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Sunday, August 30, 2015

How to Get a Teaching Job from Substitute Teaching

Being a substitute teacher is hard work!  My fiance and I relocated to Knoxville just days before teachers here went back to school. Unfortunately, that means I was several months late for the education hiring season!  To be honest, I was slightly devastated that I wouldn't have my own classroom, but I was determined to make the most of the situation by substitute teaching!

Getting a teaching job a big district can often require getting a foot in the door somewhere.  For this reason I knew I would have to sub for the year, even though I could have made more money and had less stress if I pursued a different job for the year. I wanted to go into hiring season for the next school year knowing my way around town, having inside details on all the schools, and confident that I would land any job I wanted because of my hard-work, passion, and professionalism.

After just 2 1/2 weeks of subbing, I'm happy to report that I was offered a full-time teaching position at a school I had been subbing at!  So if you're like me, making the most out of subbing but wanting it to turn into something more, do this:

1.  Have business cards!  You can get business cards so cheaply nowadays... you must do it! Not only does handing out a business card set you apart professionally, it provides a direct line of communication between the school and yourself.

I opted for the more expensive back on my cards because I wanted to show my love, respect, and passion for education!

2.  Create materials and/or blog!  Last year I put my first item up on TeachersPayTeachers and was surprised by the positive feedback I received and how much additional income it provided.  This is a great option to do while substitute teaching on days off/downtime when you would otherwise be planning! Additionally, blogging is a great way to channel your love and passion for education.  I followed these pursuits for my own passions and reasons, but it was a great resource to put on my business cards and another way to represent myself to future employers.

3.  Meet the principal!  Often times when you arrive or leave the school the principal will be in the office. Take the opportunity to say hello, state why you are in the building, and compliment the school/students/staff that have helped you during the day. (The key is to be genuine though!) Send a short follow up email thanking them for the hospitality of the school.  Studies show that reaching out once more after an initial meeting will solidify the memory of you in that person's head. All email addresses should be available on the school's website! Remember there will be hundreds of subs in and out of the schools during the year, you want to set yourself apart.  I subbed in a school the first week of school and LOVED the school community.  I was fortunate enough to meet the principal on my first visit.  When I got home and was talking about what an amazing day I had and how much I loved the school, my fiance encouraged me to send a brief thank you/nice to meet you email.  I even received a lovely response back from the principal! Days later I was called (directly, thanks to my business cards!) to sub there again for a whole week for a vacant math position.  I never considered teaching 6th grade math, but after working with the amazing students and knowing how incredible the staff was, I knew it would be a great fit for me and I had to go after the position.  Fortunately, they thought I would be a perfect fit too!

4. Treat every day as an interview!  Being a substitute can be hard work and if you treat every single day as interview, it can be a lot more work!  Making sure you're dressed in business professional attire and hair done professionally adds time to your morning, but you only have one chance to make a first impression! You are being interviewed by the schools to see if they would call you again to sub, but it's so much more important if you want to get a job there the following year. If your hope is to sub for a year and then find a position in one of those schools the following year, it is also important to know you are interviewing the schools!  You have a unique opportunity to learn about how the school works, the staff happiness, and whether or not you could be happy there.  Take advantage of it, because those are things you can't learn about a school sitting in an interview! You have an opportunity to only go after jobs at schools you know you can make a happy home in for years to come.

5.  Be positive.  Every one has tough days.  Sometimes people need to vent.  However, if someone at a school starts to vent to you about the school, the other staff, the profession, the admin, the students etc., be a supportive listener but DO NOT partake in the venting!  Not only does this keep you out of schoolhouse drama, but it's so important on a personal level.  If you look for the bad, you will find it!  But if you look for the good, you will find that instead!  And everybody (okay, almost everybody) wants to work with positive, uplifting people.

These are the rules I lived by and after 2 1/2 weeks I landed a DREAM job!  I wish you all the luck and happiness in your teaching adventures.  Happy teaching :)

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