What Are the Duties of a Substitute Teacher?

Substitute teachers can help alleviate staffing problems and pitch in when regular teachers can't be in their classrooms. Read on to learn about where substitute teachers can work, education requirements and potential earnings. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Do as a Substitute Teacher?

Your role as a substitute teacher is to serve as a placeholder for regular, full-time teachers when they have to be away from their job due to illness, family emergency or other disruption. Before class, you'll meet with the school principal or other educator to review plans and schedules. During an assigned class session, your duties include taking attendance, beginning or continuing a designated lesson, collecting any previously assigned homework, supervising the classroom to prevent misbehavior and dismissing students to their next class or activity. At the end of the day, you'll complete and file an incident report or evaluation.

Where Could I Work?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that your potential employers included 13,924 public school districts and 33,740 private elementary and secondary schools as of 2007-2008 (nces.ed.gov). However, the Schools and Staffing Survey conducted by the NCES showed only .7% employment of long-term substitute teachers employed in public schools and .4% in private schools during the 2003-2004 school year.

Although figures for substitute teachers weren't available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of elementary, middle school and secondary teachers was expected to increase 13% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected teacher retirements and population growth were expected to be the driving factors behind most job openings. Opportunities in rural and inner city school districts were expected to be best, according to the BLS.

What Could I Earn?

Your salary as a substitute teacher varies by where and how often you work. According to PayScale.com, the middle half of over 300 K-12 substitute teachers claimed to make between $14,472-$38,987 as of April 2011. Those earning the most taught in California, and teachers with more than 20 years' teaching experience stated hourly earnings of $13.61-$18.83, according to the salary website.

What Education Do I Need?

State requirements vary for substitute teachers, ranging from a high school diploma to a full teaching license. Some states allow you to teach as a substitute if you've monitored a class or classes under the supervision of a teacher for a specified number of hours. You could be required to have some formal education or have completed a bachelor's degree with educational training. Verify the academic and licensure requirements with your state's board of education.

Most school districts require that you complete an orientation or training seminar. Topics in these sessions acquaint you with school district's policies, your expected job duties as a substitute teacher and resources available to help you in the classroom. Courses available in a college-level degree program in education teach you classroom management, student discipline, lesson plans and teaching strategies.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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