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Jessica Smith

Great Examples of District Websites

By For Administrators, Recruiting Substitute TeachersNo Comments

We regularly scour the internet for excellent school district websites. Weird right? Who does that? Well, we do. We care that much about substitute teachers.

Here are some of our faves (and yes, they all have something in common):

Metro Nashville, TN

Boston Public Schools, MA

Atlanta Public Schools, GA

Share (as a comment below) your webpage for substitute teachers! We’d love to check them out.

Register your district for training today! 

3 Ways to Recruit Substitute Teachers

By For Administrators, Recruiting Substitute Teachers

As a new school year is here, likely you’re looking for additional substitute teachers.

Here are three quick tips to increase your number of applications:

Send home a note in the district newsletter to parents encouraging them to become a substitute teacher.

Dear Parent,

We love seeing you at our school and would wonder if you’d like to be paid to be here? Apply to be a substitute teacher and work only on days you want to! Flexibility is a huge perk of the job. We’re having a Substitute Teacher Open House on Thursday, September 21 from 6-8 to help orient those interested in joining our ranks.

Ask permanent teachers to refer a friend.

Dear Teacher,

We want to clone you! Do you have a friend you think would make a great substitute teacher? Send them the link to apply:

If you’d like, maybe encourage them to observe in your classroom for an hour to help them feel more comfortable in the classroom.

Coordinate with your local job placement agency.


Bonus tip:

Be open to your current pool on what your fill rate is. Let them know what your goal fill-rate is and ask them to help you achieve it. National surveys indicate that just over 48% of substitute teachers would like to work more than they do.

For additional strategies on recruiting high quality substitute teachers, register for the Fill-Rate Academy. The academy is essential for anyone looking to improve the quality of their substitute teachers and in turn increase their fill-rate on a regular basis.

Ideas for Hosting a Live Training

By For Administrators, Training Options

Are you considering training your substitute teachers in house? There are so many benefits for going this route! Teaching is a face to face profession and when training substitute teachers live, you can model what you would expect them to do in the classroom.

Here are a few ideas for your next session:

      • Facilitate learning instead of lecture. You wouldn’t expect a substitute teacher to lecture, show them how to facilitate learning instead.
      • Base your classroom management strategies on skills. Every teacher needs skills, especially when it comes to classroom management. There are a lot of great ideas for managing student behavior, but implementing skills is where true success can be found.
      • Make the learning fun. Incorporate games, group presentations and door prizes. Everyone appreciates when the training is lively and engaging.

For ways to train your substitute teachers, consider reviewing the SubTrainer Manual. Any person in your district can be a trainer with this tool and a copy of the Substitute Teacher Handbook for each participant.

Retaining Substitute Teachers – Webinar

By For Substitute Teachers

This webinar focuses on understanding who is in the SubPool, ways to encourage them to take more assignments, and how to retain them. We’ll also discuss ways to increase fill rates.


The webinar and discussion will be lead by
Geoffrey Smith
Founding and former director of the Substitute Teaching Institute at Utah State University,
Current director of



Retaining Substitute Teachers Survey (Draft) – Please note that the blank pages contained answers that were open-ended and were too numerous to add to the document. If you would like to conduct this survey in your organization/district, please contact me for the link.

Click here for the Webinar Notes



Remember the action items from this webinar:

  • District “Sub”Committee
  • Conduct a STEDI survey for your district – email:
  • Post SubEssentials on your Website –
  • Raise pay when tied to training
  • SubReady –
  • SubRecognition –
  • Attend SubSolutions –

To learn additional strategies for retaining substitute teachers, register for the Fill-Rate Academy.

Classroom Management for New Teachers

By For Administrators

A few more details about this course:

  • What should have been taught in college regarding behavior management for teachers
  • Three hours in length
  • Skill based (practical in nature)
  • Teachers can revisit the course material at any time
  • Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Passing an Assessment (Based on user feedback)
  • Roughly $29 per learner with quantity discounts
  • Upon completion, learners will be invited to a private Facebook group
  • Launching  January 2018

Please share your thoughts about this course below! Share if it would be useful for your teachers to have an assessment associated. When would this course be most useful to you? Immediately or next school year?

To share your thoughts and stay updated on this course, either email or leave your contact information below.

Training Substitute Teachers Webinar

By For Administrators, Webinars for Administrators

Thank you for registering for the Training Substitute Teachers Webinar hosted by Here is the video recording and the notes. Comment below with any questions you have or topics you would like covered in future webinars.



Download: Notes Training Substitute Teachers Webinar

To invite your substitute teachers to complete the training offered by, click here.

Resources for Your Substitute Teachers

By For Administrators, Resources is eager to help you help your substitute teachers. Here are some free resources we encourage you to pass along to your substitute teachers:

  1. Facebook Page Each week our substitute teacher trainer goes live on the Facebook page with a short training video for substitute teachers.
  2. SubSuggestions Newsletter Delivered twice a month, it is easily the most popular substitute teacher newsletter out there.
  3. Latest Giveaway Every fall and spring hosts a huge giveaway for substitute teachers. Yes, we regularly give away Apple Watches.

