11 Things Substitute Teachers Can Do to Get Asked Back

Building a Positive Reputation as a Substitute

One of the keys to success for substitute teachers is to build a positive reputation at a school. Teachers who like a particular substitute will ask for them by name. Substitutes with the best reputation are called first for choice assignments like long-term substitute positions. Therefore, substitute teachers need to take proactive measures to build this sort of reputation. Following are eleven actions that substitute teachers can take in order to get asked back over and over again.

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Answer Your Phone Professionally

Portrait of Smiling Substitute Teacher
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You will be getting called early in the morning, often at 5:00 AM. Make sure that you are up and ready. Smile before you answer the phone and speak professionally. It is important to answer the phone even if you are not going to be able to substitute on that day. All of this makes the job of the substitute coordinator easier.

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Be Kind to the Substitute Coordinator

The substitute coordinator has a tough job in many ways. They are up quite early to get calls from teachers who will be absent. Teachers who are not prepared might give them instructions to relay to the substitute teacher. They then must arrange for substitutes to cover their classes. While it is a given that you should be kind to everyone at the school, you should go out of your way to be cheerful and nice to the substitute coordinator.

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Know the School's Policies

It is important to know each school's particular policies and rules. You should make sure you know any procedures that need to be followed in case of emergencies. You might be teaching during a tornado or fire drill, so make sure to know where you need to go and what you need to do. Also, each school will have its own rules on things like tardies and hall passes. Take the time to learn these policies before you begin your first assignment at each school.

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Dress Professionally

Professional dress is necessary, not only to make a good impression on the staff but also to let your students know that you are confident and in control. Go with the belief that it is always better for people to wonder why you are overdressed than to question why you are underdressed.

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Be Early to School

Show up early. This will give you the time to find your room, familiarize yourself with the lesson plan, and deal with any issues that might arise. If no lesson plan is present, this will also give you time to come up with your own lesson for the day. Finally, you can have a few minutes to collect yourself before the day begins. Realize that being late will leave a terrible impression at the school.

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Be Flexible

When you arrive at the school, you might be faced with a different situation than what was explained on the phone. Other teacher absences might have caused the substitute coordinator to change your assignment for the day. Further, you might be asked to attend a pep rally, participate in a fire drill, or take over a teacher duty like supervising students at lunch. Your flexible attitude will not only get noticed but will also help keep your stress levels down.

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Don't Gossip

Avoid teacher work areas and other places where teachers congregate to gossip. The momentary feeling you might gain for being 'part of the group' will not be worth the possible repercussions against your reputation in the school. It is especially important that you do not idly talk bad about the teacher for whom you are substituting. You can never be sure that your words won't get back to them.

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If Left a Key, Grade Assignments

Teachers will not expect you to grade assignments for them. Further, if students have completed an assignment like an essay or other more complicated task, you should not grade these. However, if the teacher has left a key for a relatively straightforward assignment, take the time to go through the papers and mark the ones that were wrong.

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Write the Teacher a Note at the End of the Day

At the end of the day, make sure that you write a detailed note to the teacher. They will want to know how much work students got done and how they behaved. You don't need to point out minor behavioral issues to the teacher, but it is important that you describe any major challenges that you faced in their class.

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Make Sure to Tidy Up

When you leave a room messier than when you entered, the teacher has to straighten it the next day when they return. Make sure that you have picked up after yourself and the students.

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Write Thank You Letters

Thank you letters to individuals within a school who have been exceptionally kind to you will go a long way towards you being remembered. While you don't have to write a thank you note to the substitute coordinator each time that you have an assignment, sending them a note with a token gift like some candy once or twice a year will be quite welcome and make you stand out from the crowd.

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Kelly, Melissa. "11 Things Substitute Teachers Can Do to Get Asked Back." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/substitute-teachers-get-asked-back-8285. Kelly, Melissa. (2023, April 5). 11 Things Substitute Teachers Can Do to Get Asked Back. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/substitute-teachers-get-asked-back-8285 Kelly, Melissa. "11 Things Substitute Teachers Can Do to Get Asked Back." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/substitute-teachers-get-asked-back-8285 (accessed June 5, 2023).