- TIME FLEXIBILITY- Unlike almost all jobs, with substitute teaching, you are your own boss as far as time is concerned. You don’t follow a rigid schedule that may change from week-to-week. Since YOU decide when you want to work, you always know your schedule. Therefore, you can decide your schedule for the rest of the month, or even the school year. Gone is the need to request time off. Gone is the hassle of peeking at the work schedule in anguish to see if you’re scheduled to work during the week you’re planning on getting out of town. Don’t feel like working a few days? Go for it! Have some school assignments that are due soon or want to spend some time doing housework, religious activity or other important things that call for attention? Go ahead; take a day off! What if you want some money to save up for an NBA game, concert, or for a cruise? Unlike jobs at retail stores, where you have to beg for more hours and take others’ shifts, you work as often or as little as you want. This is one of the beauties of the job- you work when you feel like it, and how often you want to.
- ALL NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS OFF- Being a substitute teacher ensures you one thing- you will NEVER work at night or on the weekends. In fact, it is impossible to. The latest you will ever work is about 5pm (if you do Middle School and you hang around later than the 4pm dismissal time). So all of your nights and weekends are always open to do whatever it is you wish to do.
- JOB AVAILABILITY- As a substitute teacher, naturally, your work will take place at a school. This is good news, especially if you live in a big County. For example, in Orange County, there are HUNDREDS of schools, ranging from Elementary, Middle, High, and other special institutions, daycares, and academies. Multiply the tens of jobs available in each grade at each school, and you’re looking at a lot of job possibilities. To give you an insider view on exactly how much, every Friday in Orange County there are about 1,100 teacher absences- which means about 1,100 different jobs that you can work. So you can afford to be picky, like me. I only work at schools within 10 miles of my home, saving me gas money and limiting time spent in transportation. Only want to work with elementary classes? That’s fine. Want to focus on high school? You can do that. Again, flexibility is key. You’ll always find work; never have I gotten up to look for a job and was left empty-handed.
- VARIED ACTIVITY- The job itself can take place in a variety of settings. One day you can be teaching a kindergarten class how to count, the next you can be guiding high school seniors through algebra. Or you could find yourself playing kickball subbing a PE class with middle schoolers. The job load is always different, the most of which is seriously too easy. And don’t worry, you are not expected to know how to do EVERYTHING- most of the time, you are expected just to keep the class under control and hand out worksheets. (for example, I’ve done foreign-language classes when I did not know how to speak the language I was subbing for). So the job never gets boring, or stays in the same routine. It gets exciting.
Other areas I find to be personal perks
- My employer, Kelly Services, pays weekly. Who wouldn’t like that?
- If you’re a social person like me, this is a dream job. You’re rarely by yourself (only during lunchtimes and when you have your planning periods).
- You’re indoors all the time. (unless you’re doing a PE class of course)
- You can make an impact! I always try to make a positive impression on the young minds I am in charge of, as they are tomorrow’s stars.
- No uniform. You wear whatever is professional but not formal (i.e. no ties, dress shirts). You have much flexibility in this regard.
- It’s straight-up easy. Seriously, it doesn’t even feel like work. I actually look forward to working, unlike my last jobs where I viewed them as chores.
But it would be unrealistic to sit here and say that this job is perfect, not having any downsides. So what about some possible negatives?
- Early-bird special. I mentioned earlier that the latest you will ever work is about 5pm. Conversely, to get out early means you have to get up early. It doesn’t bother me, but if it is a problem for you, then you may want to avoid high schools, as they start at 7am (but at least you’re done with work at 2!). Elementary schools typically start at 8am and you’re done by 3pm, and as was stated, middle schools start around 9am and end at 4pm.
- If you hate kids, then avoid this job. For me, I love working with kids and young adults (high schoolers). I personally avoid subbing for middle schoolers, as they are often supremely annoying at that stage in their lives.
- You can’t work during vacations or breaks. While this may sound like a good thing, it can be detrimental if you need money during July and early August, when there is no public school. To combat this, you may need to work more when there is school or try to get a temporary summer job.
And honestly, that’s basically it! I can’t think of any other “bad” things about being a substitute teacher!
This blog post was not designed to answer every question you may have about substitute teaching. For example, you may have noticed that I left out information regarding pay, training, and other seemingly important areas. Have any questions on these or other things related to substitute teaching? Why not check out their website here?
If you have any further inquires, you can contact me via my personal Twitter page, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows? You may find being a substitute teacher to be even more fun than I do!