Complete Substitute Teacher Job Description – PDF Included

School Districts

July 1, 2024

Plus, Bonus Substitute Teacher Job Description PDF!

Download: Substitute Teacher Job Description PDF

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire," said William Butler Yeats.

This captures the essence of why great substitute teachers are essential. A well-crafted substitute teacher job description is vital for finding the right candidates and streamlining the hiring process.

When recruiting substitute teachers, the job description is their first introduction to the role. It must clearly outline the job's responsibilities and required skills. A precise substitute teacher job description attracts suitable candidates and sets clear expectations.

A substitute teacher job description should be concise yet comprehensive. It must be easy to read and engaging. Here are key elements to include to make the description appealing to top-notch educators.

Key Takeaways

  • Include a clear position overview
  • List key responsibilities and expectations
  • Specify required qualifications and skills
  • Describe the work environment
  • Outline the application process
  • Highlight any unique aspects of the school or district

Position Overview

Substitute teachers are vital for maintaining continuity in education when primary teachers are absent. They ensure that students' learning progresses smoothly and foster a positive learning environment. On a daily basis, substitute teachers manage classroom lessons and ensure student progress.

Substitute teachers must be adaptable, as they will handle various grades and subjects. Strong interpersonal skills are essential, as they will interact with diverse staff and student personalities.

Their tasks include:

  • Delivering engaging lessons
  • Maintaining classroom discipline
  • Assisting students with assignments
  • Adhering to school policies and procedures
  • Communicating effectively with staff and students

Substitute teaching assignments may be short-term (a single day) or long-term (several days to a semester). Both types require dedication to the students and their education.

"Substitute teachers play a crucial role in maintaining educational continuity and supporting student learning." - National Education Association

Key Responsibilities to Include

Substitute teachers are responsible for ensuring that students continue to learn effectively in the absence of regular teachers. Their primary duties will include:

Instructional Delivery

Substitute teachers deliver lessons based on provided plans or create their own if necessary. They might lecture, lead discussions, or conduct activities.

Classroom Management

Effective classroom management is crucial. Substitute teachers maintain order, enforce rules, and create a conducive learning environment by setting clear expectations and addressing any issues promptly.

Student Supervision

Substitute teachers are responsible for student safety, both in the classroom and during breaks. They must be aware of any special needs or health issues among students.

Record Keeping

Substitute teachers maintain accurate records, including attendance, grades, and notes for the regular teacher. This documentation may include what lessons were taught and any issues that arose.


Strong communication skills are vital. Substitute teachers must interact with students, staff, and sometimes parents, answering questions and discussing student progress.


Substitute teachers should always act professionally, dress appropriately, be punctual, and follow school rules. They serve as role models for students.

"A great substitute teacher is like a chameleon, adapting to each new classroom while maintaining high standards of education and conduct."


Clearly stating the required qualifications helps streamline the hiring process by attracting candidates who meet your standards.


Typically, substitute teachers need at least a bachelor's degree. Some districts may accept an associate degree or relevant college coursework. Specify if certification in certain subjects is required.


Detail the teaching or classroom experience needed, such as student teaching or years of experience. Indicate whether recent graduates or career changers are welcome to apply.


Essential skills for success include:

  • Classroom management
  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Technology proficiency


Important attributes for a strong substitute teacher are:

  • Patience
  • Enthusiasm for learning
  • Flexibility
  • Professionalism

Physical Requirements

Include the physical demands of the role in the job description. This job involves more than just classroom teaching; it includes standing, moving around, bending, lifting light to moderate weights, and using technology.

The description should also mention the need for stamina, as substitute teachers often work in various locations throughout the week.

Specific physical abilities to list might include:

"Must be able to navigate school facilities, including stairs, and supervise students during outdoor activities."

Work Environment

Substitute teaching is dynamic and varied. Substitute teachers may find themselves in different classrooms each day, ranging from elementary to high school settings, each with unique challenges and opportunities.

Expect to encounter:

  • Diverse student populations with varying needs
  • Different classroom layouts and technologies
  • Unique school cultures and policies

Flexibility and the ability to adapt quickly are crucial. Some days will be smooth, while others may be more challenging.

"Teaching is the greatest act of optimism." - Colleen Wilcox

Application Process

A clear application process attracts the best candidates. Your job posting should detail each step applicants will go through, helping them prepare adequately.

Required Documents

State the documents needed for the application:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Teaching credentials
  • References

Background Check

Describe the background check process, including fingerprinting and background investigations.

Hiring Steps

Outline the steps in the hiring process:

  1. Submit online application
  2. Initial screening
  3. Phone interview
  4. In-person interview
  5. Reference checks
  6. Final decision

Explain how to apply, include the application deadline, and indicate when applicants will be notified of the decision. This shows respect for their time and helps them plan accordingly.

An FAQ section can be beneficial, addressing common questions and saving time for both applicants and the HR team.

"A well-organized hiring process reflects positively on your school and attracts top substitute teaching talent."


Creating an effective substitute teacher job description is crucial for attracting the right candidates. By highlighting the job overview and qualifications, you can draw top candidates. Clearly describing the work environment and physical demands ensures that candidates understand the role.

A well-written substitute teacher job description benefits both parties. It helps you find teachers who can seamlessly take over and maintain continuity. For substitutes, a detailed description clarifies what they will be doing, helping them decide if the job is right for them.

Crafting a thorough substitute teacher job description is key to building a strong pool of substitute teachers. With the right description, you'll attract professionals ready to support your school and contribute to better student learning outcomes.

This article and form are for educational purposes only and does not reflect the views/practices of Edustaff or it's affiliates.