Schools Statewide Suffering Substitute Shortages

Mar 23, 2015

Each year, there are fewer education majors at Indiana colleges.
Credit Judy Baxter /

Many school corporations say they’re now struggling find substitute teachers. It’s a trend in school districts across the county, but recent changes in the Hoosier education landscape make it a special challenge in Indiana.

Experts speculate that low pay, irregular employment patterns and poor training all contribute to the shortage of qualified substitute teachers.

Others argue the pool of candidates has shrunk because fewer college students today study to become teachers.

But not all substitute positions require a teaching certificate. The minimum qualification in most Indiana districts is two years of documented college coursework.

And that credit doesn’t necessarily have to come from a school of education, or the subject area in which a substitute teaches.

"I think school corporations in some communities are so desperate, they just want to know that you can pass the criminal background check and that you have some capability of picking up a substitute lesson plan and at least reading and understanding it and going with it," says Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith

Meredith adds that teachers and subs in Indiana also face a unique set of challenges with added pressure from the introduction of new academic standards and assessments in recent years.