successful sub. Schools need substitutes who will show up when they are supposed to work and who they can call at the last minute when one of their teachers calls in sick. Also it’s important to be positive, especially around kids, who often pick up on your mood and attitude. In addition, it’s crucial to really want to help children learn and succeed because then you realize that what you do really matters and that you are making a difference in the world. Although substitute teaching can sometimes be a thankless job, it is definitely a career that will continue to be in demand, and there are plenty of opportunities for people who are interested in pursuing this job path.