Most teachers have at some point in their career worked as a sub. During my first year out, I subbed in 5/6 schools from September – December and was lucky enough to get a Part Time resource contract from January to March due to getting to know the school and staff and working as a sub there.


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  • Visit schools with your CV and a small business card (Name, location, degree, phone number – just print on card and laminate)
  • Try to meet the principal (not always available). Make sure to be very friendly to everyone you meet.
  • Volunteer in the local school – September can be a very quiet month for subbing. (Offer to help out 1/2 days a week – gives you good experience and you get to know the staff/principal and then get called when there is subbing available.)



Working in a school

  • Arrive early (but not too early). If it is your first day in a new school arrive about 20-30 minutes before school is due to start. This shows you are eager to get started and are reliable and dependable. (Don’t arrive too early as there might be no one available to show you where to go or what to do  – therefore putting pressure on principal/secretary)
  • Be prepared – have a few lesson ideas for each class level (Junior/Senior Infants, 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th and 5th/6th). Have a look at their copies/books and see what has been completed recently – this will give you an idea of what to cover.
  • If the teacher has left a list of what he/she wants covered then do this FIRST before you do any of your own lessons.
  • Classroom management – this is very important and can be the difference between getting asked back or not.
  • Don’t repeat what has already been covered.

During my dip year,  I was in a car accident on a Saturday night at the beginning of October (4 weeks into the school year) and was out of work for a week. A substitute teacher was called in for the week (also newly qualified). On display at the back of the classroom I had Acrostic poems that each child had written – they took up an entire noticeboard so I was really annoyed to find a book of acrostic poems on the table that the children had completed with the substitute teacher. Please be careful if you are subbing that you don’t repeat what has already been done.

  • Make sure to correct anything that you have done with the class!
  • Pop into the principal when you leave to say thanks.


(Images from My Cute Graphics and Clip Art Panda)