Long-term substitutes make up for lack of teachers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Long-term substitutes make up for lack of teachers

September 16, 2003

Albany- For a sneak peak of the future, take a look at Mrs. Mitchell's first grade class at Sherwood Acres Elementary School.

"They're my future," Mitchell said. "They're your future."

And they're not a dull group. That may be because education within these walls is mixed with a little laughter.

"I said no laughing at my fish," Mitchell said, as her class explodes in laughter over a hand-drawn fish on the board.

Mitchell looks like a veteran teacher, but actually she's not even a certified teacher. She came to Sherwood as a substitute.

"I thought it was going to be just for a couple of days."

More than three years later, she's a long-term sub. One of 35 in Dougherty County making up for a lack of certified teachers. But uncertified doesn't mean unqualified. Mitchell has a college degree and is taking classes to become a certified teacher. And she does everything a certified teacher does.

"If they're going into training, I go into training," she said. "If there's staff development, I'm in staff development."

She also has a mentor in the school and works closely with the other first grade teachers.

"They have just kind of pulled her under their wings and work diligently with her," said Eva Robinson, the principal at Sherwood.

This week, letters went home notifying parents if their child's teacher is a long-term substitute. But at Sherwood, there have been no complaints.

"In fact, I've had parents request that their children be in her room, so to me that says a whole lot," Robinson said.

In the classroom, it's easy to see why.

"I want to keep doing this as long as my body will allow me to do it," Mitchell said. "I want to do it as long as I've got that desire."

A desire to mold these young minds, creating a better future for us all.

posted at 10:15 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com