How to Find a Mentor as a Substitute Teacher

It is rare for substitute teachers to have a mentor their first year (or more) of substitute teaching while it is common for permanent teachers to have a mentor their first years of teaching. As a profession, we need to change this. It is very important for all teachers to have a mentor when they first start. As you will probably be responsible for finding your own mentor if you would like one (and I highly recommend finding a mentor), here are some tips for finding a good one.

  1. Network. Ask people if they know of a good teacher who has experience as a substitute. Ask people if they know an excellent substitute teacher with experience. Ask someone you already know to be an excellent substitute teacher. This is the best way to find a mentor.
  2. Ask a principal. When you are working at a school, or even before you start, and you meet a good principal, ask them if they know of anyone who they think would be a good mentor for a substitute teacher.
  3. Call your union. Your union may know of someone who has an excellent reputation, or perhaps someone who already does some training for them, who could be a great mentor.
  4. Call your Board of Education. Many Boards of Education have New Teacher Induction Programs for new permanent teachers. They may be able to introduce you to a mentor, even though you are not a permanent teacher.
  5. Look online. There are many professional learning communities for teachers on social media. If you are unable to find someone in person, you may be able to find a group or a person whose blog is very informative or whose discussion board has great answers. It would not hurt to reach out in a private message to ask for help.

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