Myth: Substitute teaching is the best way to increase my marketability with a district.
Reality: Many districts may give preference to individuals who have held a permanent teaching position over others with limited subbing experience. Unless you are in a long-term position, substitutes are there one day and gone the next. Individuals with a permanent teaching position often have more experience with classroom management and lesson planning. They are also able to form ongoing relationships with students, attend IEP meetings, serve on interdisciplinary teams and communicate with parents.
Subbing does indeed expand your network and is a viable option if you have no other alternatives.
If you find yourself substitute teaching, strengthen your rapport with other teachers by attending conferences and joining professional associations. Although you will incur some expenses, the return of investment could be significant. When you apply for subbing in a large district, be strategic. Indicate your preference for specific grade levels or a subject. While this may initially reduce the volume of your calls, the schools will ask for you by name once you accept all their requests and build your reputation. This will deepen your relationships with students and provide more opportunities for the principal to observe you. It also provides richer experience for your resume in the areas that interest you.
Finally, if you are feeling stuck in your job search you might also consider expanding the geographical parameters of your search to increase your number of job prospects. You should also contact your local career services office or education department for assistance. They can help you identify and address the unique challenges that you facing.
Served as a substitute and found it helpful? Share what made it productive. Still believe subbing is the best way to increase your marketability? Make a comment below.
Director, Career Services
University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota