Thursday, September 15, 2016

Now hiring: Substitute teachers

Manchester School District is looking to enhance its pool of substitute faculty and staff. Substitutes for classroom teachers and paraprofessionals are needed regularly when there are unexpected absences, but school districts regionally and across the country are experiencing a shortage of subs.

“We recruit substitute teachers and paras all year long to maintain the number of qualified individuals we can call on,” said Superintendent Dr. Debra Livingston. “In recent years, fewer people are applying, and the pool is getting smaller.”  

Many current subs are retired teachers or educators who choose not to work full-time, and the ability to create a customized schedule is a major draw.

“The flexibility is fabulous,” said Moira Philbrook, who has regularly filled in at elementary and high schools off and on for about 20 years since leaving a teaching position. “I can say yes or no, depending on my family schedule or other commitments. I also like the variety of meeting different kids and being in different classrooms.”

Philbrook chooses to plan her substitute teaching days ahead of time. When a teacher needs a personal day or knows when he or she will be out for a professional development workshop, schools can call subs directly and schedule them for those upcoming dates.

Another option is to be part of the “sub line” pool. That’s when most of those pre-dawn phone calls happen. When a teacher is sick, schools have to find a substitute that very morning, and there’s a list of subs to call who might or might not be available. It’s one of the biggest challenges for individual schools on a given day.

A degree is not required, but people who have earned at least 48 college credits and a desire to be a positive role model for our students may qualify to be substitute teachers in the Manchester School District. Annette Greer has a background in the medical field and works at several elementary schools in the city two to three days a week.

“It’s not difficult to walk into a classroom as a sub,” Greer said. “The teachers always have lessons prepared and ready.”

Pamela Dube, a former social worker, says subbing at the high school level fits her personality best, and she makes herself available as a substitute every week, working around her schedule at another job.

“I love connecting with the kids,” she said. “That’s why I go back every day that I can.”

For those who do wish to be full-time educators, substitute teaching is a great way to make contacts and get to know the schools.

“Recent college graduates or people changing careers should consider subbing,” said Philbrook. “One of the reasons I started teaching at Memorial High School all those years ago was because I was remembered as a substitute. It was an advantage to be a familiar face.”

The pay rate for substitutes is $70 per day; paraprofessional subs earn $10 an hour. Please email Pam Naum at the Manchester School District central office to ask for an application packet: pnaum@mansd.org. Candidates who submit applications will be interviewed.  

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