In the interest of not having to type this over and over I am c/p my whole schtick that I give whenever people ask me about this - by all means - please feel free to add your own helpful tips...
I thought I would share with you some of what I have done to market myself as a sub. Now, mind you, I am in NJ. Substitutes are not required to be licensed teachers (I am not licensed, but I a do have a bachelor's degree). The requirements are fingerprinting/background check and a min of 60 college credits.
Since the fourth day of school this year I have not been assigned, I think it is like five days, two of which where at my discretion. I am signed up in one district with three buildings K-6. I am told that there is a chronic shortage of subs here - most likely it is the dismal pay that is the reason. We only get $80 per day. Whatever the reason I realize that my situation may be more favorable than yours by nature. I don't know.
Here is what I do know. As a sub you are basically an independent contractor. If you want to work, you need to build your business. Waiting for someone to call you is akin to opening a business and just waiting for people to call you. Doesn't work that way. It is best to view teachers as your customers. There are four basic rules for successful self-marketing as a sub:
#1 GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. Want to know what teachers need and want from subs? Check out the subbing section of this site. There is always chatter about this over there. The gist of it is that teachers WANT YOU TO FOLLOW THEIR PLANS and tell them how it went - seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it? You would be shocked to learn how many subs feel they can just do what they want in there for the day. The tagline I put on my business card is "My Goal: Your Peace of Mind". Smile all the time, be long-suffering... NEVER COMPLAIN!! Guess why?? No one cares. Seriously. The last thing anyone wants to hear is a sub griping. Be flexible - don't have a lot of restrictions about what you will and will not do - do whatever anyone needs you to do - when you are "that" sub - they will go to you more and more...
#2 TELL THEM THAT YOU HAVE IT/MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO FIND YOU. Yes - you most certainly DO need a business card. (And a flyer if you want - but I believe a business card to be invaluable) NEVER leave home without a supply of business cards. I have run into teachers in the supermarket who have said they have seen me in the schools - do I have a card? Yes - of course I do, and I quickly hand them one. This gives them what they want, and they are impressed that I am so prepared. Include your name, any and all phone numbers to reach you, an email that you check regularly (daily if possible please, just in case) and in your case - include your certification information. I made magnets at vistaprint for the end of the year - 20 of them - they had 2009 calendars on them - I left those and a card each and every time I subbed. ALWAYS leave a card. In the beginning I left two - one for school and one for home, or one for this teacher and one for his or her friend. I also left an origami crane each time I subbed - just because I am a little dorky and believe that everyone likes to get something like that. Turns out I am right! I love walking into a classroom and seeing three or four of my cranes lined up on the desk!
#3 FOLLOW-UP. Different ways of doing this - stop by the next time you are in the building and say hello, or leave a note in their mailbox, send an email... always ask for feedback - how can you improve and ALWAYS thank them for having you in their room.
#4 STAY IN FRONT OF THEM - Similar to number three - I send an email at the end of every month to all the teachers I have subbed for that month - I WANT them to see who else I have subbed for - I thank them for having me, ask to please have me back, ask for feedback... and again, because I am such a dork, I chose a quotation about education or teachers and have a Quote of the Month at the end of every email.
I am still learning... I get new ideas all the time... This is mostly about attitude I think... Right now, if I were you, I would compose an email asking for the business - tell who you are, share your qualifications and compose an email to let them know you are out there. Include every way possible to reach you - send this email out in about a week. To EVERY TEACHER IN THE DISTRICT(S) YOU ARE SIGNED UP FOR. How do you know their email addresses?? Look at their websites... almost always a staff directory is available. Compile a list. Sure- this takes time, but it is worth the effort. In the meantime - order some business cards RIGHT NOW, today - this very minute from vistaprint - they are not pricey - they look nice... have them ready - when you are in the building have your calendar book with you all the time. I carry mine with me everywhere I go. Seriously. You never know when someone will stop you and ask you if you are available on a given day.
Include every way possible to reach you - send this email out in about a week. To EVERY TEACHER IN THE DISTRICT(S) YOU ARE SIGNED UP FOR. How do you know their email addresses?? Look at their websites... almost always a staff directory is available. Compile a list. Sure- this takes time, but it is worth the effort.
I'm sorry, but this is spam. I know that a lot of teachers would not appreciate this.
The only reason I have ever emailed a teacher was because I either a) forgot to mention something in a note or b) had another issue or concern to address
For example, one time I was subbing, a child's mother came to the school to look for her son after dismissal. The mother saw the teacher in the school and asked where he was at and if he was dismissed. The teacher then came upstairs (and I was still there cleaning up) and asked me about it. It helped because I knew exactly who the boy was (after being there for only a half day and with them switching classes) and then emailed her later asking if he heard from the mom. It ended up that the boy went to a friends house (he's old enough, but still...) She thanked me for the concern and said she would be glad to have me back (especially since the children did not get along with a lot of the subs they have had recently).
I think the best way to get jobs is to simply be yourself and be serious about your job. Teachers tend to brag about the subs that they had that were great (especially when you sub for them when they are at in-school meetings and they can see your progress when you return).
- Made business cards (which I don't really need to do anymore)
- Not after I subbed for a few yrs or so did I start emailing certain teachers/SLPs just so they'll know that I'm available & givingt them my sub # & days available.
- Just the fact that I've been a sub for a very long time. I've gained a great reputation in my 30+ school district, especially amongst the speech-language pathologists, so I get long-term jobs very regularly.
This isn't the 1st time since I've started subbing that I have my own district email as if I'm a permanent emplyee, so for just a sub to have that tells you something!
- BTW, there were times that I've subbed at more than 1 district, but I hardly ever worked at the others & the 30+ district paid more anyyway.
I emailed a lot of my teachers ahead of an assignment if it was a planned absence. They never saw it as spam and were actually pleased that they had an enthusiastic teacher in the room. Emailing the whole school, on the other hand, is bad form.
As for marketing one's self, drag yourself out and around during lunch (yes, that dreaded Lounge). Stop in to say hello to the teachers on either side of the classroom you're in. I received tons of requests for me based on conversations in the hallways before school started. Chatting with the principal on a regular basis during lunch didn't get me a job at his school but DID give me my best reference that landed me my current job.
Not spam. Spam is indiscriminate and repetitive in nature. Sending to teachers in a district you are signed up to work in, one time to let them know who you are and how you may be able to help them is neither indiscriminate nor repetitive. I would hardly call emailing 20-30 teachers at a time mass-mailing either.
By all means, use your best judgement and don't do anything you are not comfortable with. Others should consider that it is not easy to chat with personnel if one is not even in the building.
I would also like to add (and it goes without saying) that just doing your best and takng the job serious is a great way to build a great reputation.
TamiJ, I totally agree!! This is the GOLDEN RULE in subbing------all other self-advertising tactics are secondary to this.
If you are conscientious in following the sub plans, smile and treat the students and staff with dignity and respect (even though you don't always receive respect in return), and always leave the room BETTER than you found it-----then your name and good reputation WILL GET AROUND the school.
That said, in addition, it is always a good idea to give a post-it note (or business card, etc.) with your number and contact info on it to the neighboring teachers.
Uhm - yes. Of course. This goes without saying. However, many are concerned about getting in the door... can't really take your job seriously and do your best if you can't get in the door... I hear a lot of talk on this board about people who can't get assignments. I suppose I should have mentioned that it was primarily those folks I was trying to reach with this post. Thought it could be inferred, but apparently not.
I agree we should all market ourselves if we want to get regular assignments.
Observing teachers is also a great way to make yourself known and it shows that you do care about being a great teacher. That you are willing to learn from them. I am going to observe a teacher next week and I will definitely let her know that she can request me to sub for her.