Schools Seek and Salute Substitute Teachers

Weakley County Schools Seek and Salute Substitute Teachers
Posted on 11/21/2022
WCS Substitute Tommie Pettit

With cold and flu season in full force, the Weakley County Schools district is recruiting additional substitute teachers. With November 18th marking National Substitute Teacher Appreciation Day, faculty and staff, students, and subs are highlighting the importance of the role in our schools.  

Substitutes are often in high demand throughout the school year. The need grows as illness spreads through schools during cold weather months. Along with support in the classroom, substitutes are needed to cover school nurses, food service staff, bus drivers, clerical/office personnel, and more. 

“We have outstanding substitutes who are beloved in the schools. We are always recruiting and encourage anyone interested to apply,” said Assistant Director of Schools Betsi Foster. “It’s a great way to identify if a career in education might be a good fit. Flexibility, good pay, and the support of school personnel makes substitute teaching a great option for someone who enjoys a unique, meaningful, and fun workday.”  

No prior experience working in education is required to apply for a substitute role, but an aptitude to work with students in a school setting is important. Interested applicants must apply at the Weakley County Board of Education, complete mandatory training, and complete a TBI criminal background check.   

Dresden Middle School Principal David Lewellen said that it’s clear how much his educators appreciate substitute teachers.  

“It’s important to teachers that their students are still learning and cared for when they must be out of the classroom. Having the trust that a professional is there to ensure that educational needs are being met means so much to our teachers, students, and their parents. Our subs do a wonderful job for us,” said Lewellen.  

Substitute Teacher Tommie Pettit said that great hours and flexibility are appealing about the job. 

“I have a full-time job working with LabCorp during the week, but I don’t work on Fridays. I have a son who is in school, and I figured it'd be great to earn a little extra money while he's in school that day. So I work as a sub just one day each week, conveniently during the hours when my son is at school. Being in the classroom and working with the students makes the day lively and fun. I love it,” said Pettit.  

Retired educator, principal, and superintendent Jerry Simmons has been working with Weakley County Schools in various roles for 52 years, with the last 17 in substitute teaching. He says that his care for the students is the reason he continues working in the schools.  

“It is very special when a student greets me at the door in the morning and asks, ‘Mr. Simmons, who are you subbing for today? Great! That’s my 3rd period class – I can’t wait. See you then!’  It warms my heart,” said Simmons.   

Luke Downard has been a substitute for the district since 2018. He believes that more individuals would consider substitute teaching if they knew the work was rewarding and beneficial.  

“Substitute teaching has many benefits. Some people find out quickly that they love being in the classroom. Above all, working with the students is great. Every day is different, fun, and unique. I appreciate the chance to substitute coach and teach without having to spend thousands of dollars, obtain a degree, and possibly move to find an open position. Substitute teaching is what I love doing,” said Downard.  

Presley Rollins, kindergarten student at Dresden Elementary School, said that substitute teachers make the day special.  

“It is a special day because a substitute is here. It is the same school, but it is a little different today. We are smiling all day. I love her and all my teachers,” said Rollins.  

For more information about substitute teaching or to start the application process, contact Mrs. Christie Lifsey at the Weakley County Board of Education at (731) 364-2247.  

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