Start Substitute Teaching: How to Become a Sub, Requirements, Salary

Swing EducationClassroom Management, Teaching StrategiesLeave a Comment

A substitute teacher leads a math lesson.

What is Substitute Teaching?

Substitute teachers cover classes in schools when the full-time teacher is away. As a substitute teacher, you can expect to have flexible schedules, work in a variety of classrooms, and have the important responsibility of educating students. Here’s what you’ll experience on a typical day.

Check out these 10 questions to ask to see if substitute teaching is for you, or take this interactive quiz.

Why Become a Substitute Teacher?

Substitute teaching offers flexibility, compensation, and the ability to make an impact. Becoming a substitute teacher can lead to an extremely rewarding career. It can be a good fit for individuals at many stages of their careers, like parents returning to the workforce, as an encore career, or as a great bridge job out of college. We think there are many good reasons to start subbing!

How do I Get Substitute Teacher Qualifications?

Many states have their own sets of requirements to become a substitute teacher. There’s no single, nationwide credential to start substitute teaching.

(If you’re thinking about subbing in California, retrieving your old SAT scores might be the easiest way to obtain your substitute teaching permit. An alternative is to take the CBEST.)

How Do I Get Hired as a Substitute Teacher?

Substitute teachers can can teach directly for a school or district, or you can work with a company like Swing Education that connects you to many schools and districts in your area. Pay rates, salaries and other specifics often vary by region.

What to Do When You’re Subbing in a New Classroom

Making a good first impression is an important part of succeeding as a substitute teacher. That starts even before you leave the house and the students arrive for the start of the school day. You’ll want to enter a new school with the right supplies and strategies to thrive.

How to Handle Unexpected Situations

Although schools will do what they can to support you, substitute teaching can be a bit unpredictable. The good news is that there are strategies to make the best of the unexpected — like if you find yourself in a challenging classroom environment or if the substitute assignment isn’t clear.

How to Succeed in the Classroom

Working with students in the classroom is at the very core of your job as a substitute teacher. You’ll want to have a plan to stay positive and support learning, even in challenging environments and busy classrooms.

Start strong by having a plan for the first 10 minutes of class, and set proper expectations from the get-go. Having a plan for instances when the lesson ends early can also be helpful.

Resources for Outside of the School Day

The final bell doesn’t mean the end of your opportunities as a substitute teacher. From health insurance and tax planning to professional development, there are resources available to help.

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