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Finding and Supporting
Substitute Teachers

"I feel lucky because I have five retired teachers who sub for me on a regular basis." (Marguerite McNeely)

"It appears we will have an adequate number of substitutes this year. Our district pays well for substitute teachers compared to other area schools. We even have badges for the subs to wear. The badges say 'Teacher for the Day,' and they have a cute graphic on them. I like the badges because they reflect our feeling that the students should respect the substitutes as they respect any other teacher." (Addie Gaines)

In Franklin County, Kentucky, qualified substitute teachers are scarce. It used to be that when a teacher was out and a sub was unavailable to cover the class for the day, the students in the absent teacher's classroom had to be split among the remaining classrooms in the grade level. "The idea of more than 35 students in a classroom was nearly criminal, so our district took action. [We] developed an emergency substitute program that has reduced the number of unsupervised classrooms by nearly 80 percent." One of the solutions was to implement the "School-Specific Substitute" program. Each principal selected three to five parents he or she knew well and would trust with a group of students. Those individuals were notified by the district's central office about the availability of substitute work. "If the parents were interested, the district provided a 12-hour professional development training that included instruction in classroom management, lesson delivery, and other information that might help make a day in the classroom run smoothly. After that training, each of the parent subs was required to shadow a certified teacher for two full days. The program has been very beneficial to our school." (Jeffrey Castle)

In Brevard County, Florida, it is very possible that teachers and substitutes will never need to talk to a human to arrange coverage or accept an assignment. "An automated system does that job for more than 5,000 teachers in our district. The teacher calls the automated AESOP System. Each teacher has an ID number. He or she uses the telephone keypad to enter that number, their school ID number, and the date they will be out. Then the system calls available substitutes until it finds one. Substitutes use the keypad to accept or reject assignments that are offered. Last year, more than 98 percent of the substitute positions were filled in that way. The biggest problem with the system is that you sometimes end up with people who are unfamiliar with your building." (Michael D. Miller)

In order to support substitute teachers, regular classroom teachers complete a "feedback form" when they return to their classrooms. "The form asks teachers to comment briefly on the substitute teacher's rapport with the students, the condition of the room, and the work accomplished. If there are any issues, a follow-up dialogue will be conducted with the sub before reassignment." (Laura Guggino)

Take Five more to read this entire article from Education World's "Principal Files" series:
"There's No Sub for a Good Sub Plan"

Take Five more to read this Education World article about automated sub-calling systems:
Sub Searching Made Easier

Be sure to check out Education World's special resource: The Sub Station.


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