Subbing to get foot in the door.

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Tchr, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Tchr

    Tchr Rookie

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    I have been told by many people to substitute teach as a way to get my foot in the door. What is your view/experience with this? Has it helped anyone tremendously? I put myself through school, even during student teaching with an outside, unrelated job and am nervous about possibly quitting my other job to become a substitute teacher in the hopes that it will increase my chances for getting my own classroom. Please let me know what you all think! Thank you.
     
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  3. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    It definitely helps. I subbed a lot in my hometown during my senior year of college. Even though I got hired in another district right after I graduated, subbing helped me establish connections throughout the town. In fact, one of the teachers at my former elementary school asked me to be her long-term sub when she was going on maternity leave. (I would have loved to do it, but I was only a senior in college and was student teaching that upcoming spring.)

    Subs at my school have been hired as long-term subs and for permanent positions. It won't hurt to do it!
     
  4. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Subbing didn't really help me get my first teaching job, but it helped me be ready. Of course it probably helped in the interview, it showed that I had experience in the classroom. I found it very valuable to sub right out of college for the experience in different grade levels to find where I was really comfortable.
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I subbed for 2 years and still had to move 750 miles for a job.

    Being a TA/para is a much better 'in' than subbing is. If you cannot find a TA position, subbing is better than nothing.

    Good luck!
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Is your 'other job' helping you build your teaching resume or hone your skills in the classroom?
     
  7. missml

    missml Rookie

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    As far as building my resume, gaining better classroom management skills, and gathering ideas from being in other teachers' classrooms, yes, subbing helped me in my interviews. However, I applied for a full-time teaching position at the school district I subbed at (it's small... the principal and superintendent know me) and never even got an interview. I guess it depends on the school/district. I know the school is always short on subs, so I'm thinking they didn't want to lose a sub and that's why they didn't interview me. I'm not sure, though.
     
  8. kevmic28

    kevmic28 Companion

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    Subbing is kind of a double edged sword. Some schools if they like you as a sub, wont hire you as a teacher because good subs are hard to come by. Its a hard decision to make.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I think it depends on where you are. I've only known two subs that went on to get teaching jobs. The school where I work hires about ten new teachers a year. Both of those subs started out as long-term subs doing maternity leaves, so they interviewed like regular teachers but just couldnt be hired full time right away.
     
  10. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    I was hired without subbing a day in my life, but maybe it is necessary in other markets to sub in order to get in there. From what I understand, subbing isn't much fun.
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Subbing may not always help you get a job, but it never hurts. It gives you classroom experience you can put on your resume', allows you to improve you classroom management skills (which is one of the standard questions in almost any interview), helps you establish a network of contacts that might help you find a job in a neighboring district if none are available in that district, and will also give you a chance to use classroom experiences to answer the interview question asking you to tell about a challenge you've faced and how you handled it.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In my area, unless you are a French teacher, it is the only way to get you foot in the door.
     
  13. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    My district is very faithful to good subs and hired a bunch this year. To my knowledge, only one TA has ever been hired but that may just be that the situation hadn't presented itself.
     
  14. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    I did sub for a number of years (not looking for fulltime work because my kids were young), and, ulitmately, I think it did help me to get a job because the administrators in my district were familiar with me. I have heard people mention that being a para can also be an "in", but that is not the case in my district. I can think of only one para in my district who was hired as a teacher - and it took her about nine years to get that teaching job. I think that what it boils down to is that you need to ask some questions and find out about the climate of the districts that you are considering subbing in. Do they hire paras and subs for permanent positions?
     
  15. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    This.

    There are so many teachers around that it's nearly impossible to get hired without any experience. You gain experience by putting yourself out there and subbing as much as possible in the hopes of falling into a long term sub position. If you get enough long term sub jobs, you might fall into a term contract.

    It sucks, but that's the way of it.
     
  16. Rainbowbird

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    It depends on the district.

    I got both of my contracted jobs without subbing, however, I am currently working as a LTS for most of the year in a district that is known to hire their LTSs. I have already met three teachers who started out at my school as a LTS.

    The previous district I worked for also hired their LTSs. In fact, when I went on maternity leave and the subsequently resigned to stay at home with my son, they hired my sub permanently the following year.

