Tulsa Public Schools faces substitute shortage as many make the shift to full-time teaching

Posted: 4:38 PM, Oct 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-05 12:20:41Z

TULSA, Okla. -- Tulsa Public Schools has about 3000 teachers.

On some days, as many as 300 of them may call out of work.

"There have been times where I've had to sit in on a classroom because a sub didn't show up. You get used to it because you know you're there to help out," Monroe Demonstration teacher Shaniqua Ray said.

TPS staff said in a perfect world, they'd have 1500 substitutes. But in four years they've gone from 800 to fewer than 400 subs. It's a number that keeps dropping.

One of the main reasons is the teacher shortage. With hundreds of emergency certifications across the district this year, many switched from subbing to full-time work.

"Kind of a catch-22 because we're able to find some really strong teachers, but that does deplete the substitute pool fairly significantly," director of talent Bradley Eddy said.

One Monroe teacher went from being a substitute to an alternative certification this year. Teachers said he's one of four at Monroe Demonstration School.

"It was a big change. There's a lot more to teaching, a lot more lesson planning, a lot more being prepared for your day before it comes," Chance Stone said.

The district said they have changed the process so a substitute can move from the application to the classroom in just a few weeks.

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