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No Substitute for Experience

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No Substitute for Experience

Balloons welcome visitors to the Substitute Consortium at the Sanford Center.

Balloons welcome visitors to the Substitute Consortium at the Sanford Center.

Balloons welcome visitors to the Substitute Consortium at the Sanford Center.

Balloons welcome visitors to the Substitute Consortium at the Sanford Center.

Richard A. Lloreda

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Nearly 100 alumni and students attended the National University and Del Mar Union District Open House on the evening of June 15 at the Sanford Education Center in La Jolla, California. The talk was to inform National University students and alumni of the substitute teaching opportunities available especially in Del Mar, where more than 30 teachers are on maternity or personal leave. The North County Coastal Substitute Consortium (NCCSC) districts include Cardiff, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe Solano Beach and Del Mar.

There are many attractive reasons to pursue substitute teaching. Subs can choose their own schedules. They can even choose where they work. For students holding a four-year degree in any discipline or pursuing a master’s degree in education, substitute teaching is a good way to gain great work experience.

Substitute teaching is especially attractive to students with family responsibilities and also for people who would like time off during major holidays. And the pay is good. For example, for a six-hour day, a substitute teacher makes $120, and in some districts $130. Plus the workday often ends by 3 or 4 p.m.

Getting Started

The goal of the NCCSC is to put students and alumni into their pool of 27 schools and to help them network for jobs across the district. The application process for becoming a substitute teacher is simple, but finding a way to make yourself stand out will make you even more desirable. Developing networking skills will help. You’ll also get a better sense of your professional strengths and weaknesses.

You’ll want to create a profile page on the education job board EDJOIN and carefully follow the instructions. Review the requirements carefully. Customize your cover letter and strive for a personalized approach. Use this as an opportunity to present yourself at your best. Show that you cared enough to research the position and the district where you are applying. Always address your letters to a specific person and district, and not the generic, “To whom it may concern.”

Create a package or a file and use this as a reference guide to customize and update as you go through the job searching process.

Your resume should be one to two pages—no longer. Don’t overload it. Use bullet points and find a format that quickly highlights your skills. Include a cover letter and reference letters (letters from satisfied parents always help), and make sure to use a professional email address. Make your application package as visually pleasing as possible.

Think of this process the first step in branding yourself.

This isn’t a time to be coy. Sell yourself but don’t be aggressive.

According to Jason E. Romero, one of the lead speakers for the Del Mar Union School District, “We are looking for creative and collaborative people … tell your own personal story about why teaching is important to you.”

Teaching is a noble profession. Romero says, “We are addressing careers that haven’t even been invented yet and think how we will teach the teachers to teach these students.”

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Richard A. Lloreda, Assistant Editor

Richard A. Lloreda is a recent graduate from National University's Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications program. He is inspired by writing, music,...

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No Substitute for Experience