Millard sub-shortage

District struggling to fill in substitute positions


Photo by Tenley Wright

Pictured above are Millard West teachers Tim Royers and Brooke Phillips.

Natalie Eljamal, Online Editor

The Millard Public School District has faced many problems, but this one may be a little ironic: a shortage of substitute teachers. The district is in need for subs and are posing incentives to gain more attention to those who can fill these spots. From handing out T-shirts to gifting Apple Airpods, all efforts are being made to staff individuals in place of the teacher. The source of the problem is considered a teacher shortage along with not enough individuals are Millard certified or they already sub in the metro district making them too busy to teach for Millard. 

“We have increased guest teacher teacher pay,” Millard Human Resource Recruiter Jeanine Beaudin said. “We have offered incentives for a higher daily rate of pay for guest teachers who work 50 days or more during the school year, we’ve offered staff development opportunities to our guest teachers, we’ve hired many of our student teachers as local substitutes which means they can teach in their classroom when their cooperating teacher is absent or if their cooperating teacher covers another class for a teacher who is absent. We’ve held guest teacher appreciation events and we do monthly giveaways for guest teachers who work on Mondays and Fridays, the two days with the highest need for guest teachers.”

Student teachers have been able to take advantage of this issue since they can sub in for the teacher when they are absent, allowing them more teaching opportunities. However, the student teachers can only sub in for their particular teacher. 

“I am able to sub for my two cooperating teachers, because I applied for my local substitute certificate through Millard and they granted me that,” student teacher Chris Hudek said. “Applying for the certificate, I had to get a letter of approval from the superintendent office but the HR at Millard covered all of that for me. However, I can only sub a total of 10 days.” 

When there are no subs to cover for a teacher, they need to be covered internally by teachers who work at the school, in some cases even administrators. Many of the Millard subs are retired teachers who create their own schedule so they can spend their time traveling and obtaining new knowledge. 

“Because I am retired, I am choosing to use my time to travel and do other things I want to do,” substitute Rhonda Chomos said. “However it is nice to know that I have a job basically available when I want to.”

Along with other retired teachers, Chomos teaches whenever her schedule allows, while still being able to do other things she love that she didn’t have time to do as a full time teacher. This could be another reason for a shortage. Given the fact that a large portion of substitutes are retired teachers, many spend their time relaxing and traveling, which cuts down on the amount of eligible candidates. 

“The shortage of subs is a nationwide problem,” Millard West Principal Greg Tiemann said. “My take is a better economy and low unemployment rate. Every business and organization is short on labor to fill all the open positions.” 

While displaying “Millard is hiring” signs and offering motives, there are still a lack of subs on certain days of the week and times of the year. Schools are ensuring that all  are given everything they need to have a smooth day and make them feel welcomed in every Millard school. They will continue their social media presence and update openings on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and hosting local job fairs.