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Education Majors Make Good Substitutes for School Systems

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Education Majors Make Good Substitutes for School Systems

School systems around the Upper Cumberland are experiencing substitute teacher shortages because of the pandemic.

Tennessee Tech University Associate Dean for the College of Education Julie Baker said education majors are good candidates to fill these roles, and they encourage students to do so. Baker said the goal is for students to get experience on the job and know they are making the right career choice.

“That real time teaching experience and managing a classroom, that’s the kind of experience they would get through a sub job,” Baker said. “It’s important for them to know that up front, that that’s what they really want to do, that they’re dedicated to the profession.”

Baker said education majors would be eligible to substitute teach in Upper Cumberland schools. She said it’s the best fit for students who can build their schedule around substitute teaching.

“It would really be an ideal job for sophomores and juniors because they can build their schedule, that’s something they would have to think about ahead of time,” Baker said. “They would have to keep a couple days open in their schedule to be available to do that.”

Baker said substituting will not give education majors the complete experience of being a full-time teacher. However, getting practice in the classroom helps them learn what it’s like to manage a class.

“A sub job would allow them to do that with the students, to have a lesson plan to follow sometimes, in a sub position they would have a lesson plan that a teacher has left for them,” Baker said. “They would get to really practice and carry that out in a day in the life of a teacher.”

Baker said the students do consider the dangers of COVID in the classroom, but understand those circumstances are what they’ve signed up to do. Baker said many students are already getting a taste of what teaching has become this school year.

“They’re in our schools right now, those couple hundred residents and they’ll be there through April,” Baker said. “We have definitely had those conversations, we’ve helped prep them for that, we got them in contact with their mentor teachers very early so they could start just adapting and adjusting to what their mentor teachers and their particular school district were planning for this school year.”

Baker said the senior students make up a large portion of the students already in classrooms this year. Baker said the College of Education is partnered with over 50 school districts across the state.


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