NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodFond du Lac


Filling the gap: Wisconsin schools often struggle to find substitute teachers

Posted at 10:31 PM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 23:31:06-05
  • Many school districts in the state struggle to find substitute teachers.
  • Video shows the perspective from the Fond du Lac School District and a substitute teacher.

Picture this — your child shows up to school to find out their teacher is out with the flu.
What will happen to their learning?

It’ll be in the hands of a substitute teacher, which there aren’t enough of. That’s according to Fond du Lac School District Human Resources Officer Marisa Lombardo, who said a shortage of subs is something every district in the state faces.

“The teachers that we have in our classroom are very highly qualified educators, and when they have to be out for illness or some sort of personal reason, it really is a huge gap for the kids,” Lombardo said.

It’s a gap that former teacher and mom of three Aniya Langjahr knows well.

“If their teacher’s gone. . . the rest of the staff will have to cover for the classrooms and so then it just kind of it's interrupted the whole day,” Langjahr said.

Langjahr left teaching to stay home with her young child when schools shut down due to the pandemic. Now she works as a substitute teacher for the district.

She said her job as a sub is more important than ever as cold and flu season sweeps through.

“It's essential to keeping our population healthy, you know, getting teachers time to rest that they need to get healthy,” Langjahr said.

Lombardo says the Fond du Lac School District has a large pool of potential subs, but only about 30 to 40 that are in the buildings work regularly.

“It's every day there is a vast need for substitute teachers and every level,” Langjahr said.

Many school districts use apps that allow the pool of substitutes to see what classes are available for subbing each day, which Langjahr says is helpful in planning her own schedule.

Substitute teachers can be anyone with a bachelor's degree. But there are substitute positions open that don’t require a college education.

“I feel like it's a niche area where there's a lot of need,” Langjahr said.

Those interested in substitute teaching in the new year can contact their school’s human resources office for an application.