Faculties in New Mexico are affected by a scarcity of substitute academics

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – New Mexico has been battling a teacher shortage for years, but the pandemic has only made it worse. This shortage includes substitute teachers and has a major impact on the classroom. The Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent said that sometimes other teachers, administrators, and principals have to step in to help because there aren’t enough subs to fill out when teachers are away.

Brian McAlister has been a substitute teacher at APS for three years. He said he accepted the job because he enjoys working with children and helping them become better students. “I usually do high school,” McAlister said. “This is the first year I’m doing middle school. It’s a challenge, but it’s a good challenge. I can see that I am making progress and I enjoy working with them. “

At the moment he is filling in as a math teacher at the middle school until the district fills the full-time position. “Albuquerque, APS needs a lot of teachers, so I hear there are a lot of positions,” said McAlister.

The teacher shortage is not limited to APS. It’s a nationwide problem and it was a pre-pandemic problem, but the COVID-19 hasn’t helped fill positions including alternates.

“So I think we’re sitting on 650 [current substitutes] So right now we need another 500 and that seems like a lot, but in this pandemic era the problem is getting exaggerated, “said APS Superintendent Scott Elder.

As the district tries to fill hundreds of positions, school administrators, other teachers, and even principals sometimes double-check to fill them and move on to different classes and cover your classmates, “Elder said. “We have EAs [education assistants], we have administrators, we have teachers, we do what we can. ”Superintendent Elder said the extra work puts even more pressure on the staff, which are already few and far between.

McAlister hopes more people will apply, and says it may be worth doing as a substitute. “If someone wants to work with young minds and earn a bit of money on the side, that’s good,” says McAlister.

In August, APS was looking for at least 300 regular apprenticeships, mostly in middle and high schools. The district is also trying to fill hundreds of other jobs for restaurants, caretakers and bus drivers. For more information on jobs at APS, see aps.edu/human-resources/substitute-services/apply-to-be-a-substitute.

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