COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - We've heard about school districts all over the country cutting back and going on hiring freezes, but one group of educators is getting jobs: substitute teachers.
When students hear they are getting a substitute teacher for the day, many think of that as a free pass... but that's not the case in Muscogee County. More than 50 percent of subs have a background in education.
Muscogee County School District Recruiter and Substitute Teacher Liaison, Brenda Reed said, "We've hired 141 since June. We've been very fortunate that all of those except five were fully certified teachers."
There are more than 700 substitute teachers in the Muscogee County School District. Most are retired or just coming into the teaching field.
Retired principal and current substitute teacher Jose Negron told News Leader Nine, "Retirement was nice for a while, but I wanted to get back into the classroom and be with the students."
Brent Southerland used to have a teaching position, but after budget cuts, was let go. He now subs and holds another job until a full-time job opens up in Muscogee County, "It's a way for me to get in there, meet the teachers, principals and try to get a foot in the door to get an interview or a job. You meet new people and then they like you and you get on their preferred list and you get calls every morning."
"It's a common thing and it's also a great way to segue into a full-time teaching position," added Reed.
And the success rate for substitutes like Southerland, who have done this in the past, is pretty high.
Reed explained, "This past year, 33 subs were hired into full-time teaching positions, the year before that the number was in the 60's."
With all that experience coming into the classroom, it means when the teachers are out, kids will still be hitting the books.
"There is not a period of down time with these students, they are on target with their education," said Negron.
A lot of the substitute teachers are already in the classroom, and the district hopes after orientation, more get to work right away.