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Due to Pandemic-Related Teacher Shortage, UW Students Encouraged To Substitute Teach

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

University of Wyoming education students are being asked to fill in as substitute teachers around the state.

Gov. Mark Gordon and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, in a letter sent to students at the UW’s College of Education, asked those who are certified as substitute teachers to act as substitutes during the period between the UW’s fall and spring semesters.

School districts around the state have reported a shortage of substitute teachers due to the coronavirus.

“Our school districts are struggling to staff their schools due to teacher/staff shortages caused by illness and exposure,” the letter said. “Teachers, paraprofessionals and school administrators are all pitching in to cover classes, but the current situation is not sustainable. If you are willing to serve our communities and our students by substitute teaching, please consider doing so.”

The letter also encouraged all of the university’s students with at least 60 hours of college credit in their area of study, the minimum needed to be a substitute teacher, to seek certification from the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board.

According to a news release from Gordon’s office, several hundred College of Education students are certified as substitute teachers.

Those serving as substitute teachers will receive wages paid by local school districts and will be eligible for a service credit from the university.

Leslie Rush, interim dean of the College of Education, said students can also gain practical classroom experience by serving as substitutes.

“Students can fill a critical need in the state while gaining a great deal individually from the experience,” Rush said.

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