Retiring doesn’t mean you have to stop working, particularly if you really enjoy your profession or have some other job you’ve always wanted to try.
If you have a college degree, one of the most rewarding and enjoyable jobs you can readily gain regardless of your age is that of a substitute teacher in one of several school districts in Texas.
Substitute teachers fill in for regular school employees when they use sick, personal, or vacation days. Most school districts have a large pool of available substitutes whom they categorize by their availability, their subject knowledge, and their geographical location.
The substitutes are contacted, usually early in the morning of the day they are needed, or before if a teacher has scheduled time off in advance, and asked if they can take an assignment.
There are several steps to to become a substitute teacher in most school districts in Texas, but with a little elbow grease, most of them can be quickly accomplished.
For starters, you need an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, depending on the district you want to sub in. It doesn’t matter what field your degree is in or when you graduated.
From there, you’ll need a fingerprint card and a background check. If you have a criminal history, of anything more than a misdemeanor, your chances of substitute teaching are slim.
From there, you will need to complete an application with a small application fee on becoming a sub, and provide the school district you wish to sub in with an official transcript from your college days, as well as three letters of recommendation from former supervisors or professional contacts.
For a convenient list of how to contact school districts in your area, visit the Texas Education Agency’s website at http:///tea.texas.gov.
The benefits are numerous of substitute teaching, some obvious, some not so obvious. Getting paid for a day’s work is always a nice benefit of working, and substitute teachers are generally paid weekly on a contract basis. Perhaps the biggest intrinsic benefit is getting to work with children and young adults. As any psychologist can tell you, very few things can invigorate an older person like being surrounded by young, flexible minds eager to learn. The sponge-like ability of children to absorb new information and their hunger for knowledge, and to create and use their imaginations can be absolutely infectious.
Having a substitute teacher share knowledge and life stories with them is a great way for school-aged children to gain new perspectives on a host of subjects, as well as a different perception of the world around them that they might not get from their normal teachers or their parents and older siblings.
When I was in high school, a favorite substitute teacher on campus was a retired gentleman who had formerly been an advertising model for a cigarette company – doing print ads as the legendary “Marlboro Man.” With those days in his rearview mirror, and having learned of the dangers of smoking, he would often talk to classes about the dangers of smoking, something that was not nearly as prevalent 25 years ago as it is in today’s lung cancer conscious society. He didn’t do it with kid gloves on either, but spoke directly and descriptively about friends who had died from smoking cigarettes, and others who had experienced painful surgeries, to the point that they could no longer eat or talk through their mouths.
Were his talks effective? At least on me they were, considering I remember them a good quarter-century later.
Life experience is something that cannot be taught, only shared. Whether you spent your working days in an office, a factory, a foreign country, the military, or anywhere in between, you have stories to share and relative information that children will soak up like a sponge.
Your passions and interest in subjects also can be a great help to children. Teachers usually leave behind daily lesson plans for substitutes to impart, and your knowledge of subjects from math to science to English to history might be the catalyst that lets a student make a breakthrough on a difficult question or assignment; your story of personal experience with a particular subject might be the inspiration that sets a child on a career path they hadn’t previously considered.
The rewards of substitute teaching, whether you previously had a career in education or not, are numerous and tremendous. If you want to find a great way to give back to your community, interact with tomorrow’s leaders, and get paid to do so, consider contacting your local school district to ask about its substitute teacher program today.
Conservatory at Alden Bridge is here to provide our Seniors with a variety of ways to stay active and engaged in the community. Learn about our programs and amenities when you contact us today at 832.400.6577.