IU addressing the teacher and substitute teacher shortages

BLOOMINGTON – Teacher and substitute teacher shortages have been an issue throughout the country, leaving school districts struggling to fill positions.

Substitute teachers have historically earned low pay but have been in high demand in the past few years as more people leave the profession. 

A new eight-week course on substitute teaching guidelines and tips is aimed at helping students navigate the substitute teaching process while providing a much-needed resource to local school districts. It makes sense to tap into a pool of IU students who are eager to learn but who may need the extra bit of help to navigate the logistics of becoming a substitute teacher, says Suzanne Thomson, course creator and adjunct professor in the IU School of Education.

Seventeen students completed the online course, which walked them through the typical employment process of a school district, including how to get a substitute permit.

Afterward, students could choose one of three projects:

  • Complete the substitute teaching hiring process in the local Monroe County Community School Corporation
  • Complete it in another district of their choice
  • Make a plan on how they’d go about this process

Fellow course creator and IU faculty member Sharon Daley says that becoming a substitute teacher is a long and sometimes complicated process, and it helps to have someone walk you through it.

Sharon Daley

Students in the course also created a cheat sheet on best practices when substitute teaching, which included professionalism, networking, managing a classroom, and developing a lesson plan, if needed.

The class will continue in the fall 2022 semester, with two, eight-week courses planned.

Daley says she would like to expand the class beyond education majors to provide students in different majors an opportunity to experience what it is like to teach.

Information: Indiana University Research Impact