Area districts in need of substitute teachers | Local News

EFFINGHAM — Rachael Orsborn’s first career in engineering led her to tutoring students in math in her free time. That sparked an interest in teaching.

“I was tutoring in the evenings and I needed something to fill in the day times,” said Orsborn.

But then she learned about the need for substitute teachers. That was back in 2007.

Orsborn has two bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering from the University of Evansville. But for the past 11 years, she has been a classroom substitute teacher.

“I’m here because I can help,” said the Effingham resident.

“I enjoy helping the students learn,” said Orsborn. “When I’m not on a long leave, I get called regularly. You can sub as often as you’d like. The job is here.”

This week Julie Wollerman, regional superintendent of schools for Regional Office of Education No. 3, said substitute teachers are in high demand in all districts across the region that encompasses Bond, Christian, Effingham, Fayette and Montgomery counties. Subs are needed for all grade levels.

“School districts in our area are struggling to find substitute teachers,” said Wollerman.

The shortage, which is affecting districts across the state, has led to new measures to help fill the void. Recently, a new state law was passed to allow for a short-term substitute license for those holding an associate’s degree.

The law, which Gov. Bruce Rauner signed in June, also allows reciprocity for comparable out-of-state licenses and for ex-teachers with lapsed certificates to qualify for substitute teaching licenses.

A substitute teaching license is valid for substitute teaching in all grades, prekindergarten through 12th. The license is valid for five years and may be renewed with the payment of registration fees without evidence of passing a test of basic skills.

Orsborn said while she has been fortunate to land extended-term substitute teaching positions in Effingham, Dieterich and Neoga school districts, there are also opportunities for short-term teaching, such as a day or maybe a few days at a time.

“This is my 16th (substitute teacher) long-term leave in my 11 years, and most of the jobs have been for math, but some for English,” said Orsborn. “But schools need subs. They need people.”

Orsborn has found the experience rewarding and school staffs very accommodating. She added that in her experiences the lunchroom staff, faculty, secretary staff, paraprofessionals, maintenance and custodians are always there to help.

“All the teachers are very helpful. Depending on the school and the department, most often there are plans in place for the sub,” said Orsborn.

“If you like to be around kids that’s a benefit. If you need something to fill in your day, there is work,” she said.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at or 217-347-7151, ext. 138

Meeting Oct. 9 to learn about being a Sub Teacher

The Regional Office of Education No. 3 in Vandalia that covers school districts in Bond, Christian, Effingham, Fayette and Montgomery counties will hold an informational meeting for potential substitute teachers at 2 p.m. on Oct. 9.

The expected hourlong meeting will be held at the Effingham Unit 40 office, 2803 S. Banker, Effingham.

The ROE is hosting the meeting to assist area school districts. The meeting will include explaining the requirements to become a substitute teacher, but also the expectations of most schools for subs. A background check is a part of those requirements for new licensed subs.

Register for the meeting by calling Annette Hartlieb, assistant regional superintendent, at 618-283-5011, or emailing her at There is no fee to attend, but registration is requested.

Learn more about substitute teaching online at

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