Substitute Teacher Authorization course offered

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Several school districts in Iowa are having a hard time finding substitute teachers. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges are now offering an Iowa Substitute Teacher Authorization course.

People do not need an education degree to substitute teach. Anyone who wants to substitute teach must have a bachelor's degree and complete an authorization course.

Clint Heitz taught the first session held tonight. He also works as an adjunct instructor at the Bettendorf Community School District. Heitz said the district often struggles with finding qualified substitute teachers.

"It's a lot of teamwork, a lot of collaboration. We'll have teachers covering each other or subs pulling double duty where they're covering for half a day in one building and half a day in another, so it does become challenging, but our districts all work together and our teachers work together to make it happen," said Heitz.

The authorization course allows people to become short-term substitutes, meaning they are qualified to substitute teach for a maximum of five consecutive days. People who want to substitute teach long-term must apply for a teaching certificate.

"Without having a full teaching background, it's a little harder to do long term subbing because of the lesson planning, grading, parent contact, so this provides them with the tools for short term substitute positions with learning strategies, classroom management skills, the legal ramifications of what a teacher does day to day. So, it does help provide some sort of support to our public schools," said Heitz.

George Pickup is the principal for 7th to 12th grade at DeWitt Central High School and says they have not had issues with finding enough substitute teachers. He said this may be due to the fact that the state allows those with bachelor's degree and completion of the authorization course to substitute teach.

"That has helped us because we have 3 or 4 of those and we can call them on the spot if they're not taken by another school because we have 4 buildings here. I think that's helped tremendously," said Pickup.

He also added that many substitutes live near the district.

The first training session for the course will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays until October 3rd. The second session will be held on Saturdays from September 23rd to October 21.