Substitute teacher shortage at LPS

Lawton_If you think you have what it takes to be a teacher, Lawton Public Schools is looking for you.  They have a real need for substitute teachers.  Walking in someone else's shoes is a tough job.  Especially when the kids will be comparing the sub to their regular teacher.

A good education for Texoma kids is a must.  And our teachers do a great job - but, they're human.  They have personal lives, they get sick, they have to go to the dentist - sooner or later a full time teacher will need someone to teach their class for them.

Carol Page at Sub Services knows what it takes to do the job.  She says substitute teachers have a lot to learn, a lot to know and a lot to pick up quickly before the students arrive for the day.  "Some of them might think it's a piece of cake," she says.  "It's a really hard job and they're very vital to our kids - to have a good sub in that classroom."

She says they use between 75 and 100 substitute teachers per day and if someone is thinking about becoming a teacher - it's a great way to test the job out.  "If you plan on being a teacher, it's great to see what grade and areas you like," she says.

Page says substituting can be a lot of fun and it's a great way to give back to the community and kids.  But, there's also a lot of discipline involved.  They need people who are dependable.  Gracie Colvin is one person that Sub Services can depend on.  She's a retired teacher who left teaching for 10 years and found her way back to the halls of Lawton High.

"It's truly rewarding to stand before young people and work with them on an individual basis - and on a collective basis," says Colvin.  "I love it."  She says that she finds young people are a blank slate.  "I find that young people are a lot more real than adults are," she says.  "You're able to say things to them that will enable them to make it."

Dr. Ken Baden, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at LPS says substitute teaching is critical.  He says so far this year they have used 2,229 substitute teachers.  "Substituting is a very difficult job," he says.  "We use a great number everyday, and we believe that teaching relationship that the kids have with their teacher is one that's very powerful."

But he doesn't want anyone to think that Sub Services is just a machine.  "I encourage them to call me," says Baden.  "I want them to know they can call me and I'm going to help them find jobs."  There are some limitations on how many days someone can substitute - but it's not the case with special education.

There are no limitations on substituting for special needs kids.  An individual can sub as many days as possible because of the great demand.  And, since BRAC is coming they need substitute teachers even more.  "Its going to be in this community and its coming soon," says Baden.  "We anticipate anywhere from 1500 to 1800 additional kids and with that we will have more need for substitute teachers.  And that could also mean 100 more full time teaching positions."

If you would like information about becoming a substitute teacher at Lawton Public Schools, please call 580-585-6446 and enter extension 231.