Post-hire Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. After I substitute for a while, can I change the campuses and subjects taught?
  2. I am having trouble with the SmartFind Express System. What do I do?
  3. What should substitute teachers do if they have to cancel a job they have already accepted?
  4. Substitutes must be evaluated the first three times they accept jobs in the District. Are the completed evaluations available to the substitute? Can additional copies of the evaluations be requested by the substitutes?
  5. Since one of the basic assumptions schools have for substitute teacher is that they will follow the teachers' lesson plans, what do subs do if the teacher has left no lesson plans for the substitute?
  6. Are there other sources of information on lesson plans I can use in preparing for a particular substitute teaching assignment?
  7. How do substitutes prepare for the beginning of the day and what do they do when the students arrive in the classroom?
  8. When substitute teachers have difficulty carrying out their duties, whether because of poor lesson plans or severe discipline problems, to whom can they turn for help?
  9. Should substitutes allow students to visit the school nurse every time they ask to do so? What if they are faking an illness to get out of class?
  10. What about restroom passes? Should substitutes let students go to the restroom every time they say they need to?
  11. How are substitute teachers expected to handle discipline problems in the classroom?
  12. I sometimes get called to substitute for a special education teacher, but I'm not sure what to expect. Where can I get more information of special needs students and the classes and programs in which I might be working?
  13. I didn't sign up to substitute in a special education classroom. Why are there special education students in the regular classrooms?
  14. What is the legal liability of substitute teachers?
  15. Can substitute teachers share their religious beliefs with students in the classroom?
  16. How do I continue working as a substitute from year to year?
  17. Where can I get additional information on becoming a full time, certified teacher?
  18. Who do I contact for information about my paycheck?
  1. After I substitute for a while, can I change the schools and subjects taught? The locations and classifications of subjects taught are a part of the Substitute’s profile.  It is the responsibility of the substitute to keep this profile current.  All changes should be made in writing and can either be mailed to the Substitute Office or e-mailed to suboffice@nisd.net. Please keep all information, including your address and phone numbers, current.

  2. I am having trouble with the SmartFind Express System. What do I do? First, refer to the instructions in the appendix in the Substitute Teachers Handbook. The instructions are thorough. If you still have problems with the system, call the Substitute Office at 397-8600.

  3. What should substitute teachers do if they have to cancel a job they have already accepted? Not a problem! Substitute teachers and their families get sick too. The important thing for the substitute to do is cancel the job as soon as possible so that the SmartFind Express System can begin finding another substitute for the job. A job can be canceled through the SmartFind Express System up until 6:00 a.m. on the day of the job. After that time, the substitute must contact the school directly.

  4. Substitutes must be evaluated the first three times they accept jobs in the District. Are the completed evaluations available to the substitute? The evaluations are available for viewing by substitutes in the Substitute Office. Additional information on NISD's substitute evaluation process is available in the Substitute Handbook.

  5. Since one of the basic assumptions schools have for substitute teacher is that they will follow the teachers' lesson plans, what do subs do if the teacher has left no lesson plans for the substitute? On rare occasions, a teacher may fail to leave lesson plans or leave plans that are inadequate for a substitute to carry out their duties as guest teacher. If this happens, the substitute should immediately SEEK HELP. Other teachers who teach the same grade level of subject matter will be able to assist the substitute. At the Elementary schools, grade level chairpersons can assist. At the High Schools, a department chairperson is always available for help. At the Middle School, Academic Team Leaders can assist the substitute with lesson plans and other instructional activities. In the unlikely event that none of these persons is available, the substitute should seek help from the office.

  6. Are there other sources of information on lesson plans I can use in preparing for a particular substitute teaching assignment? Yes, there are several internet sites you can visit that are very helpful in providing assistance in developing lesson plans. The Lesson Plans Page is particularly noteworthy. But remember that teachers expect you to follow their lesson plans whenever possible.

  7. How do substitutes prepare for the beginning of the day and what do they do when the students arrive in the classroom? Every successful substitute teacher will say that the key to effective substitute teaching is to arrive early. In addition to an early arrival, there are numerous steps the substitute should take to prepare for a successful day of teaching. Most of these can be found in the sections of the K-12 Handbook for Substitute Teachers, published by Utah State University, titled, "Checklists for Subs," and "Expectations of Subs." (The Handbook is available in all school libraries, in the Professional Library at the Northside Activity Center, and may be purchased on-line at http://stedi.org/)

  8. When substitute teachers have difficulty carrying out their duties, whether because of poor lesson plans or severe discipline problems, to whom can they turn for help? The first and best source for assistance is the school administrators. These professionals are responsible for providing substitutes with the resources and support they need to succeed as guest teachers in their schools. Only if repeated attempts to gain assistance from the school administrators have failed should the Substitute Office be contacted.

