ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO – Ft. Zumwalt Superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray expects this school year to include an even bigger demand for substitute teachers. He estimates on any given day the district needs 150 substitutes to fill teacher absences.
DuBray expects that number to grow due to COVID-19 concerns. He’s pleased the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced a change in the requirements for substitute teachers.
“We’ve had fewer and fewer substitutes available to us,” said DuBray. “This should make a huge difference.”
Instead of 60 hours of college credits, substitute teachers with a high school diploma can instead complete 20 hours of online training
According to DESE, the online training includes topics such as, “professionalism, honoring diversity, engaging students, foundational classroom management techniques, basic instructional strategies, supporting students with special needs, and working with at-risk youth.”
The change is raising some alarms with the labor group representing teachers.
“We really don’t think lowering the standards are in the best interest of our kids,” said Phil Murray, president of Missouri National Education Association. “We have some pretty high standards for our regular teachers in our classrooms, we should have some pretty high standards for those who have to come in when we need a substitute.”
Murray agrees it’s a challenge finding enough substitutes to fill absences but believes there are qualified individuals available.
“There’s a possibility with better pay and a little more training we might actually get those people interested in coming into our classrooms,” said Murray.
Background checks will still be required for substitutes and DuBray said Ft. Zumwalt conducts interviews with each potential substitute.
“We would put them through our interview process, meet them and determine if they are the quality type candidate we like to have as a sub,” said DuBray.