November 17, 2016

Celebrate Substitute Educators Day Nov. 18

Author: Leslie Duncan Fottrell
Source: NYSUT Communications

American Education WeekSubstitute Educators Day is Friday, Nov. 18. Part of American Education Week, the day celebrates the importance of substitute teachers in our public education system. They are professionals worthy of respect, professional compensation and development opportunities.

NYSUT represents more than 9,300 substitute teachers.

“We are an integral part of the continuum of education,” said Substitutes United of Buffalo President Stephen Hicks.

There are many challenges subs face when they step into the classroom, called on to fill in at the last minute, for a short time or longer. “This is an abrupt change for the kids who have a regular teacher, a schedule and a protocol,” said Hicks, adding that planning is essential to keeping a classroom running smoothly.

Hicks said classroom teachers usually provide a folder with instructions for substitutes and other materials, and that it is most helpful when the folder contains relevant work to what the students would normally be doing.

“A good sub is prepared,” he said.

Hicks has been a substitute teacher since 1984. He is also an entrepreneur and a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran, so he knows the importance of being prepared. He said that he carries he own folder to assignments filled with extras such as grade and subject specific word searches and problems.  He even has a rapper word search. “But they are old-school rappers,” he said with a laugh.

His advice to substitute teachers: “Be prepared and remember you are a role model for these kids, just like the teacher is. We affect lives just as the teachers do. If you are a regular sub, you have the ability to impact lives.”

For more information about Substitute Educators Day visit

Substitute Educators Day: American Education Week

Substitute Educators Day is a result of NEA Representative Assembly's New Business Item (NBI) 2003-41. The purpose of this NBI is to increase appreciation of school substitute employees.

These professional educators provide a critical link in the education of public schoolchildren by serving as a bridge to provide continued quality education to children in the temporary absence of regular classroom educators.

Substitute Educators Day seeks to:

  • Increase respect for substitute education employees
  • Advocate for all school substitutes to receive wage and health benefits for those who work most to all of a full school year
  • Receive genuine, continual professional development in the art of substitute teaching
  • Provide a reminder for school staff about effective practices to prepare for, welcome, and support substitute educators

Substitute Educators Day is observed on Friday during American Education Week.

American Education Week 

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