Down 9% from before COVID, Clark County seeks substitute teachers

Substitute teacher Tony Taylor said he does it because of the kids and a flexible schedule.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Clark County Educational Service Center is looking for people to apply to be substitute teachers.

“Since COVID, there has been a decline in substitute application,” said Karlyn Clark, ESC communications coordinator. “There isn’t one specific reason for less applications, but we are hoping to see our numbers rise for the 2024-25 school year.”

For the 2023-24 school year, there are 214 people on the substitute list that schools can call from when looking for subs. That is a nearly 9% decrease since before COVID when there were 235 in 2019.

Since there isn’t one specific reason for the decline, Clark said it comes down to the people who have the time and flexibility to sub.

“The number varies year to year, sometimes based on the economy and the needs of the community. We are seeing a demand for more subs to support the teaching staff as schools are growing each year with more students and additional classrooms,” she said.

Tony Taylor, who has been a substitute teacher for the past five years in junior and senior high schools at Clark-Shawnee, Greenon, Northeastern, Northwestern and Tecumseh local districts, said he decided to sub for several reasons, including engaging with the students and having a flexible schedule.

“I like kids, I relate to kids. I also understand that I am a sub and not the main teacher, so I try to keep it light with the kids, but I do make sure that the lesson plans are taken care of and keep in control of the class, and I’m able to do both. I think that is partly why I’m asked for as a sub, and the kids like me a lot because I interact with them, have fun with them and treat them like people,” he said.

Taylor said he “gets requested a lot” and hears the students say they are excited to see or get him as a sub.

“I really like the kids ... They would feel safe and talk to me about their lives and problems,” he said. “There’s been some moments where I felt like God put me in this place ... I’m kind of blessed with a way to be interpersonal with the kids, and always being humble and lighthearted.”

Although there’s a sub shortage, Taylor said he doesn’t feel the pressure of being a sub, “but to fill in the time” and go the extra mile if a school needs it.

The ESC offers a pay rate of $100 a day for substitutes, as well as discounted BCI/FBI background checks and help when filling out the application and Ohio Teaching License forms. Substitutes also have flexibility with their time and where they’d like to work, Clark said.

Those interested do have to obtain a temporary licensure through the state, but they do not need a college degree. The application has options for bachelor’s degrees and non-bachelor’s to apply, however, non-bachelor’s have to complete online training provided by the ESC to be added to the board-approved substitute list.

“We are looking forward to a great 2024-25 school year and our subs are a huge part of that, (and) our passionate substitutes are a vital part of the Clark County community,” she said.

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