  9. Should substitutes allow students to visit the school nurse every time they ask to do so? What if they are faking an illness to get out of class? Substitutes should never deny a student's request to go to the nurse. It is the nurse's responsibility to determine whether or not a child is ill--not the substitute teacher's.

  10. What about restroom passes? Should substitutes let students go to the restroom every time they say they need to? Each grade level has its own schedule for bathroom visits and the students are aware of the "restroom routine." If a child expresses a need to go to the bathroom at times outside of the established routine, substitutes should not deny them their requests, but instead should allow the visits and leave a note for the regular teacher regarding the requests. The teacher can follow up with the student later to determine whether or not the unusual requests suggest a medical or behavioral problem.

  11. How are substitute teachers expected to handle discipline problems in the classroom? Simply stated, substitutes are expected to handle discipline in a firm but fair manner, with consistency and respect for the children and youth under their care. They should be able to separate the students' behaviors from the students themselves. The training provided by Human Resources (see #1 above) gives numerous strategies for dealing with a wide variety of "discipline problems." Many of these are also detailed in the "Student Disciplinary Scenarios" section of the Handbook for Substitute Teachers, published by Stedi.org. The NISD Substitute Teachers Handbook stresses repeatedly that substitute teachers are never to use physical force with students. They should not use sarcasm with students. Nor should they shout at the students, insult them, or otherwise verbally attack them. (See the Discipline section of NISD's Substitute Teacher Handbook or the website entitled, Discipline Help.)

  12. I sometimes get called to substitute for a special education teacher, but I'm not sure what to expect. Where can I get more information of special needs students and the classes and programs in which I might be working? The Substitute Teacher Handbook has some basic information about Special Education Programs and Campuses in Northside. You can also read more about all these topics in the District's Special Education website. And there is additional information on this site's Internet Resources page.

  13. I didn't sign up to substitute in a special education classroom. Why are there special education students in the regular classrooms? The philosophy and strategies of inclusion and collaboration require that all students be educated in the "least restrictive environment" possible, so that special needs students are always included in the "regular" classroom to the fullest possible extent. Please read more about the topic of inclusion and collaborative instruction on the Special Education website.

  14. What is the legal liability of substitute teachers? In 2003, the Texas Legislature signed into law S.B. 930 which extended to substitute teachers the same qualified (limited) immunity from legal liability afforded the regular classroom teacher under State statute. This immunity is guaranteed as long as substitute teachers are using discretion and good judgment in carrying out the duties and responsibilities assigned to them, and do not use unnecessary force in disciplining students, However, this immunity from legal liability does not extend to injuries involving motor vehicles nor to violations of a student's Constitutionally protected rights. (Texas Education Code, Chapter 22, Subchapter B, Section 22.051--amended) The No Child Left Behind Act also has a provision granting limited immunity to teachers acting in the scope of their duties and not using excessive force when disciplining students.

  15. Can substitute teachers share their religious beliefs with students in the classroom? Like other employees of the district, substitutes must maintain a posture of "neutrality" regarding religion in the classroom and in other activities and areas of the school. School employees shouldn't lead students in prayer or join them in any way other than to monitor their activities. As employees of a school district, substitutes are acting as "agents of the state" when carrying out their duties and are prohibited from advancing their own religious beliefs in the schools.

  16. How do I continue working as a substitute from year to year?  Is there anything I need to do at the start of a new year? Sometime near the end of each school year, a memo or an email is sent to all active substitute teachers instructing them what needs to be done to work again as a substitute the next year. The current procedures require the substitute to come by Human Resources at the date and time specified to get a new photo I.D. and Handbook, and to complete new paperwork for the next pay cycle.

  17. Where can I get additional information on becoming a full time, certified teacher? One excellent source of information is the Texas Education Agency’s website, Becoming a Classroom Teacher in Texas.  In addition, you can contact your local college or university to get additional information on their programs of teacher certification.

  18. Who do I contact for information about my paycheck? You can contact the payroll office regarding any discrepancies you may discover in your paycheck at (210) 397-8675.