Substitute teaching is a remarkably rewarding and worthwhile career path for people in many different walks of life. As a sub, you get to work with children, set your own schedule, and experience many different opportunities in education. Here are our top ten reasons why you should consider becoming a substitute:
1. Set your own schedule with one of the most flexible jobs in existence
How many other jobs allow you to decide exactly how often you’d like to work? As a substitute, you pick and choose your work days. This makes it an attractive job option for many demographics of people such as college students who need work they can schedule around classes; stay-at-home parents who would like to work while their children are in school; and retirees who may be looking to supplement their income but maintain a flexible lifestyle. (Also see: 5 Types of People who Should Consider Substitute Teaching)
Beyond scheduling flexibility, substitutes also get to choose specifically which location(s), grade levels, and subjects to take on – or you can try a little bit of everything! There’s no getting locked into a role that doesn’t suit you.
2. Improve your chances of landing a full-time teaching career
In the teaching field, there’s no substitute for experience. Coincidentally, becoming a substitute will help you gain the essential classroom experience that principals and superintendents look for when hiring. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to get your foot in the door with a district by networking with administrators and other teachers, and proving your teaching skills. Principals are much likelier to hire a person they already know and trust.
3. Acquire an impressive array of transferable skills
Maybe your long-term career goals fall outside the education realm. No matter what career path you’re pursuing, substitute teaching will fill your toolbox with some highly valuable skills that are transferable to virtually any career – and life in general. As a sub, you’ll learn how to think on your feet, hone your problem-solving skills, and practice your public speaking, to name a few examples. (Also see: 10 Transferable Skills of Substitute Teaching)
4. Spice up your routine with plenty of variety
Work can hardly be called "the daily grind" when you get to experience new and exciting environments, situations, and people every single day. Between other teachers, staff, and students, you will encounter – and learn from – plenty of diverse and creative individuals. As an added bonus, subbing for many different grade levels and subject matters may help you pinpoint your teaching niche – many people are surprised to discover that their favorite age group to work with is not the one they originally had in mind!
5. Schools make for an incredibly fun work atmosphere
Offices often have the reputation of being boring and stuffy. It’s doubtful that you’ll ever feel that way about working at a school! Schools are bursting with vibrancy, creativity, hopefulness, and youthful energy. Teaching and engaging with children can help you rekindle (or maintain) your own youthful outlook on life. Not to mention, kids are seriously entertaining, and you’re certain to go home with some hilarious stories to share with your family and friends.
6. Be the most popular person at school
There is a HIGH demand for effective substitutes. If you gain the reputation as a great sub, you will quickly become sought-after by administrators and teachers who all hope you will be the one to carry on with their lessons while they’re absent. Additionally – especially if you work at the elementary level – your students will practically worship the ground you walk on. Walking through the halls will give you a taste of being a celebrity on the red carpet. Getting showered with compliments (not to mention those adorably misspelled construction paper cards and drawings) can be a real confidence booster!
7. Work days go by unbelievably quickly
When you’re changing subjects or classes all day and keeping busy with all kinds of different activities, you will not believe how fast time flies by. Before you know it, the dismissal bell will sound, and you’ll be on your merry way. And as a substitute (unless you’re a long-term sub), you’ll have no work to bring home with you and can enjoy the rest of your day.
8. Gain an insider’s view of the education system
Many people have opinions and viewpoints surrounding our education system, but working in schools gives you the insider’s view into how schools operate. Broadening your perspective in this manner may better position you to help the children in your own life and relate to their school experience.
9. Give back to your community
In our humble opinion, substitutes are heroes of their communities. Schools cannot function properly with vacancies. Unfilled positions often mean other teachers (and even administrators) must give up their valuable prep periods to provide disjointed coverage of a class. As a result, students suffer. Substitutes make sure every day is a valuable learning day for all students.
10. Make a difference in the lives of children
You don’t need to be a full-time teacher to make a difference in the lives of your students. Children need to have positive adult role models in their lives, and it only takes one moment to make a lasting impression. This, perhaps, is the best reason of all to become a substitute teacher.