The Benefits of Being a Substitute Teacher
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substitute teaching


As a substitute teacher I'm often asked when I'll be completing my credential.  It's difficult to come up with different reasons and explanations so I usually blame the bad economy for my procrastination.  Teachers nod sympathetically, noting how tough times are and that they're lucky to have their jobs.  The truth is, I never intended to be a teacher.  Health issues and doctors appointments made the "profession" appealing to me since I was able to customize my own schedule.  Since then, I have noticed that substitute teaching ain't all that bad and it comes with some perks not found in most other jobs.


The most flexible job on earth has got to be substitute teaching.  Not only can you choose the days you want to work but you can work a half day too - in the morning or the afternoon.  I can't tell you how great this was when I had to schedule physical therapy appointments for chronic pain issues.  I could choose to make my appointments during the day when there was the least traffic and still make it to work in the afternoon.  It really doesn't get any better than that!


No matter where you go there will always be a school down the street.  You can move to another city - another state even - and there will always be a school there.  Having recently moved myself I applied to two school districts and was hired by both.  All of the schools are within a five minute drive of my apartment which saves me time and money, especially when it comes to paying for gas!


I love being able to work without the constant watchful eyes of a boss.  That's not to say that you can goof off but I like being in control and having minimal guidance.  Absentee teachers have no other choice but to trust you which is motivating since you'd like keep them happy in return for more assignments in the future.  I really feel I've excelled because I've had to learn all by myself.  I've made mistakes and learned from them which is something I haven't had the opportunity to do in an office environment.

No Long-Term Responsiblity

I know this sounds bad but I consider it a major perk, especially if you have other commitments like a part-time job or family.  It's nice to know you don't have to stay after the students go home to grade papers or attend meetings.  It's also nice to know that you don't have to do parent-teacher conferences and discuss why Billy smacked another student across the face.  If you deal with a student's bad attitude, it's often temporary.  You go home and decide never to substitute for that class again.  There are some situations where you may have to deal with parents and student behavior, such as long-term assignments but it is entirely up to you to accept the job.


Whether you're looking to transition into full-time work or you want to continue as a substitute teacher your performance may not be commended but it is definitely recognized.  Substitutes that accept more assignments and get excellent teacher feedback usually get more jobs.  While you won't get Teacher of the Year you'll definitely develop a reputation of getting the job done.  Teachers will list you as their preferred sub and you'll have your pick of the best substitute assignments. 

Health Conscious

Teaching is the most ergonomic job I've found.  For someone that has pain on a daily basis it's great.  You can sit and stand, bend and stretch and not look like a complete weirdo.  It's a great job if you like to stay active as opposed to working eight hours strapped to your desk.  Substitute teaching also has the added benefit of choosing your schedule so you can make time for exercise and doctors appointments without having to take a sick day.  Having worked in an office environment I dreaded the day when I had to use up one of my few sick days.  It was an absolute nightmare when I actually had to take a sick leave.  With substitute teaching you will never jeopardize your job because you can't work.

Pursue Other Interests

Maybe you've thought about starting your own website but you just never had the time.  Or you want to try that online writing thing that everyones been talking about.  Well now you can.  Working as a substitute has allowed me to pursue my other interests without taking a massive paycut.  I also have enough time to dedicate to these projects since I can choose my schedule.  I've actually known several fully credentialed teachers that have other jobs during the summer such as personal trainer and boxer.  Currently, I have actually take on another job as an online instructor which gives me the added flexibility of working from home when I'm not in the mood to drive. 

Can you think of any other reasons why substitute teaching is awesome?  Comment below!