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Substitute teachers

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A substitute teacher is a person who teaches a school class when the regular teacher is unavailable (e.g., because of illness, personal leave, or other reasons. While "substitute teacher" is the generally used phrase in the United States, Canada and Ireland, supply teacher is the more common term in the United Kingdom (though the term is also used in Canada), and relief teacher is used in Australia.

General qualifications

In some regions, the qualifications for substitute teaching may not be as strict as a regular teacher. Some areas require a college degree and the successful completion of competency tests; others require only that the applicant possess a high school diploma or its equivalent; others again insist on possession of full teaching qualifications. Some authorities will allow a substitute teacher without any training in the subject to be taught and who may simply be present so that students can maintain the routine of going to their regularly scheduled class, even if no new material is covered. Some school administrators may not hire full-time teachers unless they have had substitute teaching experience. [1]


Rates of pay for substitute teachers vary widely depending on geographic location, length of assignment and teacher qualifications.

In the United States the position's national average is about US$80 per day, with rural districts paying as low as $40 per day and larger, urban districts, paying over $200 per day.[2][3][4]. In the Republic of Ireland, substitute teachers are paid a rate of 41 EUR per hour.

In the United Kingdom, supply teachers employed by a local education authority or school directly must be paid a daily rate of 1/195 of the annual salary to which they would be entitled were they employed in the position on a full-time basis.[5] Teachers employed through agencies are not subject to this rule, but nevertheless daily rates are generally around UK£100-125.

Substitute Educator's Day

The United States observes a Substitute Educator's Day, which was instituted by the National Education Association (NEA). The purpose of this day is to highlight the role and importance of the substitute teacher by providing information about, advocating for, and helping to increase appreciation and respect for this unique professional. This day also focuses on the needs of substitutes, which include better wages and health benefits and continual professional development. Substitute Educator's Day is observed on the Friday during American Education Week. Other countries and jurisdictions have similar observances.


  1. Not Just a Warm Body: Changing Images of the Substitute Teacher. ERIC Digest
  2. Requirements for substitute teachers in the US
  3. National Substitute Teachers Alliance - NSTA
  5. Supply teachers Pay, conditions & working time Sept 2006- Aug 2007. National Union of Teachers. URL accessed on 2006-12-28.

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