SubGuide – Training Substitute Teachers –, Substitute Teaching Division Skip to main content

Training is fundamental to a district’s ability to create a dynamic substitute teacher pool. It is a viable tool for both recruitment and retention. Put simply, trained individuals are more willing to substitute teach and less likely to seek new employment. Districts often fail to meet the long-term needs of their substitute teachers because substitutes are seen as temporary or fill-in teachers. Training helps to meet these long-term needs and fulfill a substitute’s need to be seen as something more than a temporary fix in the school or district. Further, any worthy investment in substitute teacher training benefits both the students and the substitutes. Continual instruction focusing on the best teaching techniques creates strong educators who enter a classroom enthusiastically and are prepared to teach under any set of circumstances.

Requiring substitute teachers to take training is the most effective method to improve your substitute teaching program within your district. Substitute teachers are more prepared to enter the classroom on the first day and tend to stay longer than those who receive little or no training.

Although learning can be accidental, training seldom is. With a little investigation and preparation, a meritorious training program can be arranged for substitute teachers; and it does not need to be expensive or complicated. For tips and information on how training can and has helped in recruiting and retaining substitute teachers, refer to the following articles:

Ballard, M. (2005). One district’s experience in creating an effective substitute training program. SubJournal, 6(1), 40-47.

Baranowski, C. (2002). Training: A little different approach. SubJournal, 3(1), 45-53.

Byers, K. D. (2003). SubWays: Ways to track, train, and retain quality substitute teachers. SubJournal, 4(1), 42-53.

Coffey, L. A. (2003). Working together to solve management issues. SubJournal, 4(1), 54-60.

Edelmann, P. (2003). Substitute teachers: Not just a warm body anymore! SubJournal, 4(1), 21-32.!

Gentry, K. M. (2005). The journey of an educational service center into the development of an effective substitute teacher training program. SubJournal, 6(1), 28-34.

Hardman, S., & Tippets, Z. (2001). Permanent teacher preparation for substitute teachers. SubJournal, 2(1), 21-25.

Latham, G. (2002). Management, not “discipline”: A wake-up call for educators. SubJournal, 3(1), 69-85.

Longhurst, M. (2000). Enhance “one” year of education. SubJournal, 1(1), 40-47.

Longhurst, M. L. (2001). Handyman training for substitutes: How districts can prepare substitute teachers. SubJournal, 2(1), 45-52.

Minthorn, R. (2000). How one district implemented a substitute teacher training program, SubJournal, Vol.1, No. 1, p.27

Platt, J. (2000). Preparing substitute teachers for special education settings: Ensuring the quality and continuity of teaching and learning. SubJournal, 1(2), 15-24.

Thompson, D. K. (2000). Substituting in the special education classroom. SubJournal, 1(2), 25-30.


Click here for the next article in this series.