Bandera Independent School District
Bandera Independent School District

SUBSTITUTE TEACHING FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions About Substitute Teaching ...

Are there any classes available to help me be a successful substitute teacher?

  • Yes. Bandera ISD Personnel office provides pre-service training for persons who have never taught children or are new to substitute teaching at Bandera ISD. The training is available at certain dates each school year and takes approximately two hours to complete. The Substitute Teacher Handbook is also provided with additional campus and district information. 

After I substitute for awhile, can I change the schools and subjects taught?

  • Yes. You can be changed at any time. Please contact Marie Halloran at 830-796-3313. Just give your name and recommended changes.

What should substitute teachers do if they have to cancel a job they have already accepted?

  • Not a problem! Substitute teachers and their families get ill too. The important thing for a substitute to do is cancel the job as soon as possible. Contact the campus designee.

Since one of the basic assumptions schools have for substitute teachers is that they will follow the teachers’ lesson plans, what do subs do if the teacher has left no lesson plans for the substitute?

  • On rare occasions, a teacher may not have time to leave lesson plans or the teacher may leave plans that are inadequate for a substitute to carry out as a guest teacher. If this happens, the sub should immediately SEEK HELP. Other teachers who teach the same grade level of subject matter will be able to assist the sub. At the Elementary schools, grade level teachers can assist. At the Middle School and High School, a department chairperson is always available for help. In the unlikely event that no staff member is available, the substitute should seek help from the office.

How do substitutes prepare for the beginning of the day, and what do they do when the students arrive in the classroom?

  • Every successful substitute teacher will say that the key to effective substitute teaching is to arrive early. In addition to an early arrival, there are numerous steps the substitute should take to prepare for a successful day. This information is provided both in the Bandera ISD training and the BISD Substitute Manual. 

When substitute teachers have difficulty carrying out their duties, whether because of poor lesson plans or severe discipline problems, to whom can they turn for help?

  • The first and best source for assistance is the school administration. These Professionals are responsible for providing substitutes with the resources and support they need to succeed as guest teachers in their school.

Should substitutes allow students to visit the school nurse every time they ask to do so? What if they are faking an illness to get out of class?

  • Substitutes should never deny a student’s request to go to the nurse. It is the Nurse’s responsibility to determine whether or not a child is ill-not the sub.

What about bathroom passes? Should substitutes let students go to the bathroom every time they say they need to?

  • If a child expresses a need to go to the bathroom at times outside of the established routine, subs should not deny them their requests. Please leave a note for the teacher regarding the requests. The teacher can follow up with the student later to determine whether or not the unusual requests suggest a medical or behavioral problem.

I didn’t sign up to substitute in a special education classroom. Why are there special education students in the regular classrooms? 

  • The philosophy and strategies of inclusion require that all students be educated in the “least restrictive environment” possible, so special needs students are always included in the “regular” classroom to the fullest possible extent.

What is the legal liability of substitute teachers?

  • As long as substitute teachers are using discretion and good judgment in carrying out the duties and responsibilities assigned to them, and do not use unnecessary force in disciplining students, substitute teachers enjoy the same qualified (limited) immunity from legal liability afforded the regular classroom teacher under State statute. However, this immunity from legal liability does not extend to injuries involving motor vehicles nor to violations of a student’s constitutionally protected rights.

Can substitute teachers share their religious beliefs with students in the classroom?

  • Like other employees of the district, substitutes must maintain a posture of “neutrality” regarding religion in the classroom and in other activities and areas of the school. Substitutes are acting as “agents of the state” when carrying out their duties and are prohibited from advancing their own religious beliefs in the school.

How do I continue working as a substitute from year to year?

  • At the end of each school year, a letter is sent to all active substitute teachers instructing them on what needs to be done to work again as a substitute the next year.

When are my transcripts required to be turned in?

  • Substitutes who have college hours, are degreed, or are a certified teacher - are required to provide the personnel/payroll department an unofficial transcript prior to their assigned amount of pay. Substitutes are paid the entry substitute pay until the transcript by the district.

Who do I contact for information about my paycheck?

  • The Payroll Office should be contacted regarding any discrepancies you may discover in your paycheck. Contact (830) 796-6202 with questions.

Where can I get additional information on becoming a full time, certified teacher?

  • The teacher career exploration site at the Education Service Center Region 20 is very helpful. Another excellent source of information is the State Board of Education Certification (SBEC) which has an extensive list of questions and answers at “How to Become a Teacher in Texas” In addition, you can contact your local college or university to get additional information on their programs of teacher certification.

Who do I contact for information about a 403(B) Retirement Plan?

  • Contact the district's administrator, National Plan Administrators, at 800 880-2776 for more information.