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. What is expected of substitute teachers? Will they have to grade papers and meet with the students' parents?
  3. What are the steps in becoming a substitute teacher?
  4. Why do I have to attend an "Orientation" session?
  5. Where can I find the information on qualifications, salary, and application procedures for substitute employment?
  6. What is the difference between substitute teachers and para-professional substitutes?
  7. Is any training available to the new substitute teacher?
  8. What grade levels or subjects can I teach as a substitute?
  9. Do substitutes have to teach at all the District schools?
  10. What is special education? Will I be able to substitute in classes with "special needs" children?
  11. Will the substitute teachers be treated with respect? Can they expect any support from the school staff?
  12. Where can I get additional information on becoming a full time, certified teacher?
  13. 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. What is expected of substitute teachers? Will they have to grade papers and meet with the students' parents? The essential roles and responsibilities of the substitute teacher are detailed in the NISD Substitute Teacher Handbook and the SDCOE Handbook for Substitutes. 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. An additional expectation is that these two responsibilities will be carried out in a climate of respect and caring for the students.

  3. What are the steps in becoming a substitute teacher? After completing the application process, you must attend a four-hour Orientation. If your application is accepted, you will be informed of the date, time, and location of the Orientation. You will receive your photo ID at the conclusion of the Orientation, unless you are required to attend the FREE one-day training session. (Required for those persons who have never taught children before.) . Once you have received your I.D., you can "voice activate" 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 attend a one-time only Orientation at which time the roles and responsibilities of the substitute are explained and discussed. 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. Where can I find the information on qualifications, salary, and application procedures for substitute employment?

  6. 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.

  7. Is any training available to the new substitute teacher? Yes, Human Resources provides two types of training for substitute teachers. A six-hour pre-service training is required for persons who have never taught children before. In addition, optional training is available through the District's Continuing Education Department. (Refer to the Handbook for additional information--see "Training" on Page 1, Introduction.)

  8. 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 specify these preferences which are put into the SmartFind Express system along with the days of the week the substitute is available to work. These can be changed at any time the substitute feels a need to do so.

  9. Do substitutes have to teach at all the District schools? No, our guest teachers can teach at any or all of the schools. 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 provided to assist with the selection process.)

  10. What is special education? Will I be able to substitute in classes with "special needs" children? The Special Education website will provide answers to all of your questions about special needs students, inclusion philosophy and strategies, and Northside special education programs, services, and campuses. Yes, you are eligible to substitute in these classes and on those campuses if you wish; and you are invited to do so. Please take time to visit the Special Education website.

  11. 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!

  12. Where can I get additional information on becoming a full time, certified teacher? Try the teacher career exploration site at the Education Service Center, Region 20, titled, "If You Love It, Teach It." Another excellent source of information is the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) who has an extensive list of questions and answers at "How to Become a Teacher in Texas." In addition, you can contact your local college or university to get additional information on their programs of teacher certification.

  13. Can retired employees be hired as substitutes? If so, are there any restrictions I should be aware of? Yes, retired teachers and other former employees can be hired as substitutes—either as teachers, as paraprofessionals  or as administrators.  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.