Due To A Shortage Of Substitute Teachers, Some People Without A Teaching Background Are Being Recruited Into The Field

The pandemic had a direct impact on the job market, making it difficult for certain Americans to find and retain employment. However, for other instructors in Sioux City, the situation is the polar opposite.

“I went to North High and I didn’t think I would be back here,” said Jacob Moos, a Substitute Teacher at North High School.

Jacob Moos works as a substitute teacher in the Sioux City Community School District, yet he has no teaching experience.

Finding new replacement teachers is a challenge for the school district. According to the Director of Human Resources, they are actively seeking for substitutes.

“Currently, I would say our substitute fill rate, so the number of vacant positions we have filled is probably hovering around 75 to 80 percent,” said Dr. Jen Gomez, the Director of Human Resources for the Sioux City Community School District.

The standards for becoming a substitute teacher, on the other hand, have become less stringent. People just need 60 credit hours from a college or university, as well as a 20-hour online course to acquire their Iowa Substitute Authorization License.

“I think we’re up about 20, maybe, since winter break. We’ve hired permanent substitute teachers in five buildings,” Dr. Gomez said.

Making it simpler for people like Moos to qualify as substitutes.

“It’s virtual, it’s after hours, and it’s a couple days per week for two weeks. So it’s not too hard,” Moos said.

Aspiring substitute teachers must still pass a screening process.

“That all goes through the board of educational examiners when they apply for their license or their authorization. And then even as new hires, we do our background check as well,” Dr. Gomez said.

“As a real estate agent, you don’t make money unless you sell, and as a new agent, that doesn’t come really fast. And so being able to sub, I’m able to make enough money to work as much as I need to provide for my two children and my wife,” Moos said.

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