Help Wanted: New Hanover County Schools looks to ease substitute teacher shortage

School officials looking for substitute teachers to address shortage

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County Schools is hiring now to fill dozens of open substitute teacher positions.

School districts across the nation are seeing staffing shortages and it’s no different in southeastern North Carolina.

District leaders say the substitute teacher shortage is pretty serious right now, but with vaccinations underway, they’re hoping more people will step up to lend a hand in the classroom soon.

Of the 400 subs in the district’s system, just 60 percent are accepting jobs with the ongoing pandemic. Some subs are in high-risk categories, while others told the district they needed to stay home and help their grandchildren with online learning.

“It’s bad — we are managing because of the rock star folks that we already have in place, the creative problem-solving at the school building level with principals and other teachers and counselors, and anyone else jumping in to help wherever needed,” said human resources supervisor for hiring Susan Sellers.

The job postings are up now though and promising flexible hours and solid pay. And, you don’t need a teaching license — just a high school diploma and the will to help out.

“You might be a college student who’s working, doing their coursework online so you’ve got some days free, or a recent graduate who’s not gainfully, fully employed yet — a retiree, or someone who is just ready to get out the house. We need substitutes to serve our students and our district,” said Sellers.

Ernestine Freeman retired from the district almost a decade ago, after more than 30 years as a teaching assistant, but she hasn’t left the classroom. She’s been subbing for the school district since 2012.

Over the years, she’s found herself working again with her old students and teaching their children, too.

“It’s rewarding — I love children,” Freeman said. “You’ll be helping someone’s child to be a better person, to learn what’s going on in the world, to help them advance to be better for themselves. Let him know that they are somebody and you are there to help them.”

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