So you want to know how to get more jobs as a substitute teacher. Why exactly is it that some subs work every single day? Why exactly is it that teachers request them again and again? Is it their sparkling personalities? Their great hair? Does the sub fairy simply like them better than others? In order to take the mystery out of this phenomenon, let's simply think like a classroom teacher.
First off, let's address the sparkling personality. I am a classroom teacher, and I call you to sub for me. Are you polite? Enthusiastic? Flexible? All of these are really important, and show your willingness to accommodate my plans. But if you think the sparkling personality stops there, you are dead wrong. When you sub for me, and I come back the next day, my kids will tell me everything you did wrong. Trust me, they do this. They are like a troop of little spies. Namely, if you are rude or harsh with them, they will complain about it. They will tell me, in a high-pitched nasal whine, "Please, Mrs. Soandso, don't ever get that sub for us again." Unless I think my students really are that out of control (and I probably don't), I will listen to them. Now, does this mean you should let them have their way and forget about discipline? No, and no. On the flip side, if I come back to school and my kids are running rampant, I will sense that you let them slip, and now I am paying for it. The key word is balance. Be strict, but be kind. Know what every good teacher knows-- that treating students with respect is key in the classroom. Don't be afraid to treat them like real people. They are real people. Just littler ones.
The other thing I will look for as a classroom teacher is results. Did you leave me a note stating what was done while I was gone? Are assignments in order, neatly labeled? If you had extra time, did you do something helpful? Was there something you could have sorted, or cut out, or dusted off? We classroom teachers are pressed for time, and when you do these little things for me, it is like a gift. It makes me smile. I am instantly ingratiated toward you for it.
As for the sub fairy, she actually exists. And yes, she does like some subs better than others. Her main HQ is the front office of the school, from whence she exercises her magical powers of calling the subs she likes best. Why does she like them? They are easy to reach, get back to her promptly, and never turn her down unless they already have a gig that day. They never say "Well, I was planning on doing my Christmas shopping," or things like that. They arrive for their duties a bit early to get classroom keys, and they are always gracious and polite. They don't forget to say "thank you".
As you can see, there are a number of little things you can do that will set you apart from the competition. I am sure, if you think about it, you will realize there are many other ways to make yourself a better sub. So take a moment, and think like a teacher. If you were the classroom teacher, what would make you really prefer one sub over the next?
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