A Sluggish Economy Leads To A Surplus Of Substitute Teachers

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) -- Lashante Walker is working her way back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom. Lashante says in a tough economy the extra money is welcome.

"You do get a steady income when you are a regular substitute teacher in this school district, so it has helped a great deal," said Walker.

It's that chance for a steady income that's luring many people back to the classroom. Not necessarily to take classes, but to teach them.

"This entire year we've seen a larger number of applicants for those positions," said Jonesboro Public School Superintendent, Dr. Kim Wilbanks.

Those positions are for substitute teachers. Right now, Jonesboro has a list of 240 people eligible to sub. School officials say that number is up from years past.

"The quality of applicants we've seen range.  Many of them are individuals who are without jobs and are of a higher caliber than maybe we might normally see interested in substituting," said Dr. Wilbanks.

School officials say they're seeing more men applying, and more people ranging in age from mid 30's to late 40's.

"Substitute teaching provides an opportunity for somebody who's looking for temporary employment, or somebody who needs immediate employment,"said Dr. Wilbanks.

Dr. Wilbanks says the Jonesboro School District has a great pool of subs to choose from. She says a good substitute, usually finds steady work.

"To become a sub, it's just as competitive as any other job market. The people who are especially good get a lot of calls," said Wilbanks.

Substitute teacher, Lashante Walker, says she works in the Jonesboro School District at least three days a week. Not only is it serving her well now, she hopes it will also benefit her later.

"If you're not full time--to stay steady and have steady work on your resume to show that you were doing work in the meantime," said Walker.

Dr. Wilbanks says they held their last substitute training in February and won't hold another one unless the substitute list gets low.

Here are requirements to become a substitute with Jonesboro Public Schools:

High School Graduate

21 years of age

Complete Application Packet

Drivers License and Social Security Card

Criminal Background Check

One Hour Training Session

If you teach all day for a certified teacher the pay is $75.00.

In a classified position:

7 hours--$50.75

7 1/2 hours-$54.38

8 hours-$58.00