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Substitute Teaching: How to Find a Job

After completing their education and receiving certification, virtually every teacher in a classroom today entered the workforce by becoming a substitute teacher. If you're a newly licensed teacher, you're probably eager to land your first substitute teaching gig before working your way to a faculty position. Here are 7 tips on how to find your first substitute teaching job:

#1 - Choose Your Grade Level

First you need to decide your educational focus – are you planning on teaching high school or elementary school kids?

If you choose to pursue a career teaching kids in secondary school, consider which core subjects you'd like to teach, and which subjects you'd be comfortable substituting for. For example, you may have a background of English studies and wish to teach English, but you also minored in arts or another language.

Being flexible with your subjects means you'll have more opportunities to pick up substitute teaching jobs.

#2 - Determine Preferred School Districts

Secondly, you'll want to determine which districts you'd like to work in. Most teachers will aim for jobs at schools that are close to home and then work outwards from there. Print a map of your area and the surrounding districts. Then identify the schools in those areas!

#3 - Do Your Research and Apply!

For the districts you want work in, get a hold of the contact information for the Human Resources Department and inquire about their application process. Complete the applications and submit them promptly, so you can get higher priority on the substitute teaching call list.

Some districts may delegate the hiring tasks to the schools themselves, in which case you'll have to contact each school in the district where you want to work and apply directly.

#4 - Take Advantage of Every Opportunity

When you do land substitute teaching jobs, remember that this is a great opportunity for principals to observe how you teach your class. Invite the principal of the school to meet you and evaluate your teaching methods. Make sure you give each principal a resume before you leave.

#5 - Compile a Portfolio

If you get called for an interview, you'll need to have a portfolio put together to present to them. The portfolio can include letters of recommendation from previous employers or university teachers, as well as sample lesson plans and any other material you think will give you a step-up over the competition.

#6 - Dress to Impress

Dress for a teaching position as if it was any other type of job interview, and always act professionally and with courtesy. If the staff and principal think you're a good match for their school, you'll certainly be thought of when a faculty position opens up.

#7 - Patience is a Virtue

Remember that when you're dealing with a school board, the wheels turn a bit more slowly when it comes to interviews and offers as opposed to a large corporation, so be patient. If you do receive a job offer try to answer back as quickly as you can, as many times they may be looking to fill a last-minute vacancy.

Substitute teaching is a great way to get used to working in a classroom setting and can give you valuable experience that will make you a better candidate for job openings down the road. In the meantime enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working where you want to, when you want - you'll soon be a full-time teacher and will blissfully look forward to summer break!


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