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Struggling with shortage of substitute teachers

This week, we take time to pause and say Thanks. When school started this fall, we said we were trying to get as much back to normal as we could do safely, and it has been great to have much of the typical school activities back in place.

That said, normal is not what it once was; maybe that’s just the way life changes and there’s always some sort of “new normal”. While we have been able to schedule full face-to-face learning and hold very successful fall activities, we still have COVID protocols that include quarantines and close contacts that certainly cause pause for reflection on the global pandemic that is like an unwanted house guest that just won’t leave.

Our staff is second to none, and they come to work each day with the best interest of each of their students in mind. I see MPS staff coming early, staying late, and putting their best into meeting the needs of kids.

A major struggle this year, even more than in a typical year, is the shortage of substitutes. When a staff member has a sick child, an appointment, or is not feeling well themselves, the work simply does not wait until they return.

Each classroom is still full of kids looking for their teacher, mentor, or support person. It’s hard to leave plans and work for a sub when there is one available, but when there isn’t one available, the burden is even stronger.

Teachers cover classes for each other during their prep, meaning their prep work goes home and infringes on their own family or relaxation time. I am very proud of our staff and know that each day when I send my own kids to school they are loved and cared for.

For all these reasons, I want to say a special thank you to all our staff; they are great and are very appreciated.

— Jeremy Williams is superintendent of Marshall Public Schools

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