Getting into Subbing

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Peregrin5, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Jul 9, 2017

    Hey guys. This upcoming year and possibly future years I plan to sub while I attend school for my graduate degree. My current class schedule will allow me to sub at most 2 days a week this semester.

    Unfortunately, I have very little experience subbing or knowing how to become a sub. I kind of a became a classroom teacher right off the bat and did very little subbing. I did apply as a sub when I first got my credential because my mentor teacher wanted me to be able to sub for her if she needed to leave, and didn't do so often. I forgot how the process went and most basic things about it like:

    1. Do they interview me to add me to the sub pool?
    2. If so, who will interview me?
    3. What are they looking for?
    4. How can I translate my classroom experiences into skills that they would find desirable in a sub?
    5. Anything I should refrain from saying that would be good for a classroom teacher but not good for a sub?
    6. Even though I know I'm only probably going to be able to sub 2 days out of the week for this semester, is it better if I say I am able to sub more often than that?
    7. All my experience is in teaching science and technology. How do I show them that I could be an effective sub for other subjects as well?

    Also, any good books I should read in preparation for becoming a sub? Or good tips from those who have subbed extensively?

    I imagine subbing is going to be a very different animal altogether than owning and managing my own classroom where I have the freedom to set my own structure, and the time to build relationships with students. Any tips?
  3. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

    Dec 25, 2016
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    Jul 9, 2017

    Of course you'll make a great sub! I feel like the blind leading the sighted, but I'll add what I can...

    The hiring process for subs varies a lot. For my district, it simply included paperwork and a couple hour mass training session. It didn't include an interview. Most of the training session was going over the usual HR required stuff (policies/pathogens/etc.) and about 5 minutes of actual advice for what to do in the classroom. If you were to have an interview for it, I would say that your classroom management skills are the best focus points. I only have to tell a computer system when I'm willing to work. I block out the days or times I'm not available. But, that may differ in your area.

    As a former teacher, I bet you'll find your ins to the system quickly. Simply picking up jobs, showing up on time, not sending a third of the class to the office, not complaining to the teacher in the note about little things, and being extra kind to all got me on preferred lists.

    While you cannot create in-depth relationships as a sub, a few minute chat with the students in the beginning can help convey your presence and willingness to relate and have a good day. My days are easier when I do this. I mostly sub at the elementary level despite my certification in secondary. No one cares that I previously knew nothing about the elementary level. All they care about is if I can keep control of the classroom and if I am the type to be easily trusted with the students' care. So, while they may develop a preference to book you when assignments in your subject areas come up, I don't expect any hesitation to book you in anything you're not familiar with. The coordinators will remember your professionalism more than your subject areas.

    Tips? From me? To an experienced teacher? :) Just roll with imperfections. Remember you're a stranger to the students and that can be stressful for them. Deescalate. Some odd rules I live by: For one day assignments, I'm never really sure why the teacher is out (even if the teacher next door asks and I do know). You never know when absences are best kept private. Plus, the exit doors are amnesia machines.

    Oh, and for me, personally, my bag has office supplies and pencils. I have no games or back up worksheets. You're trained really well. When in doubt, just teach something.
    Peregrin5 and bella84 like this.
  4. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Mar 19, 2017
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    Jul 9, 2017

    when someone has subbed for me, I liked knowing that what I have assigned has been done. I also like knowing who has misbehaved and who was good. So when there are written comments from the sub, I appreciate that.

    I've seen subs at my school really struggle because of a lack of classroom management. Students see subs as easy pickings and if the sub has no presence and no classroom management then it becomes a problem. I've also had times when students ask if Miss X is going to be subbing for me when I'm going to be away and could she not, because "she's really strict and makes us do work". I laugh because that's how I know the sub is "good".
    I'm sure you will be fine - you've been a classroom teacher so I'm preaching to the choir here :)
    Peregrin5 likes this.
  5. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

    Aug 20, 2014
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    Jul 10, 2017

    The answer to pretty much all of your questions is, "It depends." :) During my year of subbing, I subbed in 4 districts and they were all really different as far as hiring. If they did interview, it was very basic. How would you handle a student who isn't following directions? What would you do if there were no plans? That kind of thing. None of them asked me how often I was planning on subbing. Most of the districts I worked in were very happy to have functional subs and ALWAYS needed secondary subs so I think they'd be thrilled to have an available sub with experience in middle school and high school. Classroom management is really important for subs so I'd definitely focus on that if you do need to do any kind of interview.
    Peregrin5 likes this.
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

    Jul 19, 2014
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    Jul 10, 2017

    My advice is to be totally honest about your availability. The fact that you are going after a graduate degree after teaching full time will be more of a help than hindrance except if they like you so much that they wish you would be available for long term sub jobs. Even then, they will appreciate your dedication to finishing another degree. Because I liked MS, and could teach science, I found I worked as many days as I was willing to take on. Since your certificate will be for all subjects, don't worry - they will call you for absolutely any and all kinds of classes. If you are looking to "sample" other content, subbing will almost certainly give you that chance. I've never known a district to turn down a teacher with a certificate as a sub. Worry less, enjoy the ride.
    Peregrin5 likes this.
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    May 8, 2008
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    Jul 10, 2017

    The individual city schools that hired me as a sub did interview me, but it was basic and nowhere near as in-depth as a full-time position interview would be. If you're up to date on your background checks and the like, offer to bring copies of those documents.

    Do NOT fib about your availability. That would be aggravating to any substitute coordinator.
    Peregrin5 likes this.

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