Wanted: Substitute teachers in Texoma schools
SULPHUR, Okla. (KTEN) — Three months into the 2022 school year, the need for substitute teachers is on the rise. The impact on the classroom is putting stress on some district administrators across Texoma.
Sulphur Middle School principal Steven Pyle said the shortage has had an impact on his daily responsibilities.
"I have to sub in a class at least once a week — if not more often than that — which causes me to have to neglect some of the office duties," he said.
In Murray County, Davis Public Schools and Sulphur Public Schools have made it known that the districts are in need of substitute teachers. The limited number of people to help out in the classroom is compounded by more than 1,000 teaching vacancies across the state at the beginning of the school year, according to the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
Alicia Foster, a substitute teacher at Sulphur, said the shortage makes her schedule busy.
"I do get several phone calls asking if I'm available those days or not," Foster said. "For the most part, you try to make it work, because you know when they are calling and reaching out to a substitute, they are in a bind and need someone to cover those classes to continue teaching those children."
To counter the shortage, Sulphur Superintendent Matt Holder said the district has adjusted incentives.
"We actually increased our pay $10 a day, for both our certified and non-certified substitutes," he said. "You don't have to have a degree to be a substitute."
Increased pay, flexible hours and a lower bar to qualify are incentives being used to get some help into the classroom.