Substitute teachers: tasks, salary, training + application

Substitute teachers are temporary crammers – with prospects for more. Not everyone who wants to step in front of a class has to have a teaching degree anymore. Career changers have a real chance of moving up into the teaching profession. How to become a substitute teacher? What do I need to have and how do I apply?? Career Bible has the most important information for you.

➠ Contents: What to expect

Substitute teachers Tasks

The substitute teacher is also known as a substitute teacher. Or simply substitute. In principle, this already says the most important thing. The substitute teacher replaces a teacher who is prevented from teaching. It helps to avoid lesson cancellations. These three reasons are probably the most common:

This means that the substitute teacher is not hired on a permanent basis, but is given a temporary contract for a limited period of time. If the "regular staff" returns, the substitute teacher becomes superfluous.

For example, in Berlin, according to the Senate Administration, Berlin’s public schools can self-manage up to three percent of their recognized teaching needs. In plain language: With this budget, they can hire substitute teachers.

Substitute teacher training

As a rule, certified teachers have a university degree that concludes with the first state examination. This is followed by a traineeship, at the end of which the second state examination is taken. After a transitional period, teachers have the prospect of permanent tenure.

Ideally, substitute teachers also have this training. However, the reality shows a different picture, as there has been a glaring shortage of specialists at all types of schools for years now. Therefore, some substitute teachers bring a completely different education with them. In addition, school policy in Germany is a matter for the states.

Requirements for substitute teachers

The admission requirements are not uniformly regulated throughout Germany. But they are similar. In Berlin, these groups are eligible as substitute teachers, according to official data:

  • Teachers with 1. and 2. State examination for a teaching profession
  • Teachers with 1. State examination for a teaching profession
  • Retired or retired teachers
  • University and technical college graduates
  • Students

But: The decision-making power ultimately lies with the individual school administrations. They run the selection process and give the okay or give the thumbs down. It is therefore also conceivable that career changers will be able to enter the profession – without having to complete a degree. The same as in North Rhine-Westphalia. The list of potential candidates is a bit longer here. According to the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Education, preference is given to..

  • Teachers without permanent employment in the school service
  • Teachers on leave of absence
  • Retirees after leaving the teaching profession

However, candidates without a teaching degree or completely without a degree also have a chance if the market does not provide these desired candidates. According to the Ministry of Education, the following applicants are also eligible as substitute teachers:

  • University graduates with teaching qualifications who are suitable for the teaching profession
  • Students (especially those studying to be teachers) who are eligible for the teaching profession
  • University graduates without a teaching degree who are suitable for the teaching profession
  • Persons who have completed vocational training without a teaching qualification and who are suitable for the teaching profession
  • Part-time persons without a teaching qualification who are suitable for the school service

The last two points in particular indicate: In North Rhine-Westphalia, career changers do not need a degree to become a substitute teacher. The decisive note is: "Those who are suitable for the teaching profession." And this is a matter of interpretation. Even in the western part of the country, school administrators and school supervisors ultimately decide whether someone is sufficiently qualified and suitable for the position of substitute teacher. It is therefore very conceivable that a career changer from industry without any pedagogical training could become a substitute teacher in a subject that is in short supply, such as physics – as long as he or she cuts a good figure in the application process.

Also in Baden-Wurttemberg Persons without a teaching qualification can be given lower priority for corresponding jobs if no applicants with a teaching qualification are available."In the Free State of Saxony, these groups are eligible to be substitute teachers, according to the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs:

  • Teachers seeking employment
  • Graduates of teacher training programs who would like to bridge the period between their university degree and the start of the preparatory service
  • Teachers who have left active teaching service due to age
  • Teachers on leave
  • Applicants without a teaching qualification with another suitable university degree for a teaching position at school (for example, graduate mathematicians, computer scientists, musicians, and others)

For all interested career changers, the following applies: First get an idea of the specific requirements in your (desired) federal state.

Substitute teacher salary

General statements about the salary of a substitute teacher are not possible. It depends on the state, type of school, qualifications, and number of hours. But it is basically below the level of permanent employees. So-called "Erfuller", i.e. teachers who, for example, fulfill all qualifications according to the Teacher Training Act of North Rhine-Westphalia, are usually classified between pay groups 11 and 13. Pay group 11 applies to primary, lower secondary, intermediate and comprehensive schools, 13 to grammar schools (and as a Studienrat also to comprehensive schools) and vocational colleges. Salaries for education teachers increase with experience from level 1 (none) to level 3 (several years of experience).

