How to be a Preferred Guest Teacher


April 25, 2023

You probably remember them from your own school days – the substitute teachers who were clearly the favorites, spending almost as many days in the school building as the regular staff.

There are a lot of benefits to being a preferred guest teacher. It’s always easier to step in when you’re already familiar with the school, the students, the preferred teaching style in the classroom, and the material being taught.

But having preferred guest teachers helps others in the school ,too. Teachers are more comfortable being away from the classroom when they’re familiar with the person filling in for them. And students are more comfortable when they have a familiar guest teacher who has been in the classroom before. Everyone wins.

What can you do to become a preferred guest teacher in a district? There are several ways to help put yourself at the top of the list.

  • Make and leave a good impression. Great guest teachers can be hard to find, and teachers often hesitate to leave their classrooms to strangers. A teacher who knows you and trusts you in their classroom is more likely to request you in the future.
  • Don’t forget about the students. Students will often tell their teachers about guest teachers who were especially fun, kind and engaging. Making a good impression on the students is important as well.
  • What’s the best way to make a good impression on the teacher?
  • Be professional. Show up for an assignment early to prep for the day ahead.
  • Be engaged. Bring your “A” Game. Don’t just go through the motions.
  • Be polite to everyone you meet. This includes students, teachers, parents, and school administrators.
  • Make sure to teach all the activities the teacher left in their lesson plan for the day.
  • Come prepared with your own plan. This includes backup lessons, warmup activities, and activities for students to complete during downtime.
  • At the end of the day, give the teacher feedback so they will know how the day went. Consider leaving specific examples of what you accomplished, along with the names of students who behaved well. Leaving this feedback will demonstrate you were fully engaged with the class.
  • How do you leave a good impression with building administrators?
  • Be prompt. Don’t make the secretary guess if you’ll show up for your assignment.
  • Be flexible. As a guest teacher, the building administration may ask you to move to a different classroom or grade level. These requests are common, and you should learn to take them in stride.
  • Come prepared. Find ways of making games out of the day’s lessons when possible. Students will appreciate your extra effort and will share their experience with their teacher.
  • Always end your day by saying goodbye to the building administration and thanking them for having you as a guest teacher. They will remember that courtesy the next time they need to fill an absence.
  • And don’t forget the students. Always be friendly. Keep calm, stay positive and have a sense of humor.

Becoming a preferred guest teacher can take time and persistence of effort, but the effort will pay off in increased assignments that are more fulfilling. And it might lead to a full-time job for those who are looking for a permanent position.