Schools short on substitute teachers


Local schools are searching for substitute teachers.

Because local employment is on the rise, more people are able to find full time jobs, leaving schools with fewer available substitute teachers.

School systems such as Goshen and Penn-Harris-Madison said they're getting by for now, but the shortage could soon become a problem.

Goshen Community Schools need as many as 100 substitute teachers on any given day, about one-fifth of their total teaching staff. Supt. Diane Woodworth said there aren't always enough subs to fill classrooms, especially during flu season or special events like teacher training.

"We share substitutes in the county, so we're all fighting for the same people," Woodworth said. "So what if Concord has a training on the same day we do? We don't necessarily coordinate those things, so a lot of our subs might already be at another district that day."

Doug Thorne, who oversees the substitute teacher program at Elkhart Community Schools, said his system doesn't have a shortage at the moment. Elkhart Schools employs more than 190 substitutes and needs only half that number on average every day.

Thorne said substitute teacher availability is a reflection of local employment numbers.

"Substitute teachers really do, to an extent, serve as a barometer as to what's happening with the economy," Thorne said. "In terms of upswings, downturns in the economy, we will see an effect on the availability of substitute teachers."

Woodward said Goshen Schools pay substitutes $80 per day. Anyone with at least 60 hours, or roughly two years, of college education and a clean criminal record can apply.

Substitute teacher Theresa Allison works three or four days a week at Fairfield Community Schools and finds new things to love about her job every day.

"Seeing the students learn something that I taught them, getting hugs from the students," Allison said. "When I'm not in a classroom and I see students I've had in the past and they say hi to me."

Allison said she encourages anyone who loves working with children to apply. You can do so on your local school system's website.