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Position 17: Substitute Teacher (Preparation Level 3)

Description: State Department of Education regulations define a substitute as one who is employed in place of a regularly appointed teacher who is absent but is expected to return. A long-term substitute means employment for more than 40 days by a school district in a school year. An itinerant substitute means employment for 40 days or less by a school district in a school year.

Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions: While it is not necessary to have a depth of knowledge of all subjects, the substitute teacher may be called upon to teach many different subjects or grade levels. The teacher will usually plan for their absence by leaving lesson plans and a one-day substitute is not expected to teach new material, however, a long-term substitute may. Besides the subject area, a substitute teacher should have all the knowledge, skills and dispositions of the regular teacher (see below), as well as knowledge of the school system, personal flexibility, and behavior or classroom management skills.

Teaching requires knowledge of the English language, mathematics and science, psychology, history and geography. Teaching is a social occupation that involves working, communicating, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others. Important skills are instructing, speaking, using multiple approaches, reading comprehension, active listening, writing, organization, and social perceptiveness. The teacher must have a social, cooperative spirit, willingness to help, appreciation for differences, and must exercise confidentiality.

Employment Settings: Substitute teachers are employed in a variety of settings including:

Public School Settings (See SECTION II.F) Prekindergarten-12 (depending on certification)
Private School Settings (See SECTION II.E)
Head Start (See SECTION II.C)
Child Care and Education (See SECTION II.A, B, D)

Qualification Requirements: In public schools, substitutes with valid teaching certificates or certificates of qualification or who do not possess a valid certificate, but who are completing collegiate study toward certification at the rate of not less than six semester hours per year may serve as a substitute for any number of days. Substitutes without a valid certificate and who are not working towards certification may serve as a substitute for no more than 40 days in a school year. (NYSED Part 80-5.4)

In child care settings, substitutes must meet the local licensing regulations for the position in which they are a substitute.

All persons holding this position must be cleared through the NYS Central Registry of Child Abuse and fingerprints submitted to required authorities.

Job Outlook: There is an ongoing need for qualified substitutes. Substitute teachers have the ability to explore grade preferences, school settings, and yet remain flexible without a day-to-day commitment to a job. Substitute teaching also is a way for the employer to see the qualities of the substitute as a tryout for future employment.

Earnings: Public and private school substitutes are paid by the day at a rate set by the school district, ranging from $30-$65. Child Care substitutes are usually paid at an hourly rate that varies greatly from program to program.

Opportunity for Advancement: Substitute teaching for certified teachers in a school district is often a step toward securing a full-time teaching position in that school district, but it is not guaranteed.

Related Careers:

Working Directly With Children – Child care, director of children's recreational program