Considering Substitute Teaching?

Have you been considering putting yourself out there as a substitute teacher, but are stuck in your indecision? If that’s you – keep reading ????

Under the new COVID-19 policy, schools are preparing to regularly need substitute teachers. With regulations requiring teachers to stay home if they are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms, it’s expected that there’s going to be a massive demand for subs. 

We’ve put together some pros and cons of substitute teaching to make your decision a little easier. 


Substitute teaching most definitely has its perks. For someone who is starting out their teaching career, there are many ways you could benefit from subbing. On the opposite end, if you are phasing out of teaching and are looking for some more ‘you time’, this might be the perfect opportunity.  

Work flexibility 

You aren’t committed to a permanent job. You would have full control over your work schedule and have the freedom of picking and choosing the jobs you want to accept. Subbing is even flexible enough that it could be a side-income to another job. 

Even if you chose to sub in for the same hours as a permanent teacher would be working, you still have the benefit of a teacher’s day-time working hours, as well as guaranteed time off during the school holidays. 

Variety and change

If you’re someone who likes change and doesn’t like being tied down by a repetitive job, substitute teaching would be great for you! The job allows you to switch up your work environment, going between various schools and grades. 

With the constant change that comes with substitute teaching, and never really knowing what type of class you’re going to be walking into, you can always expect to face new challenges. Be ready to seriously test your critical thinking skills. 

Gain valuable experience 

For someone who is just starting out on their teaching journey, this is a great opportunity to get yourself some experience. The diversity of your skills will be impressive after teaching between different schools and amongst different ages. Substitute teaching gives you the space to learn your strengths and weaknesses, and the grace to improve where you can. 

This is also a great way of getting your foot in the door for a future permanent teaching opportunity. Finding a full-time teaching position is tough because schools often like to hire internally. However, if they are impressed with you as a substitute teacher, there is a good chance they would consider you for a permanent position.


Although the pros seem to outweigh the cons, you should still carefully consider your personal situation before you decide that this is the direction you are wanting to go. 

Unstable income

Unlike a full-time teacher, who earns an annual salary and is still paid through the school holidays, while subs are only paid daily or hourly. There is no guarantee of regular work, and you might need to travel further than you want to find consistent work. If you’re looking for a stable income, substitute teaching might not be the ideal work situation for you.

Benefits aren’t guaranteed 

Permanent teachers are generally offered employee benefits, such as health insurance or a pension fund contribution. Even if you are subbing over the same number of hours as a full-timer, it’s very unlikely you will receive any job benefits. 

The best part about all of this, is that substitute teaching doesn’t require any commitment from you. If you have gone ahead and decided to try it out and it ends up not working for you, you have the freedom to just move on. 

This ever-changing style of teaching can come with stress for some, but the job is for sure a rewarding one. You’ll have so many chances to make a difference in a child’s life, so if that’s where your desires lie, then this could be the perfect teaching job for you.  

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Our weekly mailer highlights all the best teaching resources (from original teacher-made lesson plans, worksheets, videos, assessments, and workbooks, to interactive lesson materials and more). We also send a monthly round-up of our most popular Teacha!/Onnies Online articles, providing you with ideas, tips, and inspiration.