State colleges offer credit hours and pay for substitute teaching

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Kentucky’s Educational Professional Standards Board decided last fall to allow college student teachers to receive credit hours and pay as emergency substitute teachers for the rest of the school year. 

Student teachers are undergraduate education majors in their final semester of college, to student teach. Traditionally, state law says that the government cannot pay student teachers. 

Student teachers also could not take over the role as lead teacher without a teacher supervisor. 

The board amended these regulations last fall through this spring due to the severe shortage of both teachers and substitute teachers. 

Western Kentucky University senior Jaci Bolin is a student teacher. This spring she is substituting for the art teacher at Rich Pond Elementary School in Warren County.

“Every day it’s, ‘Miss Bolin, what are we doing today?’ It makes me excited to come to work. That’s what makes me most excited about it, I think,” Bolin remarked.

She said she loves the trial by fire learning experience that she gains by substituting in the classroom alone.  

“They definitely just, they throw you right in there,” Bolin commented. “So, that’s what I love about subbing is you kind of just learn for yourself.”

WKU’s Director of Office of Professional Educator Services Stephanie Martin said these revised amendments are a win-win for the student teachers and the schools.

“Our students are getting paid, and a lot of them have to quit their jobs when they student teach, so this is really helping them that way. Also, they’re gaining really valuable experience that they probably wouldn’t do with a mentor teacher in the room with them,” said Martin.

But substitute teaching is not just for student teachers in colleges. State law has said for years that any Kentucky undergraduate students with over 64 credit hours may apply to guest teach or substitute in Kentucky schools. 

WKU senior Garrett Kastelic jumped on that opportunity himself. He became a substitute teacher when he barely scratched the surface of 64 credit hours.

“Being able to do it at such an early age before I started student teaching, it was just amazing,” said Kastelic. 

So, people who are student teachers like Jaci or an undergraduates with over 64 hours like Garrett can check out their local schools and see how they can make a difference.