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Still hard to hire substitute teachers now scarcer with Covid, easier job market

Anna Hennig, a human resources specialist for BCESC and a 16-year veteran of finding substitutes for local schools, agreed but added that “last year was even worse.”

“This year is still bad,” Hennig said, noting that in pre-pandemic times, BCESC provided about 1,200 subscribers per school year, but that number has now dropped to just over 700.

This is not a problem limited to Butler County.

The number of substitute teacher candidates approved for temporary work in Ohio schools fell 35% between 2017 and October of this year, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

School districts in the area tried to attract more subs by increasing the daily rate of pay.

Lakota schools recently increased their daily wages from $85 to $125 for qualified substitutes, and other districts in the region are joining this trend. Daily wages in other districts in the region are within a similar range.

ExploreHistoric shortage: Lakota increases salaries of substitute teachers and seeks more school workers

Traditionally, temporary teachers were often retired teachers.

But the outbreak of the coronavirus in March 2020 spooked some of the oldest long-serving substitutes and retired teachers, school officials said, because as a demographic, their age puts them at a greater risk. great risk of severe illness from Covid.

Moreover, simultaneously in 2020 and this year, private sector employers have experienced historic difficulties in hiring workers and have consequently increased their starting pay rates, even offering unprecedented cash bonuses to new hires.

Given the often pandemic-caused academic delays experienced by many students over the past two school years, having a large pool of replacements to fill temporary classroom vacancies is all the more crucial. , said Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association.

“Covid has made it harder (and) it’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” said DiMauro, a 31-year Ohio public school veteran.

OAS officials from across the state told DiMauro that the under-shortages at their local schools were “serious to serious.”

“And that’s despite the fact that the (Ohio) legislature has passed bills in the past two years to change standards to make it easier to hire people on a temporary basis, even without a college degree,” did he declare.

ExploreSchools scramble to overcome shortage of substitute teachers

The non-monetary benefits of working as a substitute far outweigh the challenges, said Robert Kramer, 72, a retired business owner from Fairfield.

“I like to stay active and although I can make more money working at White Castle (restaurants), being a substitute teacher is not about the money for me,” Kramer said this week after a day at Fairfield High School.

“The day was a combination of teaching in an English class, then history, then the last period was my favorite subject, chemistry,” he said.

When friends ask Kramer why he chose this part-time job at a time when so many other non-school job options are available, he says, “This is an opportunity for you to give back some of that that you received when you went to school.”

“Schools urgently need replacements,” he added, the work is often not strenuous and usually involves following lesson plans already drawn up by the absent full-time teacher.

“You don’t often need to be knowledgeable in different subjects. You’re kind of a hybrid teacher and when you’re a sub, most of the learning happens when the student interacts with their (classroom) computer,” Kramer said.

Jennifer Puthoff is a 50-year-old substitute but chooses to work at only one school.

Many local school buildings sign up their own group of contractors to fill in the absences of full-time instructors at their school.

For the past seven years, Puthoff has chosen to work only at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Middletown, but before that he bounced around other school districts in the area, including Edgewood, Madison and Springboro schools for sub-works.

Substitute teachers can choose districts, buildings and academic subjects and can also have the flexibility to choose the grades taught and days worked and flexibility is a big draw to the job, she said.

“Some people prefer elementary school kids and some people prefer high school kids. Every substitute teacher has their niche,” she said.

For more information on the substitute teacher role, see the BCESC website or the Warren County Educational Services Center website for schools in that county.


The number of substitute teacher licenses issued by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) increased slightly – 3% – from 2017 to 2018.

But in 2019, the total number of replacement licenses issued statewide was 20,837, down 5.5% from 2018, and in 2020, all licenses issued by the state fell by 8. % compared to 2019.

So far in 2021 – through October 25 – 13,999 sublicenses have been granted, down 27% from October 2020.

(Source from Ohio Education Association and Ohio Department of Education)

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