AUSTIN, Texas —
Austin Independent School District (AISD) is working to combat the teacher shortage crisis that many districts are facing across the country.
AISD is seeing a rising demand for substitutes throughout the district, and the distirct is always looking for more.
For the 2022-23 school year, AISD hired around 700 new substitutes to add to the staff directory as compared to last school year. The district hires substitutes all year round, as opposed to just hiring people at the beginning of the year.
When the district doesn't have enough substitute teachers to cover classes, AISD and teachers have to get creative about how they cover classes. Ultimately, that could impact the continuity of the student’s learning.
"Sometimes I think as children, they might not have their teacher there that day and then they have to be split up between other classrooms or be moved into the library to to work in there during that day. It might not allow them to do the sense that they're important, that somebody cares," said Arnoldo Gutiérrez, assistant superintendent of Human Capital Systems at AISD. "That's definitely not the message that we want to send. But they're children, and it's hard for them to understand. So I think that it's important for us to be able to keep that the the the education and the lessons and all of those things continue without having gaps in that so that ultimately our students can benefit."
Gutiérrez explained that it is easier to fill any vacancies for substitutes when there is more time to plan ahead. But filling the last-minute holes creates a challenge during the school year.
"We know that there are emergency situations where a teacher might ... need to be out. That's a shorter type of notice, and at times those are the absences. When we look at those that are not sealed, that tends to be the ones that are they're harder to pick up because substitutes tend to say, well, if it was just put in this morning, because substitutes can see what the absence was in there, there is probably a good chance that there aren't lesson plans," Gutiérrez said.
AISD hires new subsititutes weekly. Applications can be viewed online.