Active membership in the Alberta Teachers’ Association is automatically granted to a substitute teacher the first time during a school year that they are employed as a substitute. The substitute teacher remains an active member until the end of the school year or until the teacher is no longer on the approved substitute roster of the school board, whichever occurs first. One per cent of a substitute teacher’s salary is deducted by the employing school board and submitted to the Association as a membership fee.
Services for Substitute Teachers
As an active member, a substitute teacher is eligible to receive the following:
- Access to the Association’s member website
- Access to the ATA News and the ATA Magazine
- Copies of Association monographs and pamphlets, upon request
- The right to borrow materials from the ATA library
- Advice and consultation on all issues related to employment
- Consultation on employment insurance and help in launching appeals
- Legal advice and assistance in dealing with criminal charges that may arise in the course of teaching
- Complimentary membership in a specialist council
- Eligibility to participate in teachers’ conventions and local professional development activities
- Access to Association scholarships and fellowships
- Representation in collective bargaining and in the grievance process
- Eligibility to be a delegate at the Annual Representative Assembly, Summer Conference and regional conferences
- Eligibility to serve on committees at the local level
- Eligibility to serve on Association committees at the provincial level, to become an Association instructor or consultant, and to represent the Association on committees of external organizations
- Eligibility to attend the annual conference for substitute teachers
Duties of a Substitute Teacher
Substitute teachers are key team members of every school and school division staff. They have the same certification requirements as other teachers and are full active members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association from their first day of service. They have the same roles and responsibilities as any other classroom teacher as defined by the Education Act and the Teaching Profession Act. The difference is that they are day-to-day employees who do not have regular employment contracts.
Substitute teachers may teach in several schools and in more than one jurisdiction; therefore, they have to become knowledgeable about pertinent policies in a variety of situations. The school administration will be able to provide copies of the relevant school and school board policies. Ideally, these policies will be available in a school handbook for substitute teachers that is prepared and updated at the school level.
Substitute teachers should be given the same respect and consideration as any teacher. Generally speaking, substitute teachers should follow the same timetable as the teacher they are replacing. This allows them to adequately prepare for classes, mark assignments, become familiar with the routines and expectations of the school, and write notes for the absent teacher.
Substitute teachers should only be assigned supervision duties that are reasonable and appropriate. School division policies and/or local bargaining unit collective agreements may restrict supervision duties of substitute teachers in the first half-day of a teaching assignment, or other duties beyond those normally assigned to the teacher being replaced.
Substitute teachers are entitled to at least one 30-minute break during the day.
Other clauses specific to substitute teachers are contained in collective agreements. Substitute teachers can and should check their own collective agreement on the Association’s website.