Career Development

Substitute Teacher Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Substitute teachers help fill in for full-time teachers when they're on vacation or out sick, or when they're filling in for another teacher. Substitute teachers usually work part-time. They fill in for a day, a week, a month—whatever the school needs.

Substitute teachers help fill in for full-time teachers when they’re on vacation or out sick. Substitute teachers usually work part-time. They fill in for a day, a week, a month—whatever the school needs.

Substitute teachers don’t usually have a classroom of their own. Instead, they move from classroom to classroom, helping out with lessons. Substitute teachers may be asked to teach any subject, depending on the needs of the school.

Substitute Teacher Job Duties

Substitute teachers are responsible for the following:

  • Act as a mentor to students who are transitioning from one teacher to another
  • Teaching an approved lesson plan based on the current school year’s curriculum
  • Provide social support for students who are having difficulty with peers or other aspects of school life
  • Maintaining order in the classroom by monitoring students, responding to behavioral issues, and enforcing rules
  • Assist with administrative tasks such as grading papers and checking attendance records
  • Communicate with staff members to ensure that all activities are scheduled efficiently and effectively
  • Set up and take down classroom materials and equipment as needed
  • Participating in professional development activities to ensure they are updated on classroom trends, educational techniques, and new teaching materials

Substitute teachers often play an important role in the lives of children. When they step into a classroom for a day or two, they’re often responsible for teaching kids how to be successful learners.

Substitute Teacher Salary & Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that, as of May 2020, the median annual wage for substitute teachers is $29,370. As is the case with other jobs, the highest earners are generally those who have been in the profession for a long time. Bear in mind that these figures may only apply to the standard 10-month school year, which most substitute teachers work.

The demand for substitute teachers is projected to grow by 4% over the next decade. This is due to increased funding for education programs and an increased student population.

Substitute Teacher Job Requirements

In order to become a substitute teacher, you need the following requirements:

Education: Most school districts require at least a bachelor’s degree, but some prefer candidates with a master’s degree in education. Some states also require teachers to have a teaching certification or a degree in a specific subject area.

Experience: Experience can be an asset when seeking employment as a substitute teacher. However, many employers are willing to train the right candidate.

Training: Most employers provide training on the job so that the substitute teacher will know how to handle different situations. Some employers require substitutes to take online classes on how to teach specific subjects, such as math and science.

Substitute Teacher Skills

In addition to education and other requirements, candidates that possess the following skills may be able to perform more successfully in the job:

Communication skills: Substitute teachers must be able to communicate effectively with students, parents, and school staff.

Teaching skills: Substitute teachers must have a solid understanding of classroom management techniques and the ability to engage students in learning.

Adaptability: Substitute teachers must be able to adapt quickly when entering a new classroom environment.

Resourcefulness: Substitute teachers should be able to work independently and use resources such as online materials, library books, and video materials for lessons when necessary.

Respectful attitude toward others: A substitute teacher’s primary responsibility is helping students learn; therefore, he or she should maintain a respectful attitude toward all individuals encountered during the day—students, fellow teachers, administrators, custodians, cafeteria workers—and treat them with courtesy at all times.

Substitute Teacher Work Environment

Substitute teachers typically work in elementary and secondary schools. Some may work in daycare centers, or in other facilities that provide child care.

Substitute teachers are required to have a degree of flexibility, as they must be able to work in any classroom, and may be required to teach any subject. They must also be comfortable with children, as they will be working with children of all ages.

This job can be stressful, as there is no job security. There is also time pressure, as substitute teachers must be able to work quickly and efficiently. Substitute teachers are also required to work with a variety of people, including administrators, teachers, and students.

Substitute Teacher Career Advancement

If you’re a substitute teacher who excels in the profession, you may have the opportunity to become a permanent hire. If not, there are many other options for advancing your career path. To provide a valuable service to schools, you could become a classroom aide, a curriculum analyst, or a reading specialist.

Substitute Teacher Trends

Here are three trends influencing how Substitute Teachers work. Substitute Teachers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Increasing Need for Flexibility

The ability to adapt to changing conditions is becoming increasingly important in the education profession, as schools and students become more diverse.

A growing number of schools are requiring substitute teachers to take online training courses that focus on the needs of diverse students and classrooms. In addition, as teachers face greater pressure to improve student outcomes, they will need to rely on support staff such as substitutes who can help them adjust their methods and better teach children with different learning styles or backgrounds.

Increasing Focus on Collaborative Learning

Educators are increasingly focused on collaborative learning, which involves students working together to solve problems. This is in part due to the fact that it is more engaging for students than traditional methods of instruction, but also because collaborative learning can help students establish a sense of community with their peers, which can reduce bullying and teach social skills that are essential for success.

Increased Focus on the Arts

Arts education is becoming increasingly important in schools as it helps students develop a wide range of skills that can be used in a variety of career paths.

For example, in addition to teaching math and reading, elementary school teachers are increasingly incorporating arts education into their lesson plans, which is creating more demand for substitute teachers who have experience working with children in this area.

How to Become a Substitute Teacher

1. Planning Your Career Path

Becoming a substitute teacher is an excellent way to gain experience in the education field while keeping your schedule flexible. Substitute teachers often find work by contacting local school districts directly, or they can work with agencies that specialize in recruiting for schools.

If you are interested in this career, it is important to determine if you prefer to work in elementary, middle, or high school settings. Also, consider whether you want to work with children or adults, as well as what your expectations are for an average day. These factors will help you choose the best educational institution to apply to.

2. Writing a Resume

The best resumes for substitute teachers emphasize their ability to handle a variety of situations and challenges. It’s important that you include specific examples of how you handled various situations. The more examples you can provide, the better.

You may also want to include any awards or recognitions you have received. These can help demonstrate your effectiveness as a teacher. In addition, be sure to highlight any relevant certifications that are applicable for this position.

3. Applying for Jobs

Start by contacting local school districts and asking them for any available job listings. When applying, it is essential to highlight any relevant experience you have in the field; if you don’t have any experience, emphasize the fact that you are enthusiastic about learning and teaching.

4. Ace the Interview

Before the interview, research the school and learn about its history, mission statement, and current events. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your educational background as well as any experience you have had with children. Be prepared to show that you are familiar with classroom materials such as textbooks and art supplies. It is also important to be a good listener in order to respond appropriately to student questions or concerns; if possible, have some suggestions for activities that could occupy students during your class time.


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