    My husband's school is the opposite. It is very rare that they hire subs for contracted jobs. I can't think of a time when it happened, other than one year positions. They also typically do not hire paras. A para job is pretty much a dead end in his district, but I can see from others' posts that it is not that way everywhere.

    I think you have to try to find out what the culture is like at the school you sub at. Before I accepted this job, I asked the p. if they hire subs for permanent jobs, and she said definitely. It is true, as I have met some already.

    Good luck!
     
  17. bridgetbordeaux

    bridgetbordeaux Companion

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    Aug 20, 2012

    I have subbed for several years but last year was the first year I was certified. I did sub at one school frequently, and when they had a para position open up, they asked me without interviewing anyone else. That job ended due to budget cuts so I am back to subbing. I have 2 LTS jobs lined up and feel very hopeful that when there is an opening at my school, I will be the first to be interviewed. The Principal knows I am dedicated and reliable and that I love working with students. I believe these things will help me get a job if not in my school, then at another school close by. However, I don't have to work to pay my bills, if I did I don't think I could depend on the uncertainty that comes with subbing. Good Luck!
     
  18. Tchr

    Tchr Rookie

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    Thank you for all the replies everyone. It helps to hear all different kinds of perspectives and angles!
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Although it's not a guarantee in getting a teaching position, it can definitely help. You can show that you can handle a classroom, etc. It's a stepping stone, experience in a classroom, an education related job to put on the resume, and in most cases, you have no other choice, but to sub.
    I think for a lot of people it went as subbing, long term subbing and then teaching. Either at the same school, district, or as it was a great resume builder.

    And like others said, you can learn so much from it!!! Especially classroom management skills. Lately I've been taking pictures of classroom set-ups and decorations that I like.

    As a sub, you can really shine!! I always got so surprised, when I went in, did my job as i thought as I was supposed to, and I was praised to death! Apparently subbing is not easy, and there are a lot of people out there who don't know what they're doing. You can really stand out and build a good reputation in a matter of weeks.
     
  20. Tchr

    Tchr Rookie

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    What advice would you give for a first time sub in a new school? I am probably most nervous about stepping foot into a school and not even knowing where the kids line up so I can go pick the up.

    Also, how long do you study the lesson plan before school to be prepared to teach it?

    I worked with many subs during my student teaching (over 10) I've gotten some really good advice but it still seems daunting...
     
  21. Tchr

    Tchr Rookie

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    No, it is just an office job and just helping me pay the bills. =)
     
  22. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I would say if you're not certified in a hard to fill area, it's going to be tough getting a teaching job without subbing experience. If you can't deal with inconsistencies relating to subbing, maybe get that education experience by being a TA.
     
  23. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    And the best advice I can give: make sure your classroom management skills are great. You want a reputation as a sub who won't let the kids mess with. That can be established within the first couple of days and things will be easier for you at that school.
     
  24. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    As far as subbing for a foot in the door: I've never subbed with the intention of working for that school or district, so it wasn't a big deal, BUT, if I were looking for a job at the school where I sub I would really work hard on reaching out to people and making connections. Subbing can be a very isolated job. You are alone in a room and the only people who really are seeing you do your job are the kids! You need to get involved in the school, visit with the P and the secretary (ask if they need help during prep time), ask for reference letters or observations, etc... Otherwise, it'll be the end of the year and there is no one to really say if you did your job well or not.

    New sub skills: keep your head down for a little while. Don't draw the admin's attention until you've got a groove going. Wear a watch. Can't tell you how many times the clocks are wrong. Learn some songs. Great for getting attention and killing dead time. Teach a quiet signal (or use the regular one) first thing in the morning and use it. If the P sees you in the caf using your quiet signal and the kids respond well- Bingo! You might want to meet your neighbor teachers in the morning. If they know you're there and new they will be extra helpful.
     
  25. LMichele

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    I've learned that it depends on the district. I was a permanent substitute in a district for 2.5 years. I very quickly learned that this district doesn't consider subs for leave replacements, let alone tenure track positions. I stuck with it for so long because I couldn't find anything else, even though I knew it would never lead anywhere.

    Other districts near me will absolutely put their subs into leaves & tenure track jobs.
     
