I LOVE being a Substitute Teacher!
This year, I made a choice not to take a teaching contract, and to substitute teach instead. This choice was made for several reasons, which I will talk about more in a future post.
Two years ago I made the same decision, and have learned A LOT from my time substitute teaching, that I wanted to share with you!
This post will be part of a series called “Sub Tips,” where I will share some of what I’ve learned from substitute teaching, and tips to help out new subs, classroom teachers, or those looking for new ideas!
1) BUSINESS CARDS!
I can’t say this enough to fellow subs, who mention that they aren’t getting many calls or booking many jobs.
These are mine:
I keep them simple (the blurred part is my phone number), easy to read, and I include my photo.
How many subs do you think leave their cards with teachers? Adding your photo allows them to connect you to the card, and remember who you are! I have had MANY teachers tell me they really appreciate that I did that, and they are more likely to call me because of it.
You’ll see in ALL my other tips, that business cards help facilitate in so many ways!
2) GET FRIENDLY WITH THE SECRETARY
When a school is stuck and scrambling to find someone, it’s generally the school secretary that will be calling. Maybe you’re already on a list of available subs, but you want to be the one getting called! If a school calls and you’re not available for the day, call them back anyway – it’s polite and they will appreciate it.
Check in and say hello when you arrive, be friendly, and ask simple questions that won’t take too much time out of their day – they are generally the busiest in the school! At the end of the day, make sure to check out and leave one of your business cards.
3) EAT LUNCH IN THE STAFF ROOM
Eating lunch in the staff room gives you an opportunity to connect with other teachers, in an informal way. My first time in a staff room/teacher’s lounge I generally observe and listen for a while, before making any comments, and then slowly get myself into a conversation. Sometimes the staff are just super friendly, and introduce themselves and include me right away!
I always leave some business cards in the staff room, generally on a bulletin board – I clip them with a binder clip and hook them on a push pin, so people can take as they need!
4) TALK TO OTHER TEACHERS
Say hello, introduce yourself, ask questions – don’t be shy! Staff members in the school want to know who you are, and what you’re doing in the school. Teachers generally like to be helpful, though as mentioned for secretaries, remember that they too are busy! After I’ve had a nice conversation with someone, I usually pass by their classroom later in the day and give them my business card.
5) LEAVE A NOTE
(Most) teachers want to know what happened while they were gone – be sure to leave a detailed note! Let them know about behaviours, what work was done, how it went overall, etc. ALSO leave a business card! They may not have your contact information, depending on how you got booked, or may want to pass it along to a colleague.
6) CONNECT with OTHER SUBS
Believe it or not, we’re all on the same team! Some of the work I’ve gotten has been from fellow substitute teachers, passing along my name when they were not available. I also do the same for them – if I meet other subs while in a school, I ask for their contact and mention I will pass their name along if I’m asked and already booked.
I hope you found these tips helpful – if you did, feel free to share this post!
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!