‘Ready… Set… Sub!’ provides substitute teaching resources

(Archive photo by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

The College of Education and Career Center will collaborate to host “Ready… Set… Sub!,” an event designed to help people become substitute teachers.

“We are trying to gather more subs for the sub-pool,” Patricia Hudgins, associate director of career and employment services, said. “It will be at drop-in times where people can come at their convenience. We’re going to have a few school districts there that can help people upload or ask questions about how to get on their sub list and what is needed. We’ll have the police department there helping get fingerprints done.”

Substitute shortages caused by COVID-19 led the Kansas State Board of Education to pass an emergency declaration removing the 60 college credit hour requirement for emergency substitutes. According to a press release from the Kansas Department of Education, candidates for the Temporary Emergency Authorized License (TEAL) must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, be fingerprinted and pass a background check. They will also need a verified employment commitment from a district or system.

“We know that our local districts have had a really hard time filling subs and shortages, teachers that are quarantined or whatever the case may be,” Eileen Wertzberger, program coordinator for the College of Education, said. “That’s been a big strain on our community.”

Hudgins said the event would also offer students helpful tools to use in the classroom.

“Our plan is to hopefully put some plans in people’s hands,” Hudgins said. “If they don’t feel confident walking into a classroom, our plan is to be able to give them a couple of outlines of things to do as a sub. If you were to walk in a classroom and there’s no lesson plan, we’re hoping to have a couple of helpful tools for them to utilize in a classroom.”

Hudgins said the lack of substitutes could cause classrooms to combine, creating an unsafe space for students.

“Some of these classrooms are combined, and that doesn’t make for oftentimes a safe space as far as crowding goes if that were to have to continue that way,” Hudgins said. “Having served on the school board, I think I have a good understanding of what it takes to get students in a situation where their learning continues.”

In addition to the $90-$120 students can earn a day as a substitute, Hudgins said becoming a substitute teacher offers other benefits for college students.

“People are earning transferable skills for any career if they can be a substitute teacher,” Hudgins said. “The transferable skills that you gain by being a substitute teacher are insurmountable. Not to mention the networking — teachers know everybody. You’re making great connections as well. You have no idea who you’ll meet.”

The event, located in rooms 202-205 of the K-State Student Union, is open to all majors and will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 21.