Interview Tips for Substitute Teaching Jobs

If you are asked to interview for a substitute teaching job, you may be interested in the following tips designed to help you make a good impression.


Before the interview, you will find it helpful to go to the school web site where you will be working. Read as much as you can about their mission, philosophy, procedures, curriculum and any other general information you can find. While doing this research, jot down any questions that come to mind that you would like to ask the interviewer.

You also need to make sure your resume has the most up-to-date information, emphasizing any experience you have working with children. You should include everything, from teaching Sunday school, to volunteering for various school activities. Print out multiple copies and make sure you take them with you to the interview.

In addition, prepare a portfolio of various worksheets, lessons and games you have prepared for students at various grade levels. Doing so will show administrators that you have material ready for a hard day's work. Another document you will find valuable to take with you to the interview is a reference sheet. Include the contact information for a few professional references, preferably of people who have seen you work with children.

First Impressions

One of the most important things you can do to make a good first impression is to be on time to your interview. Educational administrators are looking for substitutes who are punctual and dependable, so showing up to your interview in a timely manner will improve your chances of being hired. You also need to dress in a professional manner and make sure you are well groomed and  you look your best.

Interview Questions

You should expect to be asked about your educational background, certification credentials, teaching experience, and what grade level and subject your prefer to teach. You should also be prepared to discuss how you handle classroom management issues. Specific questions you might be asked include:

  • Why do you want to sub at this school?
  • What makes a good lesson plan?
  • What action would you take if the classroom teacher did not leave you instructions for what to do?
  • What qualities are important for substitute teachers to have?
  • What are some of the challenges subs face in the classroom?
  • What would you do when a particular student misbehaves?
  • What leadership experience do you have?
  • Can you give me some specific instances when you have had the opportunity to work with kids?
  • What do believe makes you a good teacher?
  • What weaknesses do you have as a teacher?
  • What do you think the role of a substitute teacher is?
  • What are some of the past experiences you have had with substitute teachers?

Final Tips

Be enthusiastic during the interview because administrators recognize a positive attitude is more likely to be successful in the classroom. Try to show you have done your homework when you answer questions. Something as simple as explaining how a school's motto is similar to your life philosophy can impress administrators and show that you would fit well into their particular system.