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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.

SubClub from STEDI gives Substitute Teachers more resources and options than ever before

Attract more substitute teacher applicants on your website – Webinar

By For Administrators, Training Options, Webinars for AdministratorsOne Comment
Are you turning away potential applicants?
Are you attracting the individuals who would make great substitute teachers?


This Webinar Took Place:

February 17, 2015
1pm EST


This webinar discusses simple ways to encourage individuals to apply to become substitute teachers and to make a difference in the classroom. Your need to hire those who will help reduce the number of classes going uncovered can be met with these few changes.

You may also post your questions for others to help answer during the 30-minute webinar.

Register today to ensure you have your seat reserved.

Link to suggested website wording

Click here to Download the Handouts



More Information for Administrators

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Suggested Website Wording

By For Administrators, Training Options

There are many individuals who know better than to put themselves in harm’s way or make fools of themselves. In other words, they will not put themselves in front of a classroom without first receiving the training they need to succeed in that classroom. They want to do well and they want to be trained.

When individuals are interested in investing in themselves at their own expense, make sure to reward them by reviewing their application before any other’s and once hired, place them on your preferred lists.

It’s as easy as that – no commitment, no policy changes, no coercion. Just give it a two-month trial and see what you think.

What to say?

Just copy the paragraphs below and paste onto your website!


We encourage individuals not holding a teaching license to take the SubSkills course and pass with an 85% composite score. Then your application will be reviewed first. Once hired you will also be placed on the preferred call list.

You will learn to:

  • Manage a classroom and avoid common errors most substitute teachers make
  • Teach with power, even if you don’t have a teaching degree
  • Be professional and demand respect from the students
  • Work with students with special needs

SubSkills contains engaging videos, downloads, examples, and teaching strategies you to study and learn. The course can be accessed at any time and users can log out and return later to exactly where you left off in a lesson.

We look forward to having you in our classrooms.

Register for training at:

Special Education Substitute Teachers

By For Administrators, Latest, Training Options

Students with special needsSpecial Education Substitute Teachers might be hard to find. In fact, in a recent study we conducted, 73% of the classes that went uncovered were special education assignments. Nearly 50% of the districts nationwide are experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers and have more unfilled absences than they would like.

There are two major ways to address this issue. One method is to recruit more individuals who would substitute teach with students with special needs and the other method is to encourage existing substitute teachers to take on more special education assignments. You’ve already invested heavily in your current pool of substitute teachers and most likely there are many who are not taking assignments as often as they would like. Many don’t work in special education assignments as they are unfamiliar with the terminology, methods and procedures, causing them to feel intimidated and unsure. There is a way, however, to encourage them to take on these assignments.

The Advanced Special Education course is designed for substitute teachers to not only learn about special ed assignments but how to work with students with special needs. This three-hour course, which includes an assignment is perfect in bringing individuals up to speed in special education.

Advanced Special Education Course for Substitute Teachers



Learn more on how to train all your substitute teachers in special education.




More suggestions asked managers of substitute teacher how they encourage substitute teachers to take assignments in special education classes. If you have other ideas to respond to this current topic, please send and email to Here are some solutions that we received:

What I do to relieve this problem is to schedule on-going training in the different areas we need subs, such as special education. I have classroom teachers from the different areas do presentations to interested subs on what the day in one of their classes might look like. The presentations are scheduled and a list is emailed to all of our substitute teachers to look through and indicate what training they may want. I then schedule the trainings throughout the year. The trainings last roughly 1 to 2 hours. This approach has relieved the problem with having unfilled classes.

– James Telles, Los Alamos Public Schools (NM)

Many of our substitute teachers prefer the Special Education assignments. The class size is smaller and for a few of the periods they are co-teaching with a second teacher who takes the lead and is experienced. The beauty of that scenario is that the Sub Teacher is able to observe and learn some new techniques to use in future teaching situations from the experienced teacher.

Many of our substitute teachers in this assignment feel that they are connecting with the students and making a positive difference in the student’s day and life!

– Mary Connelly, Franklin Township (NJ)

Our district has monthly meetings for our substitute teachers where we have speakers train and give them opportunities to ask questions. Every year we have a training given by our special education staff to give them more information on these students and how best to serve them. The substitute teachers can share their concerns and the special education staff can help them learn how to deal with issues that come up.

More substitute teachers are willing to try to work in special education classes when they know what to expect and how to handle the situations that come up. They also learn how many adults are in the classroom to help and it doesn’t seem so scary. We find that once they experience a special education classroom and have success, they are more likely to take that assignment again. Several substitute teachers really like special education and now always volunteer to take those assignments.

