Serving the community through alternative teaching

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – As the cold weather arrives, it’s a reminder that cold and flu season is upon us as well.

While illnesses are a reality for everyone, it creates major challenges for school districts already squeezed for teachers.

In tonight’s eye on KELOLAND, the important role substitute teachers play in ensuring there are no gaps in our children’s education.

“He’s got wide eyes, doesn’t he,” Sioux Falls substitute teacher Tami Grosvenor told a student in her class.

Over the past four weeks, Tami Grosvenor has gotten to know the kids in her class, but in two and a half weeks she will be moving on to another task.

“I found that I really, really like to substitute, it’s a fun and weird challenge,” Grosvenor said.

She has a teaching degree, but has spent most of the last 15 years teaching her own children.

“I homeschooled my kindergarten kids two 12e year and they’re both adults and out of the house now, so it’s a great job for someone who doesn’t want a full-time job,” Grosvenor said.

“I love it, I wish I could work every day,” said Harrisburg substitute teacher Deb Weber.

Deb Weber has been a substitute teacher in Harrisburg for six years now, a passion she rediscovered after a brief retirement from her music teaching career.

“I had the cleanest drawers and cupboards in the county. I got bored and thought maybe I could go into substitute teaching because I really missed working with kids,” Weber said.

“I had no classroom experience, I went to school, but I had never done this before and thought it would be interesting,” said Jay Huizenga, a substitute teacher in Sioux Falls.

Jay Huizenga is proof that you don’t have to be a teacher to serve as a substitute.

“If you want to be around kids who really want to learn, getting into elementary schools and middle schools is great fun,” Huizenga said.

Huizenga worked at KELOLAND News for more than 40 years, including more than a decade as the station’s general manager.

“I was watching a story about KELO and they were saying they needed replacements,” Huizenga said.

But barely a year after retiring from running a TV station, he decided to turn his attention to running a classroom.

“What I’ve really seen is the need for the district, and it’s really statewide. They really need that help. If we’re not there, the substitute teachers aren’t doing that. , then teachers who are in school have to replace those who have left,” Huizenga said.

It’s a complicated puzzle that schools across the state have to solve every morning.

“We have 100 staff here, if only 10% are gone, we need 10 people in the building that day,” Harrisburg High School Principal Ryan Rollinger said.

But there are many days when the call for a replacement goes unanswered.

“I found that’s really important when I come to a school and there’s a classroom next door and they don’t have a substitute, nobody got the job, nobody signed up for this. It’s really hard on the class, they can’t keep up with their routine,” Grosvenor said.

It also means additional stress for other teachers in the building who are pulled from their routines.

“It’s stressful for the staff. When staff have their planning period or their preparation period, they have to bring in replacements from other areas,” Weber said.

That’s why more people are needed to answer the call for help in the classroom.

“I think teachers are the cornerstone of caring for our students and our children. So I wanted to help where I could, so that’s community service for me,” Huizenga said.

Something anyone in the community can do.

“Ex-teachers, retirees, we’ve had some really good situations of people in the community working maybe four days a week or something like that,” Rollinger said.

This flexibility is a big draw for those who substitute for community service or part-time employment.

“I can work when I want to work. And if I’m busy doing something else, I don’t need to work. There are always jobs available,” Grosvenor said.

“I’m sure you could help out every day if you wanted to because there’s that kind of need. For me, it’s when it’s convenient for me and when I’m in town,” Huizenga said.

And school districts and teachers are doing everything they can to make your job as a sub as easy as possible.

“The front desk staff are so welcoming and kind and show you where to go and tell you what you’re supposed to do,” Weber said.

“We’ll take anyone who wants to come and try it out, we’re trying to support you as best we can,” Rollinger said. “With today’s technology, a lot of the curriculum and what you’re going to do is on the kids’ device…so often it’s just a matter of monitoring and helping us with the attendance, just making sure students are engaged.”

All it takes is a talent for keeping an eye on the kids.

“It’s a lot of common sense, if someone isn’t doing the right thing you have to tell them to do the right thing, it also comes from being a mother,” Weber said.

In addition to benefiting children, substitute teaching can also help you share your passion with the next generation.

“I got to teach journalism one day, so it was fun,” Huizenga said.

“There are so many jobs available, if you want to do physical education if you’re a sports person,” Grosvenor said. “You just find your niche, then you find those jobs and keep working those jobs.”

Harrisburg and the Sioux Falls School District raised the salaries of substitute teachers this year, and no degree is required to help them.

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