Thursday, July 23, 2015

Subbing 101: How to Get Started Substitute Teaching

Substitute Teaching 101

Hey all! Today I want to talk to you about getting started substitute teaching. Different schools/districts have different requirements and processes to go through, but this is what I have to share based on my experience. Your mileage may vary!
How to get started as a Substitute Teacher

First thing's first: find the district you want to work in and scope their website, usually in an EMPLOYMENT or HUMAN RESOURCES section, for info about becoming a substitute there. Admittedly, not all district's sites are super user friendly, but this is probably where you should check first. Here they should have either a link to an application, an outside website such as EdJoin, or a person to contact for more information. Once you get there, you'll be able to find out what the requirements are.
Substitute Teaching Requirements for LAUSD
These are the subbing requirements for the Los Angeles Unified School District, 2nd largest school district in the nation.
In my area, all the schools require that you have a Bachelor's degree of some sort. This may vary state to state, but that has been universally true at all the districts I have checked here in California. Your bachelor's degree doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with teaching, but you do have to have a bachelor's.

You might have to take a test or multiple tests to be eligible to sub in your area. Here in California, most districts require you to have taken the CBEST – the California Basic Educational Skills Test. This test shouldn't be too challenging, but I think it's always a good idea to skim through a prep book, even if it just means chilling at your local Barnes and Noble for an hour and flipping through.

Next, in CA, you need to have either a teaching credential or what's called an emergency credential. Teaching credential programs are available through all sorts of different colleges and universities, and they usually last a year or two. If you're just looking to test the waters and see if teaching is for you, getting an emergency credential and subbing for a short while can be a good jumping off point.

Find Jobs – Next you need to find substitute teaching jobs in your area. The first place I would suggest looking, as I suggested earlier, is the district's website. Different districts have different ways to apply, and the best place to get this info is straight from the horse's mouth. Another great place to check is On EdJoin, you can search all sorts of teaching jobs. Some key words are substitute or guest teacher. A lot of my local districts are referring to subs as “guest teachers” which I think makes it sound a little more friendly, so if you get stuck looking for “substitute” jobs, make sure to search for “guest teacher” positions as well.

Once you've met all the requirements and applied, you're all ready to go! Your district/school will notify you if you've gotten the sub job (my local districts don't require an interview or sample lesson for subbing) and will give you more information about how to check for jobs and whatnot. You'll get to do some exciting paperwork like W4s, read through a few handbooks, and depending on the district, sit through a substitute teacher orientation. These will help familiarize you with the school district and the sub management system and give you a chance to ask any questions you may have.

Good luck on the job hunt! Stay tuned for posts on what it takes to be an excellent sub!

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