Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JAN. 24, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Become a Substitute Teacher and Why You Should Try It

Life after college doesn’t always fall into place like you thought it would. Companies might not immediately start knocking on your door. You don’t always find yourself in the fast-paced career world you’ve envisioned for the last few years. However, there are plenty of options out there for new grads looking for a flexible, yet rewarding, job to have while searching for your career-making one. One option that you may not have considered is being a substitute teacher. You might be thinking: Who? Me? You’re more qualified than you think, and here’s all you need to start.

1. 90+ College Credits. That’s right, in the state of Michigan, all you need to start subbing is 90 or more college credits. In any subject. Check your state’s requirements to see if you meet them yet. 

2. Apply to a substitute company. School districts select subs through companies that hire them. So, to become one, all you need to do is apply to a substitute teaching company, such as PESG, pass the background and fingerprint check, and take one of their training seminars. This isn’t one of those jobs that you may or may not get after applying. This one is guaranteed as long as you fulfill the requirements.

3. Develop or research basic classroom management skills. As a teacher, it is of VITAL importance that you know how to silence a classroom and manage student learning. Good classroom management is a skill, and is very necessary in the classroom if you want to make sure your students are learning, and that you stay sane. Classroom management is as easy as being firm and assertive until students know you mean business. As a sub, students are always testing you to see if they can pull the wool over your eyes. All you need to do is show them how capable you are at keeping things in control- whether you’re a trained educator or not. Many classroom management techniques and helpful hints can be found at edutopia.org.

4. Have a ‘bag of tricks’. As a substitute, you’re coming into a classroom and trying to pick up where the teacher left off. 9 times out of 10, the students’ regular teacher will leave you with detailed plans, a daily schedule, and an explanation of every activity you will be teaching that day, along with the necessary materials. However, sometimes you can walk into a classroom left with very little to no plans, and not enough to do with the students to last all day. This is where your bag of tricks comes in. Having extra activities, books, games and materials is like studying really hard for an exam. These things help you feel prepared and confident enough to walk into any situation and handle things very well. If the regular teacher left you with nothing, you have books to read to the students, worksheets for them to work on, and educational games to play as a class. A bag of tricks is the difference between you having a great day or a horrible one. Trust me.

5. Networking Skills. Going into a new school building every day, you will meet tons of people. Even if you aren’t looking to make teaching a lifelong career, building relationships with people can lead to great new things. You never know who might have a family member or a friend working in the field you’re looking to get into, and if you make a great impression, it could lead to your dream career path.

Being a substitute teacher is a great job to have right out of college. There is no commitment because you make your own schedule and can move on to something else whenever you want to. You can either choose to take jobs at schools or not to. The ability to make your own hours is extremely beneficial to someone who is just looking for a job to make some money until they find the one they went to school for. Look into the requirements for subbing in your state and I think you’ll be surprised how easy and rewarding it can be.

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