Substitute Teachers Adapt to In Person Learning

Joe+Dorlac+continues+to+sub+at+MHS+and+help+out+during+the+teacher+shortage.

Media by Joe Dorlac

Joe Dorlac continues to sub at MHS and help out during the teacher shortage.

While students have transitioned to in-person learning these past few weeks, the absence of teachers is increasing due to more COVID-19 cases.

“With the shortage around, it seems like I have to cover for more teachers, so I stay busy,” Joe Dorlac, substitute teacher, said.

Dorlac said his role as a substitute has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and become more challenging.

“I am used to walking into a classroom full of kids but that’s not the case and the protocols have changed, so now I have to make sure kids are signing out before they leave and sitting in assigned seats,” Dorlac said.

Dorlac said his biggest difficulty is dealing with technology, especially when he gets logged off Zoom or students come in late to class virtually. He said it is hard to keep up with managing students in-person and online.

Amy McCally, secretary to Principal Dr. Steve Hankins, has been working to make jobs of substitute teachers easier.

McCally said substitute teachers have been having complications mostly with Zoom, but those issues are being fixed. 

I am used to walking into a classroom full of kids but that’s not the case and the protocols have changed.”

— Joe Dorlac, substitute teacher

“On Zoom, there is only one facilitator so making subs the host was an issue but we have figured out a way to make the sub a co facilitator and teach the class,” McCally said. 

McCally said the district has given MHS three building substitutes for the second quarter so that the school will have at least three subs on any given day. She said subs weren’t needed when school was virtual but more are needed with school being back in person.

Human Resources Director Tracey Edwards said subs are in demand in a time in which a sub shortage exists.

Edwards said the shortage was a problem before COVID-19 too but now it is a larger issue.

“With teachers having to be out due to quarantining, we are definitely looking for subs more than usual right now,” Edwards said.

Edwards said that some subs don’t particularly want to come in to help due to the pandemic and other personal reasons; therefore, the district is compromising.

“We are honoring many scenarios and personal feelings to support our subs during these unprecedented times and allowing them to stay on without subbing if they choose to stay home until they are ready,” Edwards said.

We are honoring many scenarios and personal feelings to support our subs during these unprecedented times and allowing them to stay on without subbing.”

— Tracey Edwards, Human Resources Director

As Edwards mentioned, some subs have decided to take a step back.

For Joe Wehrle, substitute teacher, his days of subbing have been put on pause.

“I have decided to take this semester off but I may pick it back up next semester and re-evaluate things over the holidays since kids are back in-person,” Wehrle said.

Werhle said he has taken a break because of  all of the technology and hassle that goes into managing students at home and at school.

“The Zooming part wasn’t that appealing without many students physically being in front of you and there was training involved as well that I wasn’t so sure about,” Wehrle said.

Werhle said even when learning was completely virtual he wasn’t doing much as a substitute teacher.

Given a lot of free time, Werhle said he is trying to keep himself busy because he finds it difficult to stay home for long periods of time.

“I took a trip to visit my sister in Tennessee and I have also done some refereeing for field hockey,” Wehrle said

Wehrle said he normally subs for 100 plus days per year and he misses seeing students and teachers at MHS.

“I have been subbing for Rockwood for 10 years and Marquette is my favorite school to sub out of all the other high schools in the district,” Wehrle said.