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Tips for Preparing to be a Substitute Teacher

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Substitute teaching is a great way to make supplemental income, and if you decide you want to, you can make a living as a substitute teacher.

Once you have decided that you want to become a sub, it’s time to make some initial decisions about your future substitute teaching career!

How can you prepare yourself for substitute teaching?

A few questions to consider are:

  • How far am I willing to travel?

  • What kinds of schools do I want to sub in?

  • What age groups and subjects am I willing to guest teach?

  • Can you make a living as a substitute teacher?

When guest teaching positions pop up, they often need to be filled immediately unless they are long-term substitute gigs that are being planned out ahead of time. This means that once you decide to sign up as a substitute teacher, there will be immediate openings waiting for you. So, before looking for a job itself, you need to decide what your goals are and nail down the details.

Travel distance

If you are living in a big city, you might not have to worry about this too much unless peak rush hour times mean a 3-hour-long commute to the other side of town. In a large city, there will be plenty of nearby schools that need guest teachers from time to time.

If you live in a more remote area where you may need to travel to another city to fulfill a substitute teacher opening, you will need to decide how far you are willing to go. Take into consideration commute time, whether it’s a one-time gig, and average substitute teacher pay in your area to decide what’s worth your time!

Types of schools

If you have taught before, you probably already have an idea of what types of schools you prefer to teach in. However, if you have not taught before, you may not have a clue what you will like and what you won’t.

Do some research on different types of schools—public, private, charter, etc. Read about other teachers’ experiences in each to get an idea of what it’s like, but beware: people that choose to write down their thoughts in a review are often either extremely angry about something or extremely pleased. Take reviews with a grain of salt.

One easy way to decide which types of schools you prefer is to take a one-time guest teaching gig at each and feel it out. If you love it, start looking for more substitute teaching jobs at similar schools. If you hate it, never go back! That’s the beauty of substitute teaching—it’s very flexible.

Age groups and subjects

Picking the age groups and subjects that you are willing to guest teach is just as important as picking your preferred types of schools to sub at. If you haven’t taught before, it might be a learn as you go type of situation. Most things are worth trying once!

However, if you feel completely uncomfortable teaching a certain subject or age group, don’t feel like you need to take a guest teaching job that you’re unsure about. Substitute teacher openings fill up quickly, so save your time and energy for the openings that you really want to fill!

Have you answered these questions and decided that you’re ready to move forward? Register with us today to get started!


Ready to become a substitute teacher?

Earn up to $220/day substitute teaching on your own schedule.

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