Recently, I have been receiving inquiries from others to "guest post" here. I haven't previously entertained any interest in accepting these proposals until now. Since the year is starting off kinda slow and I personally don't have anything worthwhile to say yet this new year, let me introduce you to Sarah Casey who researched and wrote the following first ever "guest post" for JAST:
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The State of Substitute Teaching In The United States
If you can read this, thank a substitute teacher, if you can find one. Substitute teaching is one of those thankless jobs that require a huge amount of patience be on call and ready to go when needed. It is also a job that can be very rewarding and allows people who love to teach an opportunity to do so, once you can figure out the requirements your state and school district are looking for in a substitute.
The requirements to be a substitute teacher vary greatly from state to state, and school district to school district. The one requirement that the majority of states do agree on is that substitutes must have a high school diploma or a GED.
Substitute Teacher Shortages
According to a study by the Substitute Teaching Institute at Utah State University, substitute teachers are in over 270,000 classrooms in this country every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for regular teachers will increase about 12% by 2016, as the need for regular teachers increase, so will the need for substitutes. As most states are struggling with full time teacher shortages, the substitute shortage is even worse. Some of the ways different states and/or school districts are trying to deal with these shortages is by offering higher wages and even offering substitutes the same benefits as regular teachers, once they work so many hours for the same school district. Some are even creating permanent substitute positions, allowing their substitutes to work in other administrative areas when they are not needed in the classroom. With the budget shortages that many states are facing today, however, these options are limited.
The main reason for the shortages of substitute teachers, surprisingly, does not include wages, although in some districts this can be a factor. According to the website, PayScale.com, substitute teachers make an hourly rate of 9.84 to 15.16 an hour, depending on their level of education, experience, skills and the amount of hours worked. Poor training and very little respect by school personnel and students are two major reasons substitutes cite for deciding not to go back to teach in certain districts.
Almost all school districts do provide training to substitutes, but not enough, which is one area many experts agree needs to be improved on if they want to find and keep quality substitutes. Training not only builds confidence, it gives the substitute a blueprint of what the school district expects from them as teachers. It helps them in classroom management techniques and empowers them to step into the classroom armed with what is required of them, as well as what is required of the students. Finally, many substitutes have complained about the quality, or lack thereof, of the lesson plans left for them by the absent teachers. Too many times the substitute ends up being just a babysitter because sufficient information is not given to teach the students effectively, and that is not what they signed up for when accepting the job.
Because there are so many shortages in every state for substitute teachers, many school districts have been forced to loosen up their policies and requirements for substitutes. Some districts have even resorted to pulling their special education teachers into the regular classes to sub. This means that the special education classes for that day may have to be cancelled, and the parents of these special needs children become extremely upset, and rightly so, that their children are put on the back burner during these times. Many times students are herded into the cafeteria or auditorium and given an impromptu study hall or movie viewing because no substitute could be found.
Requirements for Substitute Teaching
As far as what type of education and/or training a person is expected to have in order to even qualify to become a substitute teacher, one would expect that they at least have a two-year college education. However, not all states make that a requirement.
States that do require two to four years of college, some of which also require at least some of the credit hours be in education, are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (a regular teaching certificate is required), Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska (must be a BA in Education), Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin (a regular teaching certificate is required) and Wyoming,
Some of these states, however, will waive the college requirements if the person has appropriate work experience, or, in emergencies, for short-term assignments. Many states are governed by districts, some of which require college, others, different types of certifications, while still others, background checks and fingerprints.
Even with the issues surrounding what it takes to be a substitute, it can be a very rewarding, part-time career, and can help those who want to teach full time get a step closer. There are many good online schools for teaching that a substitute teacher, who may want to teach full time one day, can check out. States are constantly looking for better ways to fill their substitute coffers with quality people, and the demand is high, so the outlook is good for anyone seeking this career.
Bio: Sarah Casey is a lover of education and is always educating herself! In her free time she is a freelance writer for onlineschools.org