Why this matters:

A substitute teacher should be able to adequately follow the instructions left by the permanent teacher. They should possess the management and leadership skills to conduct lessons throughout the day while maximizing engagement and minimizing distraction. The candidate’s approach to this initial step will reveal their ability to assess information, follow directions, and prioritize tasks.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to follow directions
  • Good organizational skills

Why this matters:

Keeping children engaged requires classroom management skills and dynamic teaching strategies. Without their usual teacher there to instruct and discipline, students may feel emboldened to ignore classroom rules. Substitute teachers should have strategies for keeping students on task and maintaining their attention in order to facilitate the learning process.

What to listen for:

  • Strategies for keeping students’ attention
  • Patience and understanding for students

Why this matters:

Approaches to teaching evolve, and substitute teachers should understand a variety of teaching strategies before stepping foot in the classroom. Qualified substitute teachers must demonstrate flexibility in utilizing different teaching styles and executing various types of lessons. They must adapt to meet the needs of each student, and adjust their approach at each school they’re working in.

What to listen for:

  • An understanding of different teaching styles
  • Method of staying informed about current teaching practices

Why this matters:

Substitute teachers are required to supervise students and maintain a positive and productive learning environment. That’s not easy, and substitutes must work well under pressure and come equipped with strategies to address student behavior that disrupts the learning process. A candidate’s answer will help you determine how they’d manage challenging situations, and get a distracted or difficult student back on track.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to work well in challenging situations
  • Excellent conflict resolution skills
  • Patience and knowledge of how to work with children or teenagers

 

Why this matters:

In emergency circumstances, a permanent teacher may not leave a lesson plan. This requires substitutes to be resourceful and think on their feet. Substitute teachers may need to quickly come up with a lesson plan or demonstrate initiative by reaching out to other teachers for insights or instruction.

 

What to listen for:

  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work well in stressful situations
  • Flexibility and adaptability

Why this matters:

Substitute teachers will have teaching experiences that lead to full-time or long-term jobs. If they make an impact on the class, they’ll often be asked to come back when teachers need someone to fill in for them again. A candidate’s answer to this question will tell you how they’d respond to a challenging situation and reveal what they’re capable of doing with this role.

What to listen for:

  • Passion and excitement in their voice
  • Excellent teaching skills
  • Good interpersonal skill and ability to make connections

Why this matters:

It’s important for substitute teachers to have a genuine interest in and passion for both learning and teaching. A candidate’s answer to this question will reveal their enthusiasm for education, and provide insight into their personal interests, skills, and strengths, giving you a better idea of what subjects and age groups they’re qualified to teach.

What to listen for:

  • Passion and excitement
  • Interest in various topics and subjects
  • Diverse knowledge and experience in various subjects

Why this matters:

Substitute teachers should be passionate about education and dedicated to helping students learn. This question may reveal the candidate’s personality and motivations behind substitute teaching, which will help you determine if their priorities and values align with those of your school.

What to listen for:

  • Commitment to education
  • Personal attributes that make up a good substitute teacher
  • Inspirations and motivations behind their decision to enter this field

Why this matters:

Substitute teachers may need to connect with the regular staff and faculty in order to access key resources or gain information about important school procedures. If substitute teachers need assistance from faculty, they should feel comfortable communicating with permanent teachers.

What to listen for:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Personable, friendly personality
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