Getting a regular teaching position isn’t always easy. There are many well-trained and qualified individuals who are ahead of you — ready to grab every available position such that a novice like you may not stand a chance at all. The best thing to do is to get a chance to be a substitute teacher. Here are some practical tips on how to become a substitute teacher.
Before you send in that application letter, make sure you are qualified. Having a degree in Education is the basic requirement. However, if you finished a different degree, you can add to it a certificate in teaching or a professional education diploma. Remember, you are going to teach so you must know how to do it professionally.
Be On The Lookout
Positions for substitute teachers may come any time during the year. You must always check the ads and be ready to apply any time. The most common reason for an opening for substitute position is sick leave or maternity leave of regular teachers. These leaves may range from a few days to 2 months. On rare occasions, teachers may quit the job, terminated, or be unable to teach anymore due to sickness or death. In this case, the period for substitution may be longer and your chance of getting hired for that vacated position is quite high depending on your performance.
Be Your Best
Once you have been hired as a substitute teacher, you have all the opportunity to prove yourself to be the best candidate for a regular position. If you perform well, you will be favorably recommended for future openings. However, if you do poorly you may lose your chance for life. Make a good impression on your substitute teaching stint if you want to eventually become a full time teacher.
You may want to become a teacher not only because of the job and the benefits it brings, but mostly because you love teaching. Hence, you have to show your unique personality and talent. You do not have to pretend to be someone else because your students and your supervisors will see your sincerity and accept you just as you are.
Dress appropriately. People look at teachers as models of good character and respectable image. So whether you like it or not, you have to live up to that expectation. Dress modestly and be well-groomed all the time, in and out of the school or wherever your students see you. Remember, the first visual aid you will be using is your total physical appearance.
Study before you go to class. You may not know everything about all subjects so it is imperative that you get a hold of the textbook and of the lesson plan at least a day before the class starts. Looking into the Teacher’s Manual will give you enough idea of how the class should be conducted and what to expect from the students. As much as possible, you have to know enough to preclude questions and embarrassing gaps. Also, you have to come to class early before the students do so that you can gain that psychological feel of being at home and in charge.
Be Informed About School Procedures
You may have the right training about educational principles, procedures, and related matters but you have to understand that each school has its unique system. Learn as much as you can about the school’s discipline procedures and other processes peculiar to that school even if you will be substituting for only a couple of days. This information is usually given to you the moment you are hired. If not, you can do your own research and be acquainted with the ins and outs of this new school.
Be Armed With Plan B
The teacher’s best weapon is a well-prepared lesson plan. Even before you are hired, make your waiting time productive by preparing lesson plans for each subject you will most likely teach. This will be useful especially if the absent teacher has not left a lesson guide for the substitute. Following your own lesson plan will also give you more confidence in handling both the class and the lessons.
Overall, your best training and preparation on how to become a substitute teacher largely depend on your attitude. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as, look at life as a chance to share good things and make a difference in each student’s life.
Are you ready to be a substitute teacher? Remember this is an important stepping stone for you to be a full-time teacher.