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How to Get a Job as a Substitute Teacher

Students in Classrooms at UIS

The question "how to get jobs?" especially as a substitute teacher is often fraught with anxiety and stress. Going to interviews, meeting your prospective boss, and seeing the classroom brimming with students is somewhat daunting. Your primary focus needs should be on two things: your boss, and the kids that you are teaching. For your boss:

  • Dress well for your interview
  • Be prepared for any question
  • Be assertive

First impressions are always important especially during a job interview. Your future boss is looking at a prospective employee. Make sure to sit with your back straight, smile, and be approachable. Your future boss will likely ask you a series of questions that he or she deems appropriate for the job at hand. Make sure before the interview that you draw up a battery of potential questions related to your field that your boss may ask you, and drill yourself, or have a friend help! This will make your interview go much more smoothly and show your boss that you have come fully prepared. Being assertive is important, especially at the end of the interview when your future boss asks whether or not you have any questions. Don't be afraid to ask things like: "What is the age range of the children I will be working with?" "How much will I be making hourly?" "What do you think is the most difficult aspect of this job?" 

I can almost guarantee that the answer to this last question will fall along the lines of patience. Any good teacher will tell you that kids require a lot of patience. 

For the kids you will be teaching:

  • Be open 
  • Engage them 
  • Make them feel like your attention is with them entirely

By being open, you are more receptive to their interests. This will help foster a better teacher/student dynamic and establish trust. Through this, you can better engage with your students by even applying their interests to their schoolwork (if the interest is appropriate/applicable for the classroom).

The last bullet point is often a difficult one, especially if you have a full classroom. Of course it will depend on the age range of the students you are teaching; however, make a point to address each student. Encourage them, tell them they are doing a good job, help them if they ask for it, or simply observe. If you are new, the students might feel somewhat uncomfortable, try to get a feel for the overall classroom setting and ease in with music, introductions, or group work. 

Being able to single-handedly run a large classroom is impressive, and keeping a level head is important, too. Keeping these things in mind, your future boss will surely see your potential as a substitute for his or her classroom and call you with a job offer! 

Best of luck to our readers. Is there something you find particularly special about substitute teaching? Let us know! 

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