What do you do when you need to earn some money quick, and the job market is tight?
When you rely on multiple streams of income, and you don’t have a regular eight to five job, it’s good to have a job that you can turn to that is certain to generate income when you are in a financial tight spot.
For me, one such job is to become a substitute teacher.
We can all think of many reasons not to like about being a substitute teacher, but one overriding reason to like it is that you can generate some quick cash.
The only requirement is that you must have a teaching certification to quality. You don’t have to have actually taught in the past, but you need that certificate in hand. If you already have a degree, there are universities where you can earn a certificate in one year, while studying part-time.
I have been a substitute teacher two times. Once, when I returned from working in Honduras with the Peace Corps, and the second time was when I started again just last month.
5 Reasons to be a Substitute Teacher
1.) Steady money. In the district I work with, substitute teachers are paid between $75 and $125 per day, depending on location of the school and teacher experience.
2.) Short hours. It’s usually 6 to 7 hours.
3.) Interesting people. Teachers and school volunteers turn out to be very interesting people to get to know. Some of them are down right inspiring. I met an effervescent grandfatherly gentleman last week at lunch in the teacher’s lounge who was a minister/substitute teacher. He had worked on the Indian Reservation, and several other remarkable places, as part of his career.
4.) To get a microscopic view of our educational system. I have a better understanding of the strength and weaknesses of the education system. The system is good in that it funnels the energies of many dedicated teachers into schools, but I found many kids attending schools are not prepared to succeed in school, mainly through a variety of issues in their home life.
5.) You get paid no matter how bad the day goes.
3 Reasons not to be a Substitute Teacher
2.) You have to connect with kids quickly. Not so easy when you don’t know their names or backgrounds, and they see “having a substitute” with synonymous with “having a free day.”
It’s a great feeling when you do connect with kids. Recently, I had one student come up and talk to me what his goals in life were, and one of his goals was to become a teacher. Sometimes students will come up to me after class and tell me that appreciated having me as their substitute teacher, or ask when I’m coming back again. That always helps the old ego.
3.) Some kids won’t like you no matter how good you are. They don’t want to be in school, and they don’t want people telling them what to do, least of all a substitute teacher.
Coping mechanisms to maintain some control of the classroom
Here are some ways that I have discovered to keep the kids pointed the right direction, and to maintain some shred of professional dignity in the process.
1.) Keep kids busy. A good teacher will leave a lesson plan for you that keeps the kids productively busy all day. The bad teachers leave a lesson plan with too few activities for the kids, or in some cases, they leave no lesson plan at all. I always bring my own lesson plan, just in case.
2.) Deal with problems with some sort of consequences, if only to write names on board.
3.) Don’t dwell on bad experiences; start with a clean slate each day. Let criticism roll off you like rain off duck’s back.
4.) If one thing doesn’t work with the kids, try something else. I have certain activities, like games and brain twisters, to fall back on that work in most circumstances. This is easier to do, the more experience that you have.
Of course, there is a humorous side to being a substitute teacher:
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Tags: coping mechanisms in the classroom, humorous side to teaching, make money during recession, multiple streams of income, part time job, reasons not to be a substitute teacher, reasons to be a substitute teacher, substitute teaching, teaching school, Terry Sprouse