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Substitute Teacher Job Description

Rohini Mohan
A substitute teacher is expected to teach what the syllabus prescribes, ignite the intellectual curiosity of the students, and be sensitive to their individual temperaments.
Teachers are expected to be role models for their students, they are expected to be tolerant and compassionate towards each and every child in the class. Being a substitute teacher is even harder because, students often tend to be biased towards the teaching methods of their previous teacher.
Proper classroom management, following the prescribed curriculum, and ensuring that the course is put forth in an interesting and interactive manner, are some of the responsibilities of such teachers. The most important responsibility is to ensure that the students understand the content well and express their eagerness to learn further.

Job Description

  • Implement the lesson structure in time.
  • The teacher will need to maintain discipline among the students and ensure that they get to study in a positive environment.
  • To protect and respect the confidentiality of the students under his/her supervision.
  • To look after the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the students. To ensure that their safety and security is always given utmost priority.
  • To report immediately to the appropriate authorities in case of injury, illness, or indiscipline.
  • To keep a record of syllabus completed so far, for the permanent teacher to refer on her/his return.
  • To look after the school property, equipment, and belongings of the students while they are in class.
  • To lock up the classroom at the end of the day.

How to Become a Substitute Teacher

  • You will need to contact your nearest local district office and place an appointment. Once you visit the district office, they will ask you to fill out an employment form that specifically states your preference and availability.
  • Remember to carry an updated version of your resume and graduation degrees.
  • The candidates are required to have passed their bachelor's degree. Your course may be from any field and need not be related to the academic or educational field.
  • Inquire about the requirements of the schools that come under your district, such as their expectations from job applicants.
  • Some districts expect the candidate to pass the 'General Education Development Exam (GED)', while, some expect candidates to pass exams prepared by the district. It all varies from place to place, so it's better to research beforehand and prepare accordingly.
  • All types of teachers are unionized, therefore you will need to ask for a copy of the teachers' union contract.
  • It is essential that you read & understand this contract thoroughly as it clarifies the requirements for this job profile. The contract will inform as to who will become your union representatives, it states your rights, salary benefits, and liabilities as a 'per diem' employee. This is because substitute teaching is considered a part-time job by the union.
  • The other mandatory requisite is that you should not have a criminal record or convicted of a felony relating to minors.
There are two types of substitution jobs for teachers, the first is to fill-in for the previous teacher for a few days or selected days in a week or month. The second being to fill-in for the regular teacher for a longer duration.
For example, to act as the substitute while the other teacher is on maternity leave, chronically unwell, or pursuing an external masters course, etc.


The average salary may vary from one candidate to the other, depending on the educational qualification and years of experience of the person. Sometimes, such teachers are paid on an hourly basis which may be anywhere from USD 10-14 for teachers with less than 2 years of teaching profile.
Whereas, for experienced substitute teachers the per hour pay may range between USD 20-30 or more. It is also important to note that in some districts a differential is paid to graduate students and candidates who are seeking teaching certifications.
A teacher's job never ends, as they are expected to keep themselves up-to-date with the recent happenings in the world, and help shape students into responsible and good human beings.