Substitute Teacher

As school is currently out for the summer, there aren’t any teachers to shadow in class, so I decided to follow and interview a substitute teacher as he prepared for the year. Mark, a substitute teacher in the Toronto District School Board, fills in for teachers who teach art, careers, photography, yearbook, history, geography, and a few other courses. This past year he filled in for a teacher who had to take a leave of absence due to health reasons, so he was working as a permanent teacher. This year he expects to be a traditional substitute teacher again and will have to wait for calls requesting him to fill in. Every morning Mark wakes up very early (around 5:00 a.m.) because the school board calls him with the need for a substitute. He gets a choice of two or three jobs each morning and he usually chooses the classes he has experience with. Mark told me that he knows students like to take advantage of substitute teachers, so he isn’t scared to take disciplinary action. Mark enjoys substituting because this way teaching is always exciting and he can choose how much or how little he works.

A Typical Day

If a substitute teacher gets a call, they monitor their assigned classes and occasionally teach material.

Top 3 Perks

1) Great part-time work

 2) Meet interesting teachers at new schools on a daily basis 

 3) Flexibility to choose your schedule 

Job Culture

Being indoors for long hours, summers off, disciplining students, collecting assignments.


1) A bachelor’s degree in a field of interest to you and in education

Skills Needed

Patience, assertiveness, communication skills, problem-solving.

The Field

- Always be needed—as population grows, schools need more staff and therefore more substitute teachers.