– Jane Fonda, Mountain View Whisman School District (CA)

We currently are able to encourage substitute teachers to take special education jobs by suggesting that they try it out and become comfortable through taking Special Education Instructional Assistant jobs. This way they can go in and learn about the classrooms and disabilities without being the one completing in charge of the classroom. It seems to ease the anxiety level of taking on a greater responsibility if they have never been exposed to a special education classroom. We also offer to pay them the same rate as a day-to-day substitute teacher as long as they have the teaching credential even if they take an instructional assistant substitute position.

This has seemed to help a great amount with filling our substitute teacher positions!

– Emily Kehr, Bucks County IU #22 (PA)

We communicate to our subs during training that subs who have experience working with students with special needs are in a better position to obtain a full-time paraprofessional position with our district.

– Dianne Hixson, Hamilton County Schools (TN)

We offer the same rate of pay and so far have not had any real problems in special education. Sometimes, we are just short of subs overall but that is due to a variety of factors.

– Linda Berard, Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (CA)

We started using AppliTrack, our job search software. We have a job posting specifically for our substitute teaching position. Any candidate that wants to apply has to do so on-line. We screen and choose only the most qualified candidates. Once chosen the candidate is invited, via email, to a new substitute teacher orientation. Once they’ve attended the orientation, they are considered hired, we process their paperwork and put them on SubFinder.

By being choosey about who we want on our sub list, we feel we are benefiting our teaching staff and our students by having the most qualified sub in the classroom. This will help toward classroom learning when a teacher is absent.

– Terry Unger, St. Vrain Valley School District (CO)

Administration spends time at our substitute teacher training sessions discussing all types of special education classes and programs, which are extensive in our district. Actual SPED substitute teachers have been allowed to address the attendees in our training sessions to encourage participation. We also provide handouts about our programs to substitute teachers in their packets of information. Our district understands that special education classes are not for everyone.

We also offer to schedule substitute teachers into classes to observe other substitute teachers in action or observe the actual teacher in the class settings that may or may not have paraprofessionals available in the classroom.

I also think our building administrators do an excellent job of including visits to SPED classrooms to show support openly for those classes. That kind of information is passed on to teachers and prospective substitutes alike. We do believe our efforts have helped recruit more substitute teachers in our SPED classrooms.

– Robert W. Martin, Cabot Public Schools (AR)

Last year we held a substitute teacher in-service that about 100 people attended. I asked our director of special education to address the group and she spent about an hour going over special education teaching topics. It was very successful!

– Lisa Jennaro, Elmbrook Schools (WI)

I believe in “quick and dirty” so I provide substitute teachers with definitions of all disabilities that we service, descriptions of what the disabilities might look like, and then provide some generic examples of strategies they could use. I also encourage substitute teachers to ask permanent teachers who the “high flyers” are in the class and ask other teachers how best to work with those students. I give the subs just a brief overview of “dos and don’ts” for all students.

– Ramona Stavros, Elmbrook Schools (WI)

If you have an idea that might help other Substitute Teacher Managers with this issue, please email it to

Substitute Teacher Training Options – Administrator’s Webinar

By For Administrators, Training Options, Webinars for Administrators

In this webinar, Geoffrey Smith, Director of, will present the multiple options for substitute teacher training that school districts and staffing agencies can employ to train their substitute teachers.

He’ll cover:

SubEssentials Introductory Course

SubSkills Basic Training

SubWise eMentoring Course

Live Onsite Training

Advanced Courses

Paraeducator Course

Plus, how substitute teachers can sign up for ongoing SubSuggestions Newsletter!

The PowerPoint handout will be available approximately one hour before the broadcast.

Click here to download the handout for the webinar


Online Substitute Teacher Training – Webinar

By For Administrators, Training Options, Webinars for Administrators

Districts and organizations who hire substitute teachers, find the benefit of requiring training prior to employment. This not only save the school district thousands of dollars each year in processing those individuals who are only looking for a quick paycheck, but it prepares those who really want to teach but lack the training that would help them from day one.

For a personal demonstration, please contact at 800-922-4693 ext 2012.



Online Substitute Teaching Training (PDF)

White Paper: Substitute Teachers Should Pay for Skills Training

By For Administrators, Research, Training Options

There is a common consensus among professionals that training or certification is required for most jobs.  In these training courses or certification processes key skills and abilities are demonstrated or learned. These skills are necessary to excel in the desired profession. Society expects medical doctors and nurses have sufficient schooling and training, lawyers need advanced education and internships to set them apart, and even beauticians are required to hold certifications. Teachers and school administrators are also included in this group; licensing and an education are required to work within any school. In this paper we will discuss not whether substitute teachers are required to be certified or receive additional skills training but how training can be paid for.

