PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- You've heard about the Arizona teacher shortage, but what about our substitute teachers?
Well, guess what? Arizona needs more of those too.
Here in Arizona, school districts spend most mornings troubleshooting, just trying to cover those classes where teachers have called out.
It’s a daily occurrence and just one more challenge associated with the state of our schools.
“That’s when we rely on our staff members heavily and look at when their prep period is to come in and cover,” said Julie Abbott, principal of Coyote Hills Elementary School in Peoria. “It’s a burden for them. We don’t like to ask them to do that, but it is where we are at in education.”
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Principals are frequently called in to cover classes on those especially tough days.
“I’m pulled in on a regular basis. Once every few weeks I’m pulled into a classroom to help cover,” said Abbott. “Having a qualified caring adult to come in and fill that void is so vital.”
According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, the average public-school student will spend almost the equivalent of a full academic year with substitute teachers during their K-12 education.
Yet, the shortage of substitute teachers is a real challenge made worse by a shortage of regular teachers. Because schools struggling to find full-time teachers already rely more heavily on substitute teachers to fill the voids.
A strong economy also makes the part-time work less appealing for those with the required bachelor's degree.
“We provide professional development opportunities for our guest teachers, our subs with hopes that as we grow their skillset, that they in turn will be talking to their friends,” said Carter Davidson, chief personnel officer in Peoria Unified School District. “We want people who want to serve and love on kids and make a difference.”
If you are interested in opportunities to substitute teach in your community, you’re encouraged to call your neighborhood school. They can point you in the right direction.
On average, substitute teachers in Arizona make about $95 a day. Long term subs make about $125 a day. All you need is a bachelor’s degree, a background check and the desire to work with children.