We've all been there. A teacher called out and now you're scrambling for coverage, but you've completely exhausted your sub list. Wouldn't it be nice if that list of quality subs was a bit longer?
In this blog post, we'll explore effective strategies to help you grow your sub list with quality educators, so you're never left high and dry.
By focusing on recruitment, training, and building relationships, you can develop a strong and dependable roster of substitute teachers for your preschool or daycare.
How to grow your sub list with quality educators
#1: Establish relationships with local colleges and universities
Build connections with local colleges and universities that offer early childhood education programs. Reach out to faculty members, program coordinators, and career services offices to promote substitute teaching opportunities at your preschool. Attend job fairs or career events at these institutions to engage directly with prospective educators. Building relationships with educational institutions allows you to tap into a pool of aspiring teachers who are passionate about early childhood education and eager to gain valuable experience.
#2: Develop a substitute teacher program
Create a formal substitute teacher program within your preschool. This program can include training sessions specifically designed for substitutes. By offering specialized training, you ensure that your substitutes are prepared and knowledgeable about the expectations and responsibilities of the role. This program can also serve as a recruitment tool, as potential substitutes will be attracted to the professional development opportunities and support you provide.
#3: Maintain an updated substitute list
Keeping your list updated may not grow your list, but it will ensure it's healthy and effective. Maintain contact information, availability, and areas of expertise for each substitute on your list. Regularly communicate with them to ensure their availability and interest in continuing to work as substitutes. Checking in every once and a while will show you value them as a person and a professional, and keep them excited to return to help your preschool when you're in a pinch.
#4: Provide competitive compensation and benefits
Competitive compensation and benefits go a long way to attract and retain quality substitute teachers. Paying substitutes at a rate that is commensurate with their qualifications and experience will make your preschool a more appealing choice for them. Consider offering benefits such as professional development opportunities, access to resources, or the option to participate in staff events and activities. By treating your substitutes as valued members of the team, you can build loyalty and increase the likelihood of their availability when you need them.
#5: Develop a substitute mentorship program
Implement a mentorship program for new substitute teachers. Assign experienced teachers or staff members as mentors to provide guidance and support to substitutes, especially those who are new to your preschool or the field of early childhood education. The mentor can assist substitutes in familiarizing themselves with the classroom routines, policies, and expectations, and serve as a resource for any questions or concerns they may have. A mentorship program helps substitutes feel welcomed, supported, and more likely to accept future assignments.
#6: Grow your sub list with retired educators
Reach out to retired educators in your community to establish relationships. Many retired teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can bring to substitute teaching roles. They may be interested in staying connected to the field of education by occasionally working as substitutes. Attend local retiree association meetings or education-related events to connect with retired educators and communicate the opportunities available at your preschool. Their expertise and passion for teaching can greatly benefit your students when regular teachers are absent.
#7: Engage with parent volunteers
Encourage parents who have a background in education or early childhood development to volunteer as substitute teachers when needed. Establish a process for screening and training parent volunteers to ensure they are familiar with your preschool's policies and procedures. Parent volunteers can provide continuity for the children, as they are already familiar faces within the preschool community. Be transparent about expectations, scheduling, and compensation (if applicable) to maintain professionalism and clarity in the parent-volunteer relationship.
#8: Foster a positive and supportive work environment
Create a positive and supportive work environment that values the contributions of substitute teachers. Treat substitutes with respect, offer guidance, and provide feedback on their performance. Encourage open communication and address any concerns or challenges they may face. A positive work environment encourages substitutes to return and builds a reputation that attracts other quality substitutes to your preschool.
#9: Expand your marketing efforts
Reach out to non-traditional sources to recruit substitute teachers. Consider advertising in local community centers, libraries, churches, or other gathering places where individuals passionate about education may frequent. Casting a wider net increases the likelihood of finding quality substitutes who may not be actively searching for positions through conventional channels.
#10: Utilize online job platforms and networks
Take advantage of online job platforms and networks dedicated to connecting substitute teachers with preschools and educational institutions. Websites like Indeed, or specialized platforms like SubSidekick and SitterTree can help you find last-minute subs when you're in a bind or grow your list for the future. Subs on SitterTree always meet state requirements (including Georgia's DECAL check). You can get started with SitterTree for free, and they can also help you hire for long-term and permanent positions.