WKU education students work as emergency substitutes


Arthur Trickett-Wile

Art Education Student Jaci Bolin serves as a substitute art teacher at Rich Pond Elementary school in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Here, Jaci instructs her kindergarteners to line up quietly as class ends.

Alexandria Anderson, News reporter

WKU students in the education program have been given the opportunity to become substitutes at local schools due to a shortage of teachers.

Senior education students were able to take these emergency substitute positions in place of the required semester of student teaching, starting in January of this year. This opportunity has given students the chance to gain experience in a classroom of their own, as well as potentially earning long-term positions in these school systems.

Lindsay Murray, a senior elementary education major from Franklin, is serving as a long-term substitute at Simpson Elementary School in Franklin.

“I was supposed to just be student teaching at Franklin, but my mentor teacher suggested that I be on alert for other opportunities because there’s such a teacher shortage,” Murray explained. “I went in for an interview for a long-term substitute spot in the 1st grade. I was super excited and started right then; I only had three days to get my classroom ready before the open house.”

Murray expressed that although being a long-term substitute was unexpected, it has massively impacted her goals for the future.

“When I started, I was told this would be a long term sub position, but at the open house I was told I might continue past December,” Murray said. “I’m hoping it leads to a full time position after I graduate […] My long term goal has always been to be a teacher at this specific school.”

This position serves as an opportunity for education students not only to gain real-world experience in their field, but to get to know a set of students and help the Bowling Green community.

“The best part about it is getting to know the students and how they learn best. It’s really hard to see, ‘Okay, what does this student struggle with?’ when you don’t really know them,” Murray said. “As their real teacher, you can sit down and think, ‘I need to work with my students on this’, because you can learn each of their individual skills.”

Murray said her advice to students who want a similar experience is to get to know current teachers.

 “Students going through the education program should just try to get your name out there,” she said. “Show out and schools will notice you.”

Jaci Bolin, a senior art education major from Bowling Green, is serving as a long-term substitute at Rich Pond and Rockfield Elementary Schools in Bowling Green.

“I believe I made a post online about student teaching positions, and an actual teacher at Rich Pond said I should apply for the art teacher position,” Bolin said. “I was just throwing my name out there […] It happened right after the bill saying student teachers could sub came out; it was that Thursday that I started.”

Bolin stressed the importance of real, in-school experience for those wanting to teach because of the differences in book work versus actually teaching your own class.

“Kind of being thrown into this position has been so great, because I’ve subbed a lot and observed a lot and it just doesn’t compare to being thrown into the position,” she said. “You’re not being told what to do, it’s all on you, and there’s no other option than to just do it.”

Bolin had advice similar to Murray’s for underclassmen wanting to go into the field of education.

“As soon as I reached the 64 college hours required to sub, I tried to get around to as many schools as I could,” Bolin explained. “It’s all about getting your name out there and making connections along the way.”

News reporter Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected]