Understanding the Role of Substitute Teachers

Date of Award

Spring 3-28-2019

Document Type

Restricted Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Bill Boozang, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Belle Booker, Ph.D.


Substitute teachers play a major role in assisting students in the absence of regular teachers. However, there is limited evidence regarding the role of substitute teachers in K-12 faculties. The main purpose of the study was to examine the lived experiences and perceptions of substitute teachers regarding their roles in K-12 faculties in rural and urban Pennsylvania school districts, and their involvement in the education system. The current study employed a phenomenological enquiry approach to explore the roles of substitute teachers in public schools in Pennsylvania. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect qualitative data on the lived experiences and perceptions of 10 substitute teachers on their roles in K-12 faculties in rural and urban Pennsylvania school districts. The collected data was analyzed qualitatively using NVivo 12 software to construct emerging themes. Seven primary themes were derived from the qualitative analysis: Motivation in substitute teaching is informed by extrinsic and intrinsic factors, substitute teacher’s role in student learning, key challenges that substitute teachers encounter, interaction with school members and staff, substitute teachers’ attitudes and feelings, substitute recommendations, and causes of shortages of substitute teachers. The findings have a potential to influence policymaking in the education sector in Pennsylvania and guide the planning for long-term needs of substitute teachers.

This document is currently not available here.