What Every Substitute Needs to Know


Read With You interviewed long time substitute teacher, Arlene Neilson to get her best ideas on how to be a successful substitute. She also talked about ways for teachers to prepare for substitutes, what parents can do at home, and what she wishes she would have known when she started.

About Arlene

Arlene Neilson got her associates degree out of high school, but didn’t go back to school until she was 40. She was a mother of 3 and her work paid for her to go back to school and get her teaching credential.

After receiving her credential, she thought about teaching, but she wanted to have flexibility because her kids were still living in the home. She has been substitute teaching for the last 18 years.

Getting a Degree

Going back to school when she was older helped her stay focused. She had to balance home life with her family.

She was able to take a lot of day classes, but there was still some overlap between school and family life.

Substitute Experience

Arlene has worked in many different school districts with different socioeconomic levels. The difference in the schools was based on the economic background of the children attending there.

At some schools, 99% of the children received free lunch. There was a difference between the children who had the parental support and those who didn’t.

Teachers Set Up Substitutes for Success

In the classrooms, you can tell when a teacher has control of a classroom. The kids are polite and respectful and know what the rules are. Other classes are utter chaos.