Students entering college or university have several options available to them to finance their education; scholarships, financial aid, sponsorship, and other means, but these options are in short supply. The majority end up ‘going it alone’ and paying for the schooling or training themselves.  This self-investment is later returned in higher salaried jobs or opportunities.  Substitute teacher training can follow this same path; self-investment.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that an individual will change jobs on average ten times throughout a career.(1)  Though this number is different from profession to profession and industry to industry it is certain that most people will change jobs many times in their career.  With so many changes throughout a career more and more people are willing to invest in themselves.  Kelly Global Workforce completed a survey in Australia and found that 74% of Generation X are prepared to spend their own money on training to upgrade their skills.  This same survey shared that 72% of Generation Y was prepared to invest their own money and 68% of Baby Boomers were prepared to invest their own money in themselves.(2)  Today, more people today than previous generations are willing to invest their own money to improve their skill set.
Gary S. Becker in Journal of Political Economy found investment in “human capital” pays off in higher wages later in life, regardless of chosen field.  (He uses the phrase “human capital” meaning skills training, education, and certification a person does to improve themselves.)  He goes on to say, those who invested in “human capital” are an “abler” person.   In other words, those individuals who invested in themselves are a more capable person.(3)
Jim Giulliano, reported similar results in He started a program that encouraged members of his staff to select and fund their own training. The results were surprising to him. He found that those who took control of their training also were the most motivated and top performers. “The top people used the program to get better or to help themselves advance with the company.”(4)
In the case of a school district and substitute teacher; when potential or current employees invest in themselves there are advantages for not only the school district but for the employee as well.  The school district improves the substitute teacher pool without raising costs; and if training is done with an outside company without putting additional strain on those who manage substitute teachers.
The benefits for the substitute teacher are numerous. Those who are willing to pay for training are the more able, motivated, and top performers. The substitute teacher becomes more invested in his/her education and to the school. He/She is showing a desire and willingness to enter the classroom and not just be a warm body but to excel and help educate students. Substitute teachers who pay for training also know right away if they really want to be a substitute teacher. Skills training reveals much of what a substitute teacher encounters day to day and therefore a potential substitute teacher can make the decision before going through the hiring process. Saving the substitute teacher and the district time and money in processing.
If a school district does require a substitute teacher to pay for training a reward or an incentive could be offered. This, once again, could or could not cost the district additional time or money. Substitute teachers could simply be recognized. They could be offered additional training, such as on-going mentoring, throughout the school year. Or possibly could be placed more often in classrooms or higher on a calling list. Simply, a district could offer higher pay to trained teachers or even a reimbursement on training.
Therefore, when the question is asked; “We would like to have training but we do not have the resources to do so?”  The response can be; “Have the substitute teacher pay.”
1. Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Grab bag, Summer 2006 Vol. 50, Number 2
3. Gary S. Becker in Journal of Political Economy Vol. 70, No. 5, Part 2 Oct. 1962, pp. 9-49“Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis”

Substitute Teacher Training and Student Achievement

By For Administrators, Research, Training Options

There are expectations for full time teachers. There are expectations for school nurses and athletic trainers. There are expectations for the principal, the superintendent, and all those who work in these offices. Some expectations are schooling for others certifications are required. But all are held to the appropriate expectation.

There is one teaching class that is different from the rest. The expectations for substitute teachers range from teaching certificates to none at all. (1) This raises multiple questions. How have substitute teacher expectations fallen so low? Why do we expect less out of at will teachers than full time teachers? How can the expectations for substitute teachers be raised to the appropriate level?

Teachers will continue to be absent, professional development will happen, sickness will befall teachers, and other functions will be required to attend to at no fault to the teacher. However, substitute teachers who step into the classroom need to counteract the negative effect of teachers being absent. (To learn more about the effect of teacher absenteeism click here) This can be accomplished by utilizing substitute teachers who employ a high self efficacy.

Psychologist Albert Bandura stated, “what people think, believe, and feel affects how they behave.” (Bandura, 1986) Self-efficacy studies were developed to measure an “individual’s perception of their ability.” (Pajares, 1996) Bandura in 1986 and Cheryl Trull in 2004 both agree and conclude, “self-efficacy appears to be a good predictor of behavior.” (Trull, 2004)

Much research has been done in the area of self efficacy and teacher efficacy. This research shows how a person who has high self efficacy impacts positively the students they teach. In a list of research in this area complied by Trull teachers who have high self-efficacy are:

