1. WHY DOES SUBSTITUTE, OR GUEST, TEACHING SEEM TO BE GETTING SO MUCH ATTENTION RIGHT NOW?
Part of the reason is because we are really promoting the program being offered by Eastern Iowa Community Colleges since it is only a year old. This is the first time a higher education institution has offered substitute authorization courses in our area. Second, and more importantly, several districts in the area have shared that there is a shortage of substitutes. Though there may be a large number of substitutes on their lists, a very small number actually accept subbing jobs. This can be pretty misleading when districts report how many subs they have, rather than how many are active.
2. IF SOMEONE IS INTERESTED IN BECOMING A SUBSTITUTE, HOW MIGHT THEY GO ABOUT DOING THAT?
o It depends on if they are interested in subbing in Iowa or Illinois. If subbing in Illinois, the person would need to have at least a Bachelor's degree, apply online, and pay a $50 fee. After that, any other requirements will be based on individual districts. In Iowa, however, applicants not only have to have at least a Bachelor's degree, they also have to be at least 21 years old, complete a substitute authorization course (which is what we offer), undergo a background check, and pay the fee. Similarly, after that other requirements are decided on my the individual districts. For example, because of state guidelines, all district will require mandatory reporter training, too.
3. ONCE A PERSON IS HIRED AS A SUBSTITUTE, HOW ARE THEY CONTACTED? Is it always a call early in the morning?
o Things have actually gotten fairly advanced. Early morning calls do happen for emergencies, but most of the time districts use an online program for advanced notice. Subs can even identify which days they want to work, what times they will and won't accept calls, and even which specific buildings and grade levels they are interested in. This is really nice for those who prefer to work with a certain grade level, certain days of the week, or just never want to receive early morning calls.
4. HOW DOES THE EICC PROGRAM PREPARE PARTICIPANTS FOR SUBBING?
o The state requires all programs to include observation hours and to cover the same basic topics: Ethics, Diversity, Classroom Management, and Instructional Strategies. Under these topics, I love to discuss real-world scenarios, actually use classroom strategies to provide experiential learning opportunities, and incorporate current research-based strategies and resources. Additionally, I do my best to foster strong relationships with my class participants. As a result, participants are more than welcome to stay in touch with questions, get together for follow-up mentoring, and even have me observe them while subbing when in my own district.
5. FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED, HOW MIGHT THEY GO ABOUT SIGNING UP FOR COURSES?
o People who are interested can sign up online through EICC's Continuing Education site at eicc.edu/ceregistration or via phone at 1-888-336-3907. Additionally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Iowa's AEAs also offer these courses, so there are several options between the two providers for different lengths of courses offered nights and weekends, as well as in Clinton, Scott, and Muscatine counties.
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