Exploring Floating Substitutes: Perceptions Of Their Jobs


Summer 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Vivian Johnson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Kaveh Ghazi

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Danielle Zdon


This qualitative study explored the research question how does a small group of floating substitute teachers describe their sense of belonging to the district? Floating substitutes are full-time, contracted teachers for the district in which they work, receive benefits and are assigned a computer. Each floating substitute is assigned a “home school,” meets with this school for staff development and spends unassigned days there. Floating substitutes are assigned jobs each morning within the district. This topic was important to the author because at the time it was the author’s profession.

The review of the literature indicated that although substitute teachers spend a significant amount of time with students, many times substitute teachers are undervalued, underpaid, and underappreciated. The research also indicated that from kindergarten through twelfth grade, students could spend approximately the equivalent of one year with substitute teachers.

The author created an interview protocol and interviewed three floating substitute teachers as she was interested in the lived experiences of the participants. This method allowed the researcher to gather detailed descriptions from the participants. As recommended by Weiss (1994) the author used an issue focused approach to analyze and report the findings. The results were not conclusive. Not all participants felt the same about their sense of belonging in the district and if being a floating substitute rather than a traditional substitute teacher impacted the quality of their teaching. Although the results were inconclusive, there was a great deal of information that could be used to make the floating substitute program better.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Interview


Teachers/ Teaching

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