In response to a shortage of substitute teachers and a steady student enrollment growth, Montgomery County recently revised the education requirements for substitute teachers.
Until this year, substitutes in MCPS were required to have their bachelor’s degree in order to apply for the job. This policy was recently changed to require only 60 college credits or an associate’s degree. This is a significant adjustment in the school system that is intended to help teachers who have been left without a substitute in the past and help limit the number of in-school class coverages. “I think this is a good change that will lead to a diversity of subs within the county. I have heard some of my teachers complain about not having a sub in the past so this change definitely makes sense,” junior Matthew Koplan said.
On any given day, 120 sub requests go unfilled across the county. This high number is due to a variety of reasons. There are not enough substitutes in such a widespread county and in addition to that, not all substitutes are available everyday. When a sub request isn’t filled, teachers are left in a quandary, searching for in-school class coverage or even having to cancel their plans. “If something comes up, finding a substitute is my number one priority. There have been multiple times when nobody has filled my spot and it is a very stressful situation to be in,” math teacher Suzanne Pykosh said.
This change also affects those looking to earn a teacher certificate in local colleges. It gives them the chance to be in the classroom and get the beneficial experience of teaching in different learning environments, something they could not have experienced before this revision. This is an opportunity for young people and future teachers to take advantage of during the growth of their career. “The idea of creating more partnerships with local colleges, Montgomery College and others, while candidates are en route to earning their degree – I mean it’s just a win-win,” chief operating officer of MCPS Andrew Zuckerman told WTOP news.
This revision will create a diversity in substitute teachers throughout the county. It will bring people of younger ages and in different situations regarding school and their career plans.
While some parts of the county have been more affected than others, almost every teacher has had their own negative experience with not finding a substitute teacher. While MCPS administrators were discussing this revision, every board member agreed that the education requirements should be changed, making the decision easy. Parents and students also had an opportunity to share their opinions before anything was officially changed and the majority of both groups argued in favor of the revision as well.