Natarsha Williams was familiar with working with children when she applied to be a substitute teacher at Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) a few years ago. While living in Washington, DC, she worked as a teaching assistant (IA) and coached cheerleading. As a substitute working at several elementary schools – including Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy and Dr. James Craik Primary Schools – enjoys working with young children.
You never know what or who you might let walk into an elementary school classroom. “You have to understand that in the classroom you’re dealing with multiple personalities at once,” Williams said.
Getting into a school for an assignment always changes from day to day. A deputy jumps in where there is a need, goes where he is needed. “Helping where it’s needed isn’t always what you choose, but there is a need and maybe you can offer something to a child who is missing them,” Williams said.
Nancy Lytle has been acting for eight years and spent her final year at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School. Most recently she was in first grade. It goes well with Lytle, who said that first grade is her favorite class to teach. “I think first grade lays the foundation for a lot of learning.”
Having a set task for a specific period of time is a plus, but those who represent are used to being flexible and willing to tackle something new for the day.
“I sign almost every day with Dr. Mudd,” said Darlene Penny, a retired CCPS secretary. “Although I may not know my job until I arrive for the day.” Penny worked for the FBI before taking a job at CCPS. She started out as a temp before getting a job as a secretary at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School. After retiring from the position after 15 years, she was able to join Dr. Mudd did not stay away and returned to the school as a substitute. That was four years ago. “I enjoy subscribing,” Penny said, adding that she has a passion for being in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms and seeing the students grow up. “It’s refreshing to hear kids talk to me and hug me because they remember me hiding in their classrooms.”
Replacement Teacher Day was celebrated on November 18 as part of National Education Week. To work as a substitute teacher at CCPS, applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and provide references with the application. After checking the references, the candidates complete a four-hour orientation course. All new hires at CCPS are subject to a background check and fingerprinting.
Substitute teachers who complete at least 12 assignments in a month for CCPS will receive a $150 incentive included in the previous month’s end paycheck. In recent months, 126 substitute teachers have earned the incentive – 53 in September and 73 in October. Four representatives worked 20 days in September, 25 between 16 and 19 days and 24 between 12 and 15 days during the first full school month.
In October, five substitute teachers worked 20 days, 26 worked between 16 and 19 days, and 42 worked between 12 and 15 days.
Click here to apply to become a substitute teacher and fill out the online application. The representative office is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 301-934-7233. To learn more about the requirements for substitute teachers, click here.