Dougherty county has abundance of fill-in teachers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty county has abundance of fill-in teachers

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August 27, 2007

Albany--Every school day about five million children in more than 200,000 classrooms around the country have substitute teachers, that's according to the Substitute Teacher Institute in Utah.

Unfortunately, recent studies also show that nationwide there are more vacancies than there are enough subs to fill them.

Under a 2003 educational bill, seventy-three percent of U.S. Districts had an "urgent need for subs that was likely grow to a crisis level within the next ten years."

Some districts nationwide are having to reel substitutes in by offering them more than just pay but with items like free movie passes and gift cards. Fortunately, the Dougherty county school district hasn't had to go to those extremes because it has more than enough subs.

Arlesha Edmondson is one of more than 100 new substitute teachers in Dougherty County. "This is my first experience," she says.

And it's one she's enjoying. "I wanted to spend my time with the youth, and give back to the community and spend time with the kids," she says.

But admits the job doesn't come without its challenges. "In every class you might have a couple of people who get out of line, but for the most part most of my students are good students. A lot goes into teaching on a daily basis. You never know what you'll encounter personality wise with your students, what they're going through. So you have emotions on both ends," she says.

Edmondson holds two degrees--neither one in teaching. "I've never taught, never subbed," she says.

 "We have 426 substitutes," says Human Resources Director Carolyn Hand with the Dougherty county school districts.  She says every sub in Dougherty County undergoes four hours of training before they can teach.

"We go into full detail about the dos and the don'ts, how to conduct themselves in the classroom, and our substitutes must have at least a year of college or 500 clock hours from vocational schools. We make sure our people are well qualified and don't have a criminal history," says Hand.

The district's substitute teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. "Fireman, policeman, those who are looking for extra money yet at the same time maybe moving to another career," says Hand.

On average the district has approximately 30 teacher vacancies daily. You can find Edmonson filling in for them quite often.

 "I have a class five days a week," says Edmondson. And says she doesn't mind that the job keeps her busy.  "It gives me worth and value and it makes me feel like I'm doing something that benefits someone else," she adds.

The district holds two required seminars for anyone interested in becoming a sub, one is held in July and the other in January. Out of the hundred people who apply during each seminar only about ten will get rejected.

A regular sub makes $58.50 while long term substitutes make $76.50 per day.

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