•  More fulfilled and dedicated in and to their profession
•  They center teaching around the student
•  Willing to meet the needs of their students through new methods
•  Able to persist when things don’t go as planned
•  Able to perceive their student’s learning levels
•  More frequent in offering assistance to students with learning problems and to help them become more successful
•  Less likely to submit students with learning problems for special services
•  Able to set higher goals and expect more from students
•  Work longer with students who are falling behind
•  Able to teach students in such a way that the students outperform other classes
•  A predictor of success for students on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the Canadian Achievement Test, and the Ontario Assessment Instrument Pool (Trull, 2004)

When substitute teachers enter the classroom with high self-efficacy they have a positive impact on the students they teach. Therefore, the focus of improving the classroom when the teacher is away is on the substitute teacher. A positive way to influence a substitute teachers self-efficacy, and as a result a students performance, is to engage them in skills training. developed The Substitute Teacher Self Efficacy Study (STSES) to measure the effect of skills training on a substitute teacher’s self-efficacy. STSES was based off the Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale (OSTES) later called the Teachers Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) which, to quote Trull summarizing Tschannen-Moran, speaking of TSES “the instrument was demonstrated to be superior to previous measures of teacher efficacy by assessing a broad range of capabilities considered important by teachers, yet not so specific to deny comparisons of teachers in context, levels, and subjects.” (Trull, 2004)

STSES was utilized to measure the impact of the skills taught in The Substitute Teacher Handbook and in the SubSkills Online Training. Measuring those substitute teachers who passed training with an 85% (standard passing score) STSES found in the areas of Classroom Management and Teaching Strategies construct a substitute teachers self-efficacy increased. In addition, it was found that after training was complete and the substitute teacher entered the classroom their self-efficacy remained higher then pre training scores.

These results show that a trained substitute teacher in classroom management and teaching strategies can have a great impact on student achievement. Skills’ training is therefore necessary for substitute teachers who have not received skills training previously, such as certified teachers. Through training, non-certified substitute teachers can meet expectations and improve student achievement. developed its overall training courses with all these points in mind. Following this scheduled shows, most importantly, to improve student performance by raising a substitute teacher’s level of self-efficacy. Additional benefits of this method include:

1. Reduced the liability and exposure of a school district
2. Reduced hiring costs by eliminating excess applications
3. Reduced time managing substitute teachers by reducing complaints
4. Reduced turnover by having a more satisfied substitute teaching pool

The STEDI Model

  1. Establish high expectations for highly trained substitute teachers.
  2. Utilize SubSkills Online Training to raise the skill level of non-certified substitute teachers. Also as initial screening and training prior to hire and paid for by the applicant.
  3. Hold a live training using the Substitute Teacher Handbook allowing time for orientation of new substitute teachers, discussion, observations, and role-play of key skills.
  4. Use Advanced Online Training courses for substitute teachers who are looking to excel and to provide additional training.



Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Pajares, F. (1996). Role of self-efficacy beliefs in the mathematical problem-solving of gifted students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21, 325-344.

Trull, C. (2004). The Effects of Substitute Teacher Training on the Teaching Efficacy of Prospective Substitute Teachers in the State of West Virginia. Blacksburg, VA

For a PDF Download click here.

SubSkills™ Online Training Packages – Our Most Popular

By For Administrators, Training Options

This effective 8-10 hour online training course for current or prospective substitute teachers contains over 50 videos, 95 downloads, 75 examples, and 85 strategies, and provides the most in-depth training available for substitute teachers.

The SubSkills Basic OnlineTraining Package includes the following:

  • SubOrientation™ Online Orientation:  a 25-minute video to orient new substitute teachers.
  • SubSkills™ Online Substitute Teacher Training Course:  Covering topics in Classroom Management, Teaching Strategies, The Professional Substitute Teacher, Special Education, and Fill-In Activities with over 70 activities to download.
  • SubAssessment™:  An online assessment to determine your understanding of the skills presented in the SubSkills Online Substitute Teacher Training Course.
  • SubDiploma™:  A printable course completion certificate in .pdf format (requires Adobe Reader). offers two additional training packages that include the SubSkills Basic Online Training:
SubSkills™ Premium Online Training combines the online course with the Substitute Teacher Handbook, for those who wish to have the print edition as a reference guide.
SubSkills™ Ultimate Online Training combines the initial training with the Substitute Teacher Handbook, PLUS three professional development courses.  A must-have for career-oriented Substitute Teachers!

Contact us at for district volume pricing and to add district specific information to the online training.

SubSkills Training Course is a highly interactive training system specifically designed for school districts and organizations to effectively and economically train their substitute teachers.  Call us at 1-800-922-4693 for more information, or to request a demo. OR request your demo online!

Listen to a Podcast on how one district implemented the SubSkills Training.