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Beatty Schools seeking subs

The faculty and staff of Beatty schools are currently pretty much up to full strength according to Principal Chris Brockman. They did experience a critical shortage before Thanksgiving, when a couple of teachers were out on personal leave and another had oral surgery, leaving them with too few teachers to operate.

The schools’ persistent staffing problem is a total lack of substitute teachers.

“The district has given us permission to hire long-term subs,” says Brockman. “They would come to work every day, and we would use them wherever we needed them.” So far they’ve had no takers.

As with so many things, the pandemic has proved a daunting challenge for schools as they strive to provide essential education while keeping students, faculty and staff as safe as possible.

Although some education, even before the pandemic, had successfully migrated onto the Internet, on-line learning is not ideal for everyone. It works best for students who are highly motivated and have strong, supportive parental supervision.

Many students are best served by in-person classroom education, and the ability to socialize with classmates is important to their emotional well-being. For many students, the loss of extracurricular activities, especially sports programs, has been a major disappointment.

Having the children physically going off to school is also important to many parents who may work out of the home or who feel stressed by lack of time to themselves or of dealing with the demands of parenting while working from home.

Adjusting to the pandemic has also been stressful for teachers. Like other essential workers, teachers called to teach in in-person or hybrid modes fear the possibility of contracting the virus and bringing it home to their families.

Many teachers who have developed their lesson plans and teaching style through years of experience, have suddenly found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Beatty High School home-education teacher Julie Moen, who plans to retire at the end of the year, recently described herself as “a last-year, first-year” teacher.

Maybe schools will be able to return to some semblance of normalcy next year as the vaccine becomes more widely available, but in the meantime, substitute teachers are at the top of the Beatty schools Christmas wish list.

Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.

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