Substitutes Pre-hire Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The decision to become a substitute teacher is not one that should be made lightly. Anyone considering this employment opportunity should be armed with as much information as is available regarding what is required both to become a substitute and to succeed as a substitute after hiring.

Pre-hire questions

  1. Why would someone want to be a substitute teacher?
  2. Where can I find the information on qualifications, salary, and application procedures for substitute employment?
  3. What are the steps in becoming a substitute teacher?
  4. Why do I have to attend an "Orientation" session?
  5. What is the difference between substitute teachers and para-professional substitutes?
  6. What is expected of substitute teachers?
  7. What grade levels or subjects can I teach as a substitute?
  8. Do substitutes have to teach at all the District schools?
  9. Can I substitute in bilingual classrooms if I speak a little Spanish? 
  10. What is special education? Will I be able to substitute in classes with "special needs" children?
  11. If I decide that I want to work with students with special needs, will I receive any training before starting? 
  12. Am I paid more for working in a special education classroom? 
  13. Will the substitute teachers be treated with respect? Can they expect any support from the school staff?
  14. Where can I get additional information on becoming a full time, certified teacher?
  15. Can retired employees be hired as substitutes? If so, are there any restrictions I should be aware of?
  1. Why would someone want to be a substitute teacher? Many persons who are thinking about teaching as a career find that working as a substitute teacher gives them valuable insights into the teaching profession. Some retired teachers want to continue to teach and work with children. Some people want to find out more about the schools and the educational process from which their children benefit. But all have one thing in common: a desire to work with children and youth and to share in the exhilaration that comes from the teaching/learning experience.

  2. Where can I find the information on qualifications, salary, and application procedures for substitute employment? 

    1. Substitute Teacher Application Instructions

    2. Substitute Paraprofessional Application Instructions
  3. What are the steps in becoming a substitute teacher?

    1. Complete the on-line application.
    2. Print out your application, and the following completed documents:
      1. W-4
      2. Direct Deposit
      3. I-9 Eligibility
    3. Obtain official college transcripts OR a copy of teacher certification
    4. Bring all documents in 1-3 to the Sub Office during application processing date/times.
    5. At that time the Sub Office staff will provide you with a) information on completing the State required fingerprinting procedure AND b) information about signing up for the required on-line Orientation.
    6. After you have successfully completed the Orientation (you must earn a score of 80% or higher to complete it) you will report to the Sub Office to:
      1.  finalize your paperwork,
      2.  get your photo ID, and
      3.  receive your Substitute Employee Handbook and three evaluations.
    7.  Some applicants will also be required to attend a FREE one-day training session prior to receiving their ID badge.  (Training is required for those persons who have never taught children before.)
      NOTE: You will not receive your Substitute Badge until your fingerprint results have cleared.
    8. Once you have received your I.D., you can register over the phone with the SmartFind Express system and begin searching for and accepting substitute teaching jobs.
  4. Why do I have to attend an "Orientation" session? All substitutes who are new to Northside ISD must complete the one-time only Orientation which includes information about the roles and responsibilities of the substitute. Substitutes are also shown how to use the SmartFind Express system which is used to record employee absences and to find substitutes to fill the absences.

  5. What is the difference between substitute teachers and para-professional substitutes? Substitute teachers take the place of the regular teachers when they need to be absent. They have the full responsibility and authority of the regular teacher and are expected to carry out the teacher's lesson plans and maintain discipline in the classroom. A paraprofessional substitute takes the place of instructional assistants or office staff when they are absent. They will always have a professional staff member to assist them in carrying out their duties.

  6. What is expected of substitute teachers?  The essential roles and responsibilities of the substitute teacher are detailed in the NISD Substitute Teacher Handbook which will be given to NISD substitutes once hired. Briefly stated, substitute teachers are expected to carry out two responsibilities: follow the regular teachers' lesson plans, and maintain discipline in the classroom at a level in which learning can take place. Additionally, we require that these two responsibilities will be carried out in a climate of respect and caring for the students.

  7. What grade levels or subjects can I teach as a substitute? Substitutes may choose to teach any subject or at any grade level they feel comfortable and competent with. When the substitutes complete the application, they are asked to specify these preferences which are then entered into the SmartFind Express system. The substitute’s availability or unavailability days can be set up by the substitute, and then later changed if needed.

  8. Do substitutes have to teach at all the District schools? No.  Some substitutes work at only a few schools within a specific geographic region close to their homes; others work only at the District's high schools or elementary schools. Their selection of schools is a part of the application process. (A District map and School Directory are available to assist with the selection process.)

  9. Can I substitute in bilingual classrooms if I speak a little Spanish? NO. The children in bilingual classrooms need for their teachers and assistants to be fluent Spanish.

  10. What is special education? Will I be able to substitute in classes with "special needs" children?  The Special Education website provides answers to some of your questions about special needs students.  Please take time to visit the Special Education website

  11. If I decide that I want to work with students with special needs, will I receive any training before starting? Yes—in fact, unless you are a certified special education teacher, you MUST attend our training program for substitute teachers and paraprofessionals, provided at no charge to interested substitutes. The training consists of two courses—one on-line offered by STEDI.org from the University of Utah, and the other provided in person by Northside specialists. You will be given information on how to sign up for this training after you have completed the application process.

  12. Am I paid more for working in a special education classroom?  Yes. Northside pays an additional salary supplement of $10 per day to substitute teachers and $12 per day to paraprofessional substitutes who work in certain special education classrooms and locations. 

  13. Will the substitute teachers be treated with respect? Can they expect any support from the school staff? Northside ISD prides itself on having "family-friendly" schools. It is also a District priority to have "substitute-friendly schools." Substitute teachers can expect a high degree of support and assistance from all school personnel. Everyone is concerned for the success of our substitute teachers...even many of the students!

  14. Where can I get additional information on becoming a full time, certified teacher?  One excellent source of information is the Texas Education Agency’s web page, Alternative certification programs (ACP’s).  In addition, you can contact your local college or university to get additional information on their programs of teacher certification.

  15. Can retired employees be hired as substitutes?  Yes, retired teachers and other former employees can be hired as substitutes—either as teachers or paraprofessionals. However, there may be certain restrictions regarding the number of days they can work as substitutes, depending on whether they are filling in for an absent employee or working in a vacant position. The retiree should always check with TRS before beginning work in order to ensure that they will not suffer any penalties or loss of benefits when working as a substitute. Click here to view a summary of Northside’s rules for hiring retirees as substitutes.