  26. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    Like was pointed out, it just depends. Especially depending on your qualifications. I subbed in the same district consistently for three years. I was often asked if I could cover long term gigs and was always told about jobs that people knew were opening up.

    The enthusiasm of the conversation always turned to a frown when they found out I was in Texas Teachers ACP. Despite wanting me to come in for permanent positions due to what they'd seen of me in the classroom, the district would never hire anyone from an ACP. Good sub or not.
     
  27. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    My perspective is that it is a foot in the door so to speak. The problem is that most "doors" are pathways to nowhere, so it is a waste of your time.

    It's like spending your time (if you are single, out at a bar or social event) talking to a married person. You can be as charming and attractive as you want, but in the end, it isn't going to lead to anything.
     
  28. Tek

    Tek Comrade

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    I subbed for half a year before I got hired full time this past June.

    Subbing taught me a great deal. I had 15 sub assignments from Valentines to May 30, 2012. It kept the ball and momentum rolling.
     
  29. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't agree with this. If you're going to be a teacher, subbing will give you experience, you can perfect your classroom management skills on several group of students, get a lot of ideas (you can see how other teachers set up their classrooms, see what kind of lesson plans they make, their rules and procedures, etc) you can put it on your resume and make connections.
    You might not get hired at one school you're subbing at, but almost all teachers started out subbing, so if you're good, eventually you will be hired. Unfortunately it might take a while due to how things are, but don't discount subbing.

    You can easily stand out as a great sub and build a reputation for yourself. I finished my LTS assignment on June 30th, and July was kinda shaky, I wasn't sure if I was gonna work a lot (I had 5 days off, which was a lot). But since then, I guess all the teachers realized that I can handle all the classrooms, not just my own, and I'm pretty much booked through the end of October with a few days off here and there.
    And it worked the same way at the other district.

    You can build connections, even though you're alone in your classroom, you're not invisible. First of all kids talk. They tell others and their own teacher about you. The neighboring teachers and often the P or AP sees how you handle things. I always lined up the classes before going in and gave them a very short speech about expectations (no talking, go to assigned seat, no phone, gum, etc) This was great for 2 reasons: 1. students knew I meant business and we had a great start, and 2. All the neighbor teachers / hall monitors, who are often the P or AP noticed it. Trust me, it works ;)

    I also often visit neighbor teachers, introduce myself to them, and ask them if I can send an unruly kid WITH WORK for 5-10 minutes for a time out in his classroom if I need to. They're always open to it, and during out conversation they can see that I know what I'm doing. You have no idea how many jobs I got out of this!
    And you never know, that neighbor teacher can be one who the P listens to when it comes to recommendations.
     
  30. Purposeinteach

    Purposeinteach Rookie

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    I was a building substitute for a school where I did my internship for a whole school year and there was an open position in the district that I did not get to interview for. But I have heard from A LOT of people that taking LONG TERM SUBBING JOBS is even better than doing regular subbing or being a building sub because the schools will know that you can actually plan lessons and teach whereas being a sub, they might just know that you can follow a lesson plan instead of make one.

    When you go subbing in the schools, I would let the principal know that you are interested in long term subbing if that becomes available because then the principal will get a chance to observe you teach and hopefully hire you on for a full-time position the next school year!

    I personally know quite a few people who have gotten full time positions at schools because they have either done LTS jobs there or have done LTS jobs somewhere else and it is on their resume.
     
  31. Tek

    Tek Comrade

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    +100!!!!!

    Lin, I sure remember your posts in the sub forum this past year, as perhaps you might remember me, too.

    I started subbing Valentines 2012. I had 15 sub assignments between VDay and May 30, 2012. It was an invaluable experience as I got to make some great connections. No, the district didn't hire me (they weren't hiring, period), but I met some great teachers that I'm now keeping in touch with, and I came to enjoy K-1 grades... whereas before I never saw myself teaching it full time. Ironically, now I'm a full time grade 1 teacher... go figure! Life's funny like that.

    I also stole some great ideas I've seen teachers use. Like for K, this one teacher hid a cut-out of a worm and hid it behind cut out apples. Each apple has a number on it, and the kids call out numbers for the teacher to remove and see if the worm is hiding there. It is a fun game that the kids love, and helps them with their numbers.

