How Does Substitute Teaching Work? 6 Steps for Subbing

by Jamie Goodwin | Jan 21, 2019 4:18:42 PM

Substitute teaching requirements differ by school district. In some school districts, you may be able to substitute teach before completing your degree. It can be a great way to gain experience and make some money before graduation. In other districts, you need to have a college degree or teaching license. If this is the case, you can fill your time with substitute teaching assignments while you apply for teaching jobs.

substitute teacher

If you’re thinking about becoming a substitute, you might be wondering “how does substitute teaching work?” Here are 6 steps that you should take to work as a substitute teacher.

Apply with a School District

First, you need to apply with a school district. Some districts are always hiring for substitutes, and others have too many. If you want to be assured a substitute teaching assignment every day, consider applying to several school districts.

Part of the application process involves getting your fingerprints and background check done. You’ll need to pay the fee and go to the designated location to complete this.

Gather Your Substitute Materials

While completing the application process, start gathering your materials. Get a bag that you can keep all of your supplies, so you can grab it as you rush out the door. Your bag should include lesson plans, filler activities, extra school supplies, stickers or other rewards, and personal items that you need during the day. Keep your bag in your car or by the door, so you have it when you need it.

Accept an Assignment

After getting hired as a substitute, you need to find out what the process is for accepting an assignment. Is there a website that you should visit? Is there a hotline you need to call? Will the secretary call with opportunities? Do teachers contact you directly? If this is the case, consider making fliers or business cards that you can hand out to teachers.

Contact the Teacher

If time permits and the district allows it, send the teacher an email. Ask him or her to send you the lesson plans, so you can review them before class. Also, find out if there is anything else that you should know about the class.

Review School Procedures

Review the school’s website to learn about procedures. For example, what is the discipline policy? Find out as much as you can, so you’re clear on what is expected of you when you’re in charge of the classroom.

Show Up Early

Don’t arrive at the same time as the students. You should arrive early enough to review the lesson plan, attendance list, materials, etc. Before heading to the classroom, check in at the office. Build rapport with the office staff. Ask them if there is anything happening in the school that you should know about, such as an assembly or fire drill.

Once you’re in the classroom, it’s important to stick to the lesson plans that you’ve been given. Use your substitute materials as needed to fill time. Use the experience to learn effective classroom management techniques and develop greater flexibility that you’ll need once you have your own classroom.Subscribe to the Magoosh Educators Newsletter

Magoosh Educator Brochure

Subscribe Now

Additional Reading