Students try to stay awake while a substitute teacher teaches

How to Turn Substitute Teaching into a Career

Substitute teachers are always in high demand. Regular classroom teachers are essential personnel who report for eight hours each day, but they still have to face the same life-altering events as everyone else: sickness, bereavement, maternity, and even jury duty. The result is an ongoing need for substitute teachers. Substituting is a wonderful way to make an income. The money is guaranteed, sometimes with generous hourly rates depending on your background and training. The best part is that you are in control of where and when you want to work. So how can you make a career out of substitute teaching?

Start Your Brand

When you are ready to start, prepare your application packet with the required documentation, but also include a business calling card, a sheet stating your style and philosophy, and a calendar showing your average weekly availability. All schools keep a list of substitutes and their available days listed next to their names. If you are starting out, start big with 100% availability (you can choose your days later). Also, pay for your own background check to save time. You can do it online. It costs anywhere from $7 to $30, depending on which service you select. It is always a good idea to keep your background check always updated and ready to be supplied as needed. That will put you one step ahead of the rest.

Power-up Your Resume

List any training or experience working with children and adolescents, and state that on your resume under "job related skills." List any technology skills; you may have more than you think. Lastly, include facts about yourself related to school subjects. You can list those under "job related skills" too. For example, you can say that you are an "art aficionado," or a "fan of young adult literature." Talk about any experiences coaching sports, or even doing something special for children, whether it is baking cupcakes for a church event or donating money to a worthy cause. Everything counts toward building "you" in the eyes of a potential employer.

Build Your Brand

If you plan to make a career out of substituting, you must let your presence be known. This means always taking calls for jobs, showing up on time, building your own rapport with the students and staff, and following the plans that the teacher leaves. If you build a unique style, are flexible, and show good organization skills, the chances of getting called back are higher.

Build Your Own Substitute Teacher Kit

This is your professionally made basket of teaching goodies, ranging from rewards for students, ideas for games, and even worksheets of essential skills for different grade levels. This is important because a time will come that you will get called to cover for an emergency leave, and the teacher may not have a substitute teacher file ready.

This is your time to shine! Show your creativity and professionalism and get ready to work today!

Last Updated: April 15, 2015