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The surprising benefits of substitute teaching


"Good morning—we need a substitute at the high school for French. Interested?  Need you there by 7:15." Another day as a substitute teacher begins! High school French today, second grade yesterday—the continual changing setting of students and subjects is a popular and consistent benefit of substitute teaching!

One of the most popular benefits of substitute teaching is flexibility. Substitute teaching offers the opportunity to work in a variety of educational settings (from a kindergarten classroom to a high school physics lab) as a professional. This benefit is especially appealing to those who are considering a career in education or working with youth and children. It gives you the opportunity to "test the waters" and learn how to manage and teach a variety of subjects with  different age groups on a daily basis. From a new college graduate to a mid-life businessperson changing careers, flexibility of subjects and students is a major appeal.

Flexibility also gives you the choice to accept or decline invitations to teach on a given day. Do remember, however, that the more often you say "yes, I'll teach" will provide more opportunities in the classroom. And that's your goal—teaching and interacting with students in the classroom as often as possible!

Another benefit is the rapport and networking that you build within the various schools or districts where you teach. This is a benefit that many regular classroom teachers don't get to enjoy when they remain in the same building for a school year. But substitutes enjoy networking and building rapport with the administrators, secretaries and teachers of several schools. This is to your benefit when or if you apply for a specific opening as a classroom teacher. The more positive visibility and professional connections that you have help!

Another benefit in this field is continuous exposure to a variety of fields and subjects. Teaching as a substitute exposes you to all sorts of courses you might not otherwise consider. Imagine that you have  said "yes" to teaching trigonometry and you walk in dreading it due to high school memories of sleeping through it and earning a bad grade. Yet by the end of the day, you enjoyed it! Walking in as a teacher and effectively carrying out the lesson plans gave you the chance to have another look at a subject you had mentally discarded as "useless". Engaging students in the subject and teaching them to apply it helped to reshape your thinking.

But walking into a class where you know about the subject and enjoy it is the best benefit for substitute teaching. When you present your knowledge and expertise in a way that is not the same as the regular classroom teacher, watch how the students take notice! It is inspiring to see how your knowledge and passion about a subject resonate with the students. And when the students have learned new (and correct) information about the subject, you know that you will get another call back! Teaching a subject that you enjoy deepens your knowledge for it as well as keeping you up-to-date with the latest in the field, while teaching an unfamiliar subject (or dreaded topic like trig) exposes you to new information! That's the most enriching benefit of substitute teaching.

Being a substitute also keeps you in touch with the current trends in education and testing. Trends in education change rapidly. Being a substitute gives you the opportunity to see how various classroom teachers shape their lesson plans to incorporate the trends. This is a practical benefit to keep in your "bag of teaching tricks". When teachers and administrators know that you feel comfortable with current trends in teaching, you build your reputation as a stronger substitute which means more teaching!

Being a substitute teacher is invigorating because the field of education is constantly changing. Exposure to different aged students and diverse topics to explore and study keeps the life of a substitute teacher fresh! Are you ready to enjoy the benefits of substitute teaching? Ready to enjoy the flexibility and learning about new trends in education? Ready to impact the classroom environment with your abilities to teach? Please contact us for more information so that you can reap the benefits of substitute teaching! 

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