Amid shortage, Regional Office of Education #17 hosting sub teacher signup Thursday

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MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — In the twin cites the Regional Office of Education #17 is hosting a sign up day Thursday for substitute teachers.

It’s a one-stop-shop sign-up taking place in downtown Bloomington. Officials with the Regional Office of Education said substitute teaching is in higher demand more than ever.

The lack of subs is a problem local school districts have been facing all year.

“All of our districts across the four counties we serve are experiencing this sub shortage issues,” said Assistant to the Regional Superintendent for ROE17, Victoria Padilla.

Schools in McLean County including Bloomington District 87 are having trouble filling classrooms on a daily basis.

“Now because of COVID, our classroom fulfillment rates will be as low as the 50s, so you’ve got 50% of your classes being piecemealed together with subs,” said Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Sherrilyn Thomas.

Thomas said since the pandemic, District 87 has had trouble finding substitute teachers wanting to fill in when a teacher can’t make it to work. She said in the district, many other teachers or staff members are having to fill the void while juggling their normal jobs.

“Teachers are giving up their plan times, [and] principals are subbing in classrooms,” Thomas said.

In Heyworth, superintendent Dr. Lisa Taylor said they’ve been juggling the sub shortage on top of the nationwide teacher shortage, and current teachers are overworked.

“We found people indicating their stress was at an eight or a nine at the time of year when it’s normally at a four or five. A lot of that is because of COVID, but also just being exhausted. They’re not taking breaks during the day, [and] many of them are not getting their lunches,” Taylor said.

Officials at the Regional Office of Education #17 said anyone with at least 60 hours of credit can sub and can pick where and when they work.

“It’s flexible. Once you get the authorization letter, then you can sub in the districts that you want to sub in,” Padilla said. “Maybe you just want to sub where your child or grandchild goes to school, or maybe you just want to sub at the district down the block. Maybe you’re in school, and you need that flexibility of picking the days that you work. There’s just a lot of flexibility in the position and convenience.”

Thursday’s sign-up is taking place from 9-11 a.m. then again from 1-3 p.m. at 201 E Grove Street on the third floor.

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