USD 394 deals with substitute teacher shortage


Ben Walker

Gayle Tenbrook substitues in Mr. Eastman’s math class. Tenbrook is one of the few subs the district utilizes on a daily basis.

Over the past few months, there has been a nationwide shortage of substitute teachers in school districts due. It has become difficult for teachers to get substitutes in the event that they cannot be at school. 

This shortage may be occurring for a few reasons. With the new Delta Variant of Covid, many teachers are getting Covid more often than they previously did. Because of this, there is an increase in demand for substitute teachers. 

Teachers also have to stay home and quarantine whenever they are exposed to Covid from either a coworker, students, or a family member. This will then require a substitute to take their place.

Many people may feel unsafe or at risk if they work in a school since they are coming in contact with a lot of people, and they will have a higher risk of getting sick if they work in a space with a lot of people. 

Shannon Haydock, the principal at Rose Hill High School said that if the pay for substitute teachers was to be increased, the job would be more appealing. 

“One thing that we’ve done at the high school recently was to give each of our subs a ‘goody bag’ of small tokens of appreciation,” Haydock said. “There is also a hand-written note inside the bags to show the school’s appreciation.”

Some of the people who used to substitute teach might not have wanted to come back and teach this year, because they had a few months off back in 2020.

Another possible reason for the shortage is that people may want to choose jobs that come with higher pay and more benefits than what comes with substitute teaching. This is especially true due to the improving economy which allows people to be more picky about what jobs they pick. 

To compensate for this, some schools are trying to raise pay for teachers and substitutes to incentivise people to work for them. Some districts are also increasing the benefits they offer to get more people to work for the school. 

Teachers in schools are having to go to other classes to teach during their plan period because there are not enough substitute teachers to fill in when teachers are gone.