A substitute teacher is on-call employee of a school. A substitute teacher may be called the day before they are needed or early in the morning on the day of the absence of the regular teacher due to illness or other obligations. Being a substitute teacher or a teacher is not a piece of cake, a substitute teacher is harder than being the regular teacher for students tend to be biased towards the teaching methods of their previous teacher. A substitute teacher is expected to be a role model for the students just like regular teachers. He or she supports the main school calendar by stepping up when the agreed teacher is unable to take their full responsibilities. The substitute teacher may or may not follow the lesson plans outlined by the full-time teacher.
Education and Training
The requirements for becoming a substitute teacher vary widely by state, country, school district, or individual school. Some may require a full bachelor’s degree and teacher’s certification, while some only require the minimum of a high school diploma, certification, and passing a criminal background check. Some states have special licensing for substitute teachers while others require the same licensing as a regular teacher. But all states require substitute teachers to have successfully passed the (GED) General Educational Development Exam or a successful completion of competency test. But being a bachelor’s degree graduate is sometimes required and will definitely give you an extra edge when applying for jobs, particularly when you studied education.
Duties and Responsibilities
Every substitute teaching job is different and you never know where your job will take you. You should be able to work flexibly because sometimes you have homework to correct and lesson plans to write. You will be responsible for lesson planning and following school curriculum. You should also follows all policies, rules, and procedures to which regular teachers are subject and which good teaching practice dictates. You are responsible for overseeing pupil behavior in class and surrounding areas and you should also be able to maintain normal classroom routines and discipline within the classroom.
The substitute teacher may or may not teach or instruct students according to lesson plans that have been prepared by the regular teacher. He or she has the opportunity to teach or follow their own lesson plan but this depends on the school policies and rules. The good thing of being a substitute teacher is you will get the opportunity to positively affect your students’ lives while getting a feel for what life as a full-time classroom teacher is like.
Qualifications and Skills
A substitute teacher shall be a person fully qualified to instruct or teach the students in the absence of the regular teacher. Be able to deal with different kinds of people, for your job is not only dealing with your students, but also working with other colleagues within the department. You should also have very good communication skills and time management skills. Some schools require experience or a bachelor’s degree for substitute teaching positions.
Substitute teaching, though often rewarding, is not a high paying job. However, it can be a great way to enter the educational system for those interested in a teaching career, and the quickest way for someone with no teaching experience to get in a classroom and start teaching students.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
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