Significantly higher salaries due to civil servant status and bonuses are possible in positions such as study councilor, senior study councilor or as a head teacher. However, it also depends on whether someone is a head teacher at an elementary school or a high school.

Tip for all substitute teachers: Don’t let your Christmas bonus slip through your fingers! Under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to a Christmas bonus if you start working on the 1st of January. December are employed. Whether you receive a Christmas bonus, and if so, how much, varies from state to state and from collective bargaining agreement to collective bargaining agreement. So be sure to find out if your contract as a substitute teacher exceeds the 1. December includes.

Career opportunities: the prospects as a substitute teacher?

The aforementioned shortage of skilled workers currently offers good prospects for substitute teacher positions. In principle, every type of school is looking for teachers: elementary school teachers are just as much in demand as substitute teachers at Hauptschulen, Realschulen, Gesamtschulen and Gymnasien. Vocational schools also offer a welcome field of activity for lateral entry. They appreciate even more the practical relevance with experienced employees who want to change their career.

Those with a degree If you have a degree in a natural science subject, you will probably have much better chances as a substitute teacher than a Germanist or historian. The same applies to musicians and computer scientists.

Benefits of being a substitute teacher

Especially for students or graduates, a job as a substitute teacher can be worthwhile. You can bridge the time between graduation from university and the beginning of your traineeship, gain experience and earn money. Career changers get a taste of everyday teaching life as a substitute and find out whether the profession can really become a long-term dream job. And at best, they recommend themselves for a permanent position.

For example, the Baden-Wurttemberg Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs writes on its homepage: "Successful substitute activities can be taken into account through the hiring process Additional qualifications to promote hiring." North Rhine-Westphalia even calculates exactly. "By taking on a substitute position in the public school service of the state of NRW, you can improve your order group after completing your preparatory service. This is calculated from the average of the first and second state exams."However, this only applies to teachers with the second state examination.

Disadvantages of being a substitute teacher?

It cannot be dismissed out of hand. Substitute teachers are emergency stuffers – and are sometimes treated as such. Their standing can be compared to that of a temporary employee on the job. Does the same job, but makes less money and is considered a second-class worker.

Next disadvantage: the time limit. It should be noted that these are substitute positions, not permanent positions. At the end of the contract period, the job is usually gone again. And the duration can vary. A look at the NRW system Verena reveals: Many substitute positions are only for a few months. Sometimes even only to a single or two months. What substitute teachers-to-be should not underestimate: They are expected to put in the same amount of effort, if not a bit more. This sometimes includes private commitments. Parents’ evenings, school festivals, events. A lot of time you have to sacrifice for the job.

Substitute teacher application: tips& Templates

The states have usually built their own online systems through which they handle the procedures. Example Berlin: You either register in the system or apply directly at your desired school. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the substitute portal "Verena" offers an overview of all available substitute positions.

Seek personal contact with the respective school management. After all, the chemistry in the teachers’ room should be right. And it’s the school board that ultimately makes the decision. She must be convinced of your abilities, but also of your personality. Option: Make a polite phone call and suggest a first meeting to get to know each other. Incidentally, this also helps you to make your own decision. Applicants are usually required to submit these documents:

Tip: You add value to your application by demonstrating additional competencies. Example of Rhineland-Palatinate: here, there is a separate section on the school application form for "other qualifications relevant to the position". This could be a Montessori diploma or a certificate in "German as a foreign language". Other ideas: a rhetoric course that suggests you are good at speaking in front of many people. Or programming skills for computer scientists. Or language tests and foreign language skills. Even if you have no teaching experience, this could be a very good argument for you. So be sure to include! For example like this:

  • "In addition to German, I have a very good mother tongue knowledge of written and spoken Turkish/Russian."
  • "I also worked for four years as a team leader in software development. As such, I was the first point of contact for product management and decisively responsible for optimal planning of the corresponding developments."

With work experience as a team leader, you show that you can lead and guide people. A voluntary social year in a kindergarten or hospital is also advantageous. Keep this question in mind: how and with what do I convince school administrators that they can let me loose on their kids with a clear conscience??

Free templates with sample text

Take advantage of our free application templates. You can download these individually as a Word file by clicking on "Cover letter", "Cover sheet" or "Curriculum vitae" – or as a complete application set by clicking on the preview picture. Then you get all three Word templates combined in one zip file.

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