Where are the substitute teachers? El Paso educators stressed by lack of backup for their classes

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UTEP's College of Education hosted a teacher job fair in November in the Don Haskins Center. Photo via UTEP Twitter.

EL PASO – School districts are seeing a shortage in substitute teachers and it is taking its toll on educators.

Rebecca Moreno, a substitute teacher with the El Paso Independent School District, says the need for subs is overwhelming.

Rebecca Moreno

Rebecca Moreno

“I have been getting a lot of calls, there’s just a lot of work out there, but there are only so many of us out there,” Moreno said, adding that she hopes more people will try to join the teaching pool.

“We need people to step up to the plate, you know to come out and help out our community. We desperately need it and we are a great team, great community and the kids are amazing.”

Norma De la Rosa, president of the El Paso Teachers Association, said teachers are feeling the stress of the shortage and are hesistant to call in sick when they need to.

“They don’t want to put their colleagues in that position of ‘Oh, you’re going to have to take some of my class because there’s no sub taking my class while I’m absent,” De la Rosa said.

The shortage is happening nationwide. A survey of school administrators by EdWeek Research Center found that 77% were struggling to find substitute teachers.

EPISD Director of Community Engagement Gustavo Reveles said the district’s pool of substitutes dropped during the pandemic when schools were closed. Now the district is working to get the word out on the availability of substitute positions and encouraging people to apply. The district is not only hiring substitutes but also tutors.

In an effort to attract more applicants, EPISD has increased pay for substitute teachers. This year the pay for non-degree substitutes went from $75 to $100 per day and for those substitutes that have a degree the pay went from $90 a day to $125. For certified teachers the daily rate went from $100 to $160.

Applicants must have at least 90 credit college hours to be a substitute. They must also pass security background checks. More information can be found on the district website here https://www.episd.org/Page/531.

 

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