    I now use that in my classroom and they love it. I have them write their guesses on a little whiteboard and they hold it up and say the number. It really keeps them engaged!
     
  32. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    All that you say may be true (is true for me as well), but I can tell you first-hand that it hasn't directly opened ONE door in my case. I certainly agree though, that it gives you some good experience, but once you've attained it--subbing is worthless (and actually detrimental to you) as a teacher.
     
  33. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Ok, but what else can you do?
    Let's say you've been subbing for 2 years, and feel that you learned enough from subbing and ready to get your own classroom. What if you don't get hired as a teacher, for whatever reason? What are you going to do? I think subbing is still good to stay in the field and be visible (unless you have another position you can fill and still stay in education).

    I know people get fed up after subbing and looking for jobs for 3-4 years, and if it hasn't happened in 6-7 years, there must be a reason. But in the beginning, it's ok. At the least a sub should be getting offers for long term subbing, and that can open doors. In the past year and a half since I've gotten my cred, I subbed just about every day in 2 districts, got one LTS assignment for 8 months, and got 2 others for 1 month, which i turned down (one just last week).
    Those look even better on a resume and you're more visible. Allof sudden you're regarded as a teacher, at least that was my experience. Even when i had a 3 week assignment, I was treated differently by everyone, the P actually hugged me :) (female P)
     
  34. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    I applied to sub 4 weeks ago. Our district uses an agency to handle the subbing, they do the background check, fingerprinting, etc. I have not heard a word yet - very irritating. I've left messages, no return calls. I know they have done at least one orientation session because I spoke to someone who went through the process. I'm guessing my district is not hard up for subs if they use such an awful agency that waits a month to contact a certified teacher to try to sub. Sure, I understand that subbing is not really needed yet, usually that starts in September, but it does take time for the fingerprinting and background check to go through.

    Just had to vent... I feel like I want to get my foot in the door and it's just constantly slammed in my face.
     
  35. HopelessTeacher

    HopelessTeacher Rookie

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    Continue refining your management & teaching skills. As someone that has subbed for 6 years, I can tell you I continue to learn. But be warned that the process is extremely frustrating. While subbing does provide good experience, I do not see any benefits in leading to any jobs (at least in the districts I work in). I apply my skills in teaching, get positive feedback, but no jobs. Sure, they hired one or two teachers, but based on what I know, no subs were hired in full time teaching positions. Furthermore, during job applications and at interviews, I am constantly told that subbing does not count as experience in jobs for teaching as well as other jobs.

    PS I may be in a different boat than you are. While I try to be aggressive about the job search process, I am shy and timid. It doesn't help in the job market we are in. The teaching field doesn't retain teachers of my type and makes me want to look for a job in a new field
     
  36. penguinpc

    penguinpc Comrade

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    I subbed for a year in the district where I ended up working. I interviewed at the school where I did a long-term job and didn't get hired, but subbing there definitely helped me get the job at another school in the same district. So it CAN work.
     
  37. Tek

    Tek Comrade

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    A note I wanted to add in for subbing.

    While I can see if someone subbed for 3+ years on, STILL waiting for that big break, how frustrating that may be. Me, I subbed for 3 months before I got my big break. So maybe my perspective would have changed after 3 years, not a measly 3 months.

    But each sub job for me was exciting. A chance to see a new classroom, new procedures (as some lesson plans can be VERY detailed), impact new students, get a feel for different grades (I got to work with K-8)... one must have a certain heart for subbing. It's a building block, and still allows you a chance to make an impact on a child that can carry him/her through the week. If your mindset is simply on the full time job, then yes, it gets frustrating. If you take it for what it is, subbing holds plenty of value, but in perhaps less tangible ways.

    Subbing helped me as it simply pushed me toward my goal of full time teaching. It kept me somewhat sharp and on my toes. You can also make some good connections. I've done everything from K to 8th grade PE. It was always a blast and a new adventure each time.
     
  38. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    I agree with you on all these points...however, you were subbing for 3 months (as you pointed out). After doing this for a few years, I can see how it can be frustrating. I think it's a great experience, but one that is hard to do for a full time job for more than a limited amount of time, depending on your personality.
     

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