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Substitute Teacher Training

The Professional Development Academy offers comprehensive substitute teacher training through an online course.

The Academy assumed state and national leadership in preparing non-certified (those without teacher certification) substitutes for the classroom when it created its first training workshop in 1996. That workshop was expanded into a web-based program in 2002, and will be further enhanced by the addition of graduate credit options through Cardinal Stritch University in the near future.

Need for Substitute Teacher Training
As part of the educational community, substitutes need to be properly prepared and trained. They assist in maintaining a safe and secure environment as well as providing continuity of learning for children. However, in Wisconsin as well as most other states, the vast majority of substitutes do not have the training or background necessary to provide this.

By the mid-1990s, many school districts throughout the country expressed difficulty in hiring an adequate supply of qualified substitute teachers. Wisconsin responded in 1995 by enacting a rule allowing districts to hire non-certified substitutes. Other states also began allowing individuals without adequate training to fill in for regular teachers. In some states even today, all that is required to be a substitute is possession of a high school diploma.

As the designer of high-quality professional development for the state's largest education association, the WEA Professional Development Academy (PDA) is uniquely qualified to give potential and existing substitutes the tools they need to become productive members of the educational team.

Wisconsin’s Requirements
Individuals without teaching certification who wish to substitute in Wisconsin must first obtain a Substitute Teaching Permit from the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Requirements for the permit include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • The sponsorship of a school district.
  • Appropriate training such as the Academy online class.

With all requirements in hand, aspiring non-certified substitutes must then submit an application to DPI with proper documentation and a permit fee. Information on the permit process and online application

NOTE: Wisconsin also issues a 5-year Substitute Teaching License for those who have completed a state-approved educator training program. Details

Requirements of Other States
States differ widely in their requirements for substitute teachers, yet many individuals from all over the country have found the Academy class to be highly beneficial. Because its online format offers maximum flexibility and its completion certificate offers documentation, current or potential substitutes anywhere in the country or world can take advantage of this program.

To identify substitute teaching requirements for a state other than Wisconsin, contact their state department of education or public instruction.

Who Benefits From this Class
Substitute teachers are the initial beneficiaries, and they comprise a variety of backgrounds including:

  • Those with Bachelor Degrees interested in substitute teaching (non-certified).
  • Current substitute teachers with little or no recent training.
  • Newly-certified teachers planning to substitute teach.
  • Experienced teachers returning to the field after an absence.

Ultimately, children and districts benefit by having Academy-trained substitutes. Students benefit from less disruption, improved continuity of learning, and a safe and secure environment. School systems gain by improving the caliber of substitute teaching in their districts, enhancing the communication between regular teachers and their temporary colleagues, and assuring parents of quality learning experiences every day of the school year.

What’s Covered in the Class
The Academy training provides a thorough background in the areas vital to success as a substitute teacher. In fact, it not only includes those topics specified in state law (PI 34), but goes beyond that in offering a comprehensive array of information and tools.

Content covered includes the following:

  • Professionalism & the role of a substitute.
  • Health and safety issues.
  • Overall classroom management.
  • Maintaining discipline.
  • Growth & development by age level.
  • Appropriate teaching strategies.
  • Implementing & preparing lesson plans.
  • Communicating with staff.
  • Practical ideas and resources.

The Classroom Visit
A special feature of the online training is its required visit to a classroom. Most participants indicate that this was the highlight of their experience – and many school districts enthusiastically support the Academy program because this activity is included.

The classroom visit occurs at the end of the training, and serves as an opportunity for participants to reflect on the knowledge and skills learned in the online portion of the class. It provides potential substitutes with a realistic view of today’s school environment, and is often a motivator for being prepared to do the best possible job on behalf of children.

Outstanding Instructors
Each participant in the online class is assigned an instructor upon registration, a key interactive feature that provides guidance and feedback. All instructors are practicing educators, and all have achieved the nation’s highest level of professional recognition - the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification.

In addition, instructors have been trained in online instruction and receive ongoing professional development. Most have served as substitutes themselves, and all are committed to working with substitutes to ensure the best possible learning experience for today's students.

For Information...
For more information on the Substitute Teacher Training online course, visit the Academy Web site or e-mail the Academy .

Posted March 24, 2008