Substitute teachers are generally responsible for instructing students during days when the regular teachers can’t make it to school. They usually teach in classrooms ranging from kindergarten to the twelfth grade. Since it’s often impossible to determine when a teacher will miss a day with too much time in advance, many people with the substitute teacher job description often work at multiple schools.
Some of the assignments seen by people practicing the job description of a substitute teacher can last for no more than a day, while others can last for a few months. Despite the generally chaotic schedules, the rate of employment that goes with the job description of a substitute teacher is expected to grow 6% by 2024.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries or schools where the substitute teacher job description can generate the highest levels of income are junior colleges, state government (with and OES designation), trade and technical schools, social and civic organizations, and the management of enterprises and companies.
Substitute Teacher Job Description Overview
The median salary for the substitute teacher job description was estimated at $26,830 per year or $12.90 per hour in 2015 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, according to payscale.com, the average substitute teacher salary can double thanks to additional sources of income such as bonuses and overtimes.
While the states estimated to offer the highest levels of employment to people with the job duties of a substitute teacher are California, Texas, New York, Virginia, and Michigan, those where you can find the salaries aren’t the same ones. The states offering the highest salaries for the profession are Alaska, Oregon, Hawaii, West Virginia, and California. Substitute teacher job description in California, Oregon, Alaska, Hawai, West Virginia and so on include the same responsibilities.
The substitute teacher resume job description usually refers to independent contractors who temporarily replace regular teachers. The best thing for someone hoping to make money from the profession is to sign up with several schools. Once they are on several schools’ rosters, they have far better chances of finding work.
Substitute Teacher Job Description Responsibilities
The duties of a substitute teacher can often vary from workplace to workplace, depending on what each position requires. Still, the substitute teaching job description is mostly the same throughout the line of work. Because of this, most of the responsibilities carry from one job to the next.
The most frequently met duties for the substitute teacher job description are as follows:
- Directing learning procedures;
- Accomplishing different curriculum goals and objectives;
- Following lesson, unit, and project plans;
- Making use of instructional materials and procedures;
- Determining which techniques are suitable for getting the best results;
- Following the school’s guidelines and procedures;
- Checking the attendance;
- Making sure that the classroom remains tidy and organized;
- Making sure that the blackboard gets wiped;
- Following the same rules as the regular teachers;
- Following the recommended teaching procedure;
- Ensuring a blossoming relationship between parents, students, and teachers;
- Reporting to the school office at the beginning and end of the school day;
- Picking up and returning materials;
- Following sign-up procedures;
- Creating the most appropriate classroom environment to the needs of the students;
- Making sure that the students’ interests and attention stay on the lessons;
- Making sure that the students are never left unattended;
- Performing the duties of the absent teacher (such as hall monitoring, lunchroom duty, etc.)
- Learning the evacuation routes and procedures for the classrooms assigned;
- Being privy to procedures for uncooperative or lesson-disturbing students;
- Handling disciplinary problems;
- Performing whatever duties assigned by the school principal;
- Ensuring an atmosphere of correctness and mutual respect;
- Ensuring the safety of the students, as well as that of school property;
- Collecting and correcting papers and assignments from students;
- Returning and grading said papers and assignments;
- Making sure that the students understand the grading system employed;
- Promoting a non-discriminatory attitude in classrooms;
- Leading extracurricular outdoor activities;
- Handing in reports at the end of the day;
- Making the appropriate inquiries and arrangements in relation to the following day.
The job description for a substitute teacher requires the staff member to possess the same skills and personal qualities as a regular teacher, plus a couple more. Without these, one might turn out to be inefficient enough at their job to be terminated. Of course, the position is very taxing, leaving most people with the substitute teacher job description exhausted after a full day of work.
Some of the personal skills and qualities without which someone might quickly fail at adequately performing the substitute teacher job description are the following:
- The ability to comply with both oral and written instructions;
- The ability to create a highly efficient working relationship on short notice;
- The ability to sit and stand for extended periods of time;
- The ability to form personal relationships with students on a daily basis;
- The ability to understand and follow lesson plans;
- The ability to handle at-risk and special needs students;
- The ability to discipline a classroom;
- The ability to keep students engaged;
- The ability to understand poor calligraphy;
- Highly developed classroom management skills;
- Knowing how to manage student records;
- Superior interpersonal and communication skills;
- A fondness for working with children;
- Very high amounts of patience;
- A highly functional moral compass;
- Superior memorization skills;
- Advanced organizational skills;
- A certain procedural and methodical flexibility;
- Superior levels of creativity;
- A certain degree of playfulness;
- Quick wits and reflexes;
- A certain measure of improvisational prowess;
- Not having a criminal record.
Qualifications and Training
Interestingly, the educational requirements for the substitute teacher job description vary depending on the state and industry of employment. These can range anywhere between a simple high school diploma and a GED in some states and a bachelor’s degree and a state teaching certification in others.
Some private schools and individual school districts often have additional requirements, such as background checks and tuberculosis tests. A wide range of these requirements can be provided by universities which have distinct programs made especially for people wanting to get the substitute teacher job description.
One of the most important such qualifications is for the K-12 program. Also known as ELHI, K-12 refers to the sum of the primary and secondary education grades, from kindergarten to the 12th grade. The term is used in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, India, South Korea, Egypt, Iran, and others.
According to payscale.com, very few substitute teachers reach twenty years on the job. This is mostly caused by the extremely insubstantial raises seen by people with the substitute teacher job description. A career longer than twenty years spent as a substitute teacher barely accounts for $3,000 extra.
Most people starting off as substitute teachers eventually end up either teaching full time or moving on to other, better-paid jobs. While this may sound like a pretty negative thing, it actually isn’t. The substitute teacher job description is one of the most sought-after entry-level jobs, as it offers new employees the opportunity to start off with some degree of experience.
Statistics say that 79% of all substitute teachers are women, while only 21% are men. Both genders reported similarly high levels of satisfaction with their jobs. And this was despite the low salary and the fact that 88% of all substitute teachers receive no health benefits whatsoever.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for individuals with the substitute teacher job description is estimated to grow 6% by 2024. This is despite the very high rate of job abandonment (quitting). But how can a job outlook be so optimistic despite the low salary and poor job security?
Since being a substitute teacher is a very sought-after job, the high rate of quitting is pretty much irrelevant. Despite the fact that many are leaving the occupation, others are very eager to take their place. Plus, there are plenty of other jobs which can be far more easily accessible with some experience in the field.
One of the most frequently discarded jobs in education, being a substitute teacher can be a very useful stepping stone in one’s career. While the substitute teacher job description is pretty complex and can get very stressful, it is also a very important training exercise for those interested in teaching full-time.