There has been a shortage of substitute teachers all over the nation for quite some time now. So, to tackle this critical situation, the school districts in different parts of Kern County are currently trying to get as many substitute teachers as possible by luring them with higher pay and additional bonuses. This year has been one wherein there is a lot of demand for teachers, but the availability has hit rock bottom. The pandemic has left its mark on the teachers and has left the teaching staff greatly diminished. The small number of K-12 substitute teachers almost halved due to the pandemic. From 2,026 substitute teachers all over the country in September 2019, the numbers dwindled to 1,105 this year in August.
With the steady increase of COVID cases at the onset of the school year in 2021, it becomes clear almost immediately that things are not going to work smoothly, as substitute teachers will be scarce. However, this is not just an issue faced by Kern County. It is the same scenario observed in states all across the country. The states are now relaxing the standard requirements they originally had for recruiting a substitute teacher. Even retired teachers can start substituting with immediate effect. The need for California Basic Educational Skills Test has been waived off. Hence, the decision helped those aspiring to work as substitute teachers. So, with this decision substitute teachers can now assist with exams and coursework and get added to the county list. Up until now, the number of substitute teachers has grown to a total of 1,456.
After the substitutes got included in the county list, it is essential to decide on the district or districts they need to work as teachers. The basic salary for working as a substitute teacher is $100 for one day’s work. With students in the higher classes, the present rates have increased, and the same applies to students with disabilities and special needs. The high schools can pay by the period or the hour. The retired educators can also get additional payment. Many substitute teachers say that they are not doing the teaching just for the money that comes with it. The truth is that it is not always easy to live by the payment that they obtain only through the daily rates.
The requirement for teachers is ever-escalating under the pandemic situation. Therefore, states all across the country are coming up with newer ways by which they can encourage teachers to attend to the needs of the students. Hence, considering the current state of affairs, it is safe to say that people will need to deal with the pressures of the pandemic for quite some more time. Many part-time teachers and substitutes were initially hesitant to take up the teaching jobs as the payment wasn’t well enough. However, with the hike in the payment structure in these jobs now, there is a surge of teachers ready to take up the teaching jobs.