Houston County Schools needs more substitute teachers.
Thursday morning, you couldn't find Ms. Kothe in her 7th grade science class at Mossy Creek Middle School, but we did find LaNell Waller substituting for her. She retired two years ago but wanted to get back in the classroom.
"I missed the kids, I missed those relationships that I had with my students, and so thats why I'm back," said Waller.
She's one of about 650 subs who work in the Houston County school system, but that isn't enough.
For example, Houston Schools personnel director Tonya Maddox says they needed more than 300 substitutes on Wednesday but were about 50 short. That leaves principals scrambling.
"They may pull a person who's not assigned to students all day to go into that classroom -- for example, a paraprofessional that has a more flexible schedule may cover that -- or to other teachers in the building that have some flexibility or availability during their planning time," Maddox said.
Maddox says there are a few basic requirements, like having at least an Associate's degree and attending substitute training. Then it's up to you to decide where to work.
Waller sticks to Mossy Creek Middle School. She says the hardest part can be classroom management.
"Sometimes they want to take advantage of a sub," said Waller.
After teaching for years, she knows all the tricks. She says the best part is setting her own schedule.
"You can work when you want to work. If you want to work every day, you pretty much can work every day because they need subs. If you don't want to work, you need a couple of days off, you just say no, so work when you want to work," Waller said.
It's fulfilling work without the responsibility of a full-time gig.
Substitutes with an Associate's degree make $10 an hour while those with at least a Bachelor's earn $11 an hour.
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