It’s no secret many public schools continue to experience teacher shortages. While some states are dropping the requirement for substitute teachers to have completed a bachelor’s degree, and even allowing recent high school graduates to fill the role, the concern about the quality of students’ education remains.
The National Education Association (NEA) describe substitute teachers as “bridges” to span the gap when a regular teacher is absent. The association further defines a long-term substitute teacher as, “…a qualified individual who steps into a classroom and takes over a position for a prolonged period of time.” *
Benefits of Long-Term Substitutes:
A qualified, long-term substitute brings subject knowledge and classroom experience to the position. The NEA states, “Taking over a classroom for an extended period of time requires a strong commitment and a specific skill set. It involves the willingness to take on added responsibilities, build relationships, and nurture students on an ongoing basis.”*
Classroom experience is key, because this individual can step into the teacher’s role with specific knowledge and know-how to perform a variety of duties including:
- Lesson planning
- Communication with parents
- Handling disciplinary issues
- Objectivity in assessment as well as in grading and reporting
Teacher shortages will continue:
The need for a long-term substitute may arise from many different situations. A lack of qualified candidates for a position, a temporary leave of absence, or a resignation mid-term, can all leave schools short-staffed. Lack of teachers can result in empty or overcrowded classrooms, neither of which are ideal of learning environments for students.
The National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) database** indicates many schools and districts are (and will continue to) experiencing shortages. Most subject areas, including math, science, English and social studies lack experienced teachers. Thus, schools need to continue to plan for ways to bridge the gaps. SmartStart Education understands these needs and has helped many districts and schools find qualified, long-term substitutes. SmartStart does more than bridge the gaps, our long-term substitutes provide classroom continuity and subject matter knowledge to help students understand and succeed.
Where to find qualified long-term substitutes:
There are people who continue to enjoy teaching but may not seek full-time positions with a district due to a variety of reasons. Some may have already retired from the profession but still want a connection to the classroom; while others have personal circumstances for wanting to work through another company rather than the district itself. No matter the circumstances, these people all bring a passion for education and the children they serve.
One of the best ways to find quality, long-term substitutes is to utilize outside companies who specialize in recruiting and hiring individuals to their team. SmartStart Education employs experienced talent acquisition specialists who come from educational backgrounds. They not only recruit the most qualified candidates for the position, but also rely on a network of referrals from teachers who currently work in school systems. In addition, our administrators provide open lines of communication between the teachers and school to ensure a smooth transitions and classroom continuity.
Every student deserves a quality education. By planning ahead, district leaders and school administrators can be better prepared to fill classroom needs with qualified educators who share their goals for student achievement.