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The Substitute Teacher Dilemma: How to get more jobs...

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Once you have had your first few subbing opportunities under your belt, you can't help but wonder how to get more jobs. Many school districts try to send out notifications to everyone so that all substitute teachers have an "even playing field," but you know there are certain subs that seem to be called all the time, and you want to be in that group.

First, you have to step out of your comfort zone and make friends. Classroom teachers are notorious for discussing how frigid a substitute appeared. Eat with the teachers in the lounge, or ask one of the grade level teachers where they have lunch. Tell them you just don't like to eat alone. This sounds silly, but the substitutes that stick around tend to be the ones that eat lunch with the teachers. Yes, there is a lot of negativity in the lounge at times, but just nod and add to the conversation where you can.

Second, whatever you hear another teacher say-keep it to yourself. Gossip is one of the quickest ways to ensure that you won't be called again. If you overhear it, don't repeat it. Teachers should always be professionals, but it will happen where you will hear that this one did something. Don't comment on any situation, and even if you truly believe that the teacher being talked about is a bad person-don't partake. Showing that you can be trusted is another key to showing that you are a "team player".

Third, teachers have a lot of added responsibility. Some of these added responsibilities are lunch, bus, and locker room duties. Don't be that substitute that complains about having duty. I had a substitute come in my classroom and rant for ten minutes about having to go outside on the playground. She kept repeating, It's not fair! I don't want to do it! I couldn't help looking at her and thinking; Honey, what on Earth would you do if this was your job, and you had to do my two days a week of lunch duty plus three days a week of bus duty. It did not "sit well" with me, and I made sure to put her on my do not call list. That kind of behavior allows teachers to see that you aren't in it for the kids. Yes, you have a very frustrating job-you are driving all over the place and working at a bunch of different schools, but by making comments that you don't like doing things that teachers do daily makes you seem less appealing as a substitute.

Finally, always leave the classroom teacher a detailed note of your day. Many teachers sympathize with you, and they understand how their students act so be honest. Several of my best substitutes left business cards for me so that I would remember them. I've had some leave little candy bars. The main thing I want to see when I return is that my classroom is in the same shape I left it. I also want my plans followed as closely as possible, and I want to know that despite my ornery students the substitute was able to maintain order. Nothing frustrates me more than when I have my colleagues tell me that they could hear my students through the walls, and they are pretty sure that nothing was really accomplished. Ask yourself, if you take the day off, and you come back from your sick day-how would you want your return to be-and then strive to be better than that! For more great insight contact us.

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