Northland Experiences Desperate Need for Substitute Teachers

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Nearly 50 percent of schools across the nation struggle with finding substitute teachers.

Schools in the Northland are also feeling the pinch.

Officials tell FOX 21 on any given day Duluth could need 60 to 75 subs.

Teachers doubling up their classes and even having principals step in and instruct students are some of the creative ways schools in Superior and Duluth are meeting the need when they do not have substitute teachers.

“I’m not aware of anyone that says well we have a surplus,” Superior School District superintendent Janna Stevens said.

According to reports and educators, the substitute teacher shortage can be attributed to various factors.

Some include low paying wages and unemployment rates improving, which result in more permanent and competitive jobs opportunities.

There is also the notion that substitute teaching can at times be a tough gig.

“Plus I think people look to have something more stable instead of going from one school, to another grade level or one content area to another,” said Stevens. “People are looking for more stability.”

The shortfall has some local and national schools amping up their recruitment efforts and incentives.

Duluth and Superior have increased their daily pay rate for subs.

“I would encourage anybody if you’re thinking that that may be something you want to try, call the school district,” said Stevens. “We have training throughout the year at different times to train substitutes. So I’d encourage anybody who is interested please call, we’d be happy to get them on board.”

Substitutes are needed the most during the flu season and spring.

Superior is also looking for substitute bus drivers.

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