Coming Soon: YouTube Channel

Consider Your First Impression

By For Administrators, Recruiting Substitute Teachers

We all know first impressions are really important. Do you ever wonder what first impression your potential applicants have of you?

Likely their first impression is made from your website. In the digital age, we all take to Google when we have a question. Which means your potential applicants likely have visited your district website.

Knowing this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it clear how to become a substitute teacher in our district?
  • Is the page where we talk about substitute teaching as an option easy to find?
  • Does the webpage seem inviting or daunting?

What kind of message are potential applicants taking away after visiting our website? Is it clear what the first step is to becoming a substitute teacher?

How can we find answers to these questions? Easy! Ask a few people! Have a couple of your kids, friends, or current substitute teachers look at the website and have them give you a little feedback. Give them specific questions they can answer.

Better yet, watch them use your website. It will become really obvious what they think of it.

If you would like to see a few examples of other school district websites, click here.

Training Your Substitute Teachers: The Four Principles of Human Behavior

By For Substitute Teachers

You can manage student behavior properly only by first managing your own behavior.


At STEDI, we train substitute teachers across the USA.

To learn about our online or printed courses, please email or call 435-755-7800 or visit


Research has shown that, on average, a student spends over one full year with a substitute teacher by the time the student graduates from high school.

Successful substitute teachers are those who have either consciously, or subconsciously, mastered necessary skills and classroom techniques.

This newsletter will give you ideas that have been researched, documented, and field-tested since 1976.

The skills presented in this newsletter (and future newsletters) are statistically proven to prevent 94% of inappropriate student behavior and provides strategies to handle the remaining 6%.


Research Findings:

Substitutes: The number one request by substitutes is to be trained in the skills to successfully manage inappropriate behavior situations.

Administration: The number one request by permanent teachers and school personnel is that substitute teachers be prepared and professional.

Students: The number one request by students is that substitute teachers present stimulating lessons and exciting fill-in activities.

As you share these time-tested techniques, your substitute teachers will increase their ability to:

  • Effectively get and keep students on task
  • Maintain a risk-free environment
  • Communicate expectations
  • Respond non-coercively to consequential behavior

We will share four principles. Principles are truths not limited by age, time, location, or situation. It is impossible to write a newsletter that covers every classroom scenario substitutes may encounter as a teacher. Thus, substitutes must be principle-based.

When substitutes know and understand these principles, their actions can change, increasing the likelihood that the students will behave appropriately.

Principle #1
Behavior is largely a product of its immediate environment.

The teacher creates the classroom environment through the expectations they set. The environment influences students more than outside factors do.

This environment allows teachers to control and influence the students’ behavior in their classrooms.

If a student is acting out, the teacher should pay special attention to altering the classroom environment. If the teacher changes the classroom, the behavior of the students will change.

Principle #2
Behavior is strengthened or weakened by its consequences.

When disruptive behavior becomes a pattern, it is important to take a look at what is happening immediately after the behavior.

Attention from a teacher is a powerful motivator for most students. If the substitute pays more attention to students who are behaving appropriately than to students who are not, they will be encouraging appropriate behavior.

Principle #3
Behavior ultimately responds better to positive than to negative consequences.

People respond better to positive encouragement than to negative processes.

Think of the tasks you do every day; if someone thanks you or compliments you on how well you did, you feel much more likely to continue the task.

Substitute teachers can help stop undesirable behavior and increase appropriate behavior by genuinely reinforcing the latter.

Principle #4
Whether a behavior has been punished or reinforced is known only by the course of that behavior in the future.

If inappropriate behavior is repeated, it has been reinforced. If an undesirable behavior is repeated, it too has been reinforced. If an undesirable behavior has discontinued, it has been properly disciplined.

The only way to tell if a response to a behavior is punishing or reinforcing is to watch what happens to the behavior in the future. What is considered a punishment to one person may reinforce and perpetuate a behavior in another.

Understanding these four principles of human behavior is a key to success in the classroom.

As substitute teachers work to fully apply and practice each one, they will feel con dent when approaching the classroom because they can make correct decisions about managing behavior.

The most important thing to remember about each of these principles is that they are a call to action on the teachers’ part. They can manage student behavior properly only by first managing their own.

How to teach these principles to your substitutes

Your substitutes will learn and, more importantly, retain this information best through active participation. You do not expect your teachers to lecture, so do not use a lecture format in training. Engage them.

When teaching these principles, modeling the way you expect your substitutes to teach is the most powerful method you can use in your training sessions.

Your example can show substitute teachers how to use the teaching tools from this newsletter to actively engage the students they will work with. We welcome your ideas and suggestions about this newsletter!


SubSolutions 2017
Substitute Teacher Manager Conference
Learn how to attract, train, and retain the best substitute teachers.
June 28-30 • Park City, Utah
Enroll at