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Getting started subbing

I've mentioned before that I decided not to do any subbing until I had done my first placement. I felt like I'd be a bit of a spoofer heading into a classroom with absolutely no experience, and I didn't want to make a bad impression at any school as a result!

That plan went out the window, with my 1st placement being moved online after schools were closed due to the pandemic. So in May 2021, one year into my Masters, I signed myself up for SubSeeker and it wasn't long until I was on my way to teach 3rd class for a week!

I can remember how nerve-wracking that first time was. Would they listen to me? How does lunchtime work? How will I manage the staffroom small talk? What on earth will I do with the class for a whole 6 hours?

I've now subbed in three different schools. I've been in my current one for the past three months, since starting my placement there in September, and will likely stay subbing here until the Christmas break. The good news is that it gets easier and you get better every day you teach!


Who's able to sub?

Anyone with a Teaching Council number! All you need to get one is an undergrad degree - doesn't matter what it's in (I've a post all about that here). Lots of subs are newly qualified teachers, student teachers, and people who haven't yet started their teacher training. That being said, you'll can also come across experienced teachers who've decided to sub for various reasons.

What do you need to start subbing?

  • Teaching Council number: This can take quite a while so I'd suggest doing it as soon as possible, even if you don't have plans to sub just yet. Garda Vetting is part of this.

  • Statutory Declaration Form: Click here

How do you get subbing work?

  • SubSeeker is the easiest way. You put in your availability and schools will send you offers of subbing work which you can then accept or reject.

  • It's always worth emailing local schools with a CV to tell them you're available. Particularly at the moment, schools can't get enough subs so they'd love to have more contacts on their books. You'll get plenty of offers through SubSeeker, but this is handy if you don't want to have to travel very much!

How does SubSeeker work?

You can register for SubSeeker once you have a Teaching Council number. The website is nice and easy to navigate!

You can update your availability for two weeks at a time, so it does mean that you need to go in and update it regularly so that schools can see that you're available.

When a school offers you subbing work, you'll receive an email like the one below. As you can see, this school has offered the work to 22 other subs - so I'd recommend moving fast if you want to accept the work! Sometimes schools will include details, the below school has included the start time and the class they want the sub to take. However, often schools won't include info!

When you click on 'View Offer' in the email, it brings you to the SubSeeker website and you can click accept or reject. Once you accept, schools will then generally contact you by phone or email. However, even if they don't you're still booked in to sub, so make sure you turn up!

What do you need to bring with you?

  • Teaching Council Number

  • Statutory Declaration Form

  • Garda Vetting

  • Bank details & PPS number (these are only needed your first time, so the secretary can put you in the system)

How does payment work?

Teachers are paid every two weeks, generally on a Thursday. You'll receive a payslip in the post. I keep a spreadsheet of all my days and check off when I've been paid for them. Schools can occasionally forget to input your days into the system so it's good to keep a close eye! There can sometimes be a delay when getting paid for your first time subbing.

If you haven't been paid, first contact the Department to check if your days have been inputted by the school. Then get onto the school and remind them to input your days into the Online Claims System (OCLS).

primary teaching substitute pay scale


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