Are you looking for a flexible job and thinking about substituting in a school near you? If you don't have a plan on how to get sub jobs, don't despair! Below are some ideas that should help you. How do I know this? Because I am a substitute teacher that would like to help guide others in this profession.
- If you can, call and make an appointment at the school(s) where you would like to sub, and ask to talk to someone about volunteering. Yes, I said volunteering. Why? Because this is a great way for the principal and teachers to get to know you. When you are having that conversation, make sure you mention that you are also a substitute.
- Be dressed professionally every time you are at the school. It's not a good idea to wear a tank top, a short skirt, a low-cut blouse, shorts, frayed or holey jeans, tons of jewelry, or heavy perfume. You will make a good impression if you wear a nice blouse or shirt, nice pants or skirt or dress, and a smile on your face. After you've been to the school a few times, you'll see what others are wearing, so you can adapt.
- When you receive a call to substitute, be ready to arrive at the school on time, or earlier if you are allowed.
- Check in at the office to let the secretary or principal know you have arrived.
- When you meet the children, be friendly but firm. Have your discipline plan ready so the kids will understand that they will not be able to swing from the ceiling while you are in charge. Most teachers have a plan in place, so use it as much as you can.
- Try to follow the lesson plans as closely as possible. You may not completely understand the subject you are teaching, so try this. Act like you know what you are doing, but let them know to look for mistakes, and then make a really obvious one. Kids, especially younger ones, love to "correct" the teacher!
- Try to get to know some of the other teachers. Eat lunch in the teacher's lounge if you can. Be visible and friendly so they will be comfortable in requesting you as their substitute.
- At the end of the day, write a note to let the teacher know how the day went and if you had to deviate from the lesson plans. Let them know of any student problems so they can be addressed.
- Be sure to straighten up the room before you leave.
- Stop by the office and say goodbye to the secretary and/or principal and thank them for calling you.
By using some or all of the techniques above, you will be a much requested sub. What experiences have you had as a substitute teacher? Do you have additional techniques that work for you?