Most teacher absences are only for very short periods of time such as one to three days. Other times, teachers may require an extended absence due to personal or health reasons. A long-term substitute would then be needed to cover that person’s leave of absence.
There are several advantages to becoming a long-term substitute. We’ll discuss those advantages, the requirements for becoming a long-term substitute, and ways to increase your chances of finding such as position below.
For many, the biggest advantage of long-term substitute teaching involves stability. When you are on a long-term teaching assignment, you will not have to worry about when and where you might be working during that period. As such, it eliminates the need to check for open positions on a regular basis.
Having stability will provide you with a number of other advantages, including:
- Being able to know your students on a more personal level.
- Providing a steadier, more predictable income.
- Allowing you to focus only on the grade level or subject you are long-term substituting for.
- The possibility of qualifying for health insurance or other benefits, depending upon your school system.
A long-term substitute teaching job can provide you with extensive experience to put on a resume. This could be especially helpful if you are hoping to someday land a permanent teaching position.
Many school systems recognize that long-term substitutes often have more intense duties than regular subs do. For example, they may be heavily involved in creating lesson plans, holding parent-teacher conferences, and grading papers. For this reason, long-term substitutes will sometimes enjoy higher pay.
During your assignment, you can build relationships with parents, other teachers, and school administrators. These relationships can prove very useful should you ever decide to pursue full-time employment within that school system. That’s because you will have already established the fact that you are trustworthy.
Perhaps you are undecided as to whether or not a teaching career would be right for you. In that case, acting as a long-term sub will allow you to “test the waters” so that you can make a more informed decision.
Long-Term Substitute Requirements
The requirements for becoming a long-term substitute teacher vary considerably. Since these are more permanent positions, many locations will require at least a Bachelor’s degree. That degree does not always have to be in a field related to education, although having such schooling would certainly be helpful.
You may need to demonstrate your proficiency in a particular subject if the substitution would require it. An example would be when you are filling in for a foreign language or industrial arts teacher.
A few states require even substitute teachers to obtain a license. Some make testing mandatory for substitute teachers as well as regular teachers. In addition, there may be different licenses for short-term vs. long-term substitutions. If you work in one of those states, you will need to make sure you have the right type of license and have completed all the necessary requirements before applying to any jobs.
Some of the other requirements can include:
- A criminal background check, including fingerprints.
- Proof of legal residency in the state for which you are applying.
- Sex offender registry check.
- Credit or financial history check.
Some locations may only ask that you have some teaching background. In that case, you could possibly include any previous substitute teaching experience you have gained while using Sub Sidekick.
Preparing for Long-Term Substitution Roles
Remember that these openings often arise without warning, so you will probably have little time to react. As such, knowing what the requirements are for long-term substitutes can help you get ready. For example, in areas that require a degree you can go ahead and request your official transcripts or proof of graduation.
You can also prepare a resume and keep it on file “just in case”. That way, you will already be prepared whenever a job opening does come up.
Improving your Odds of Success
School systems want to know that you can be counted on to fulfill your obligation without incurring any unnecessary absences yourself. After all, the last thing they want is to worry about having to fill a vacancy that you yourself have created. Consequently, a steady employment history and good work attendance record can give you an advantage over other applicants.
Learn the procedures for posting a job so that you can better find openings. Some school districts are required to post positions in the same manner that they would any other job. Others will advertise them on substitute teaching boards such as Sub Sidekick.
Still others may make a list of preferred substitutes they can call on to help them whenever a long-term opening arises. In that case, you should find out what the requirements are for getting on the list, and be sure to update your information often so that you do not miss any calls.
Gaining Experience as a Substitute Teacher
Upon learning of an upcoming teacher absence, school administrators immediately start thinking about who they will find to help fill in the gap. More often than not, they turn to someone they are already familiar with and have confidence in. This means that if you are already working as a substitute teacher, you will likely have an advantage over someone from the outside.
A great way to get your foot in the door is to take short-term assignments first. Establish yourself as a viable substitute who can be counted on to do a great job. Once others in the school system have gotten to know you, make them aware that you would be open to any long-term substitute positions that might become available.
Let us Help you Find Openings
Here at Sub Sidekick, we make it easy to find substitute teaching assignments in your area. Download our app and you can quickly begin receiving alerts via text, email, desktop, or mobile app. We make it easy for you to accept positions and better manage your substitute teaching career. To find out more, please contact us.