Child care teachers need a break.
That’s exactly what substitute teachers such as Rosalind Whittaker give them by substituting with ChildcareMatters Middle Tennessee Substitute Service, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
The Service provides a pool of substitute teachers from which child care program directors can choose. And they need more of them.
A native New Yorker, Whittaker began substituting with the service since it launched six years ago. That kind of longevity and experience means she has a unique perspective on the benefits of early childhood education, as well as a front-row seat to the challenges the industry is facing.
Whittaker also substitutes for Metro Nashville Public Schools.
“When I’m subbing — even in middle school — I’m seeing things that had students had from the outset, they’d be better prepared: behavior-wise, academically and socially,” said Whittaker, a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service.
She confirms what many already know about the need for early childhood education professionals — substitute teachers are no different.
“There is an immense need,” she said, for more substitute teachers.
“Knowing staffing is covered provides peace of mind for any business,” said Betty Witt, assistant director at McKendree United Methodist Church Daycare. “Being able to visit the ChildcareMatters Substitute Service website and have a substitute teacher at your fingertips is comforting.”
To take job assignments, substitutes are notified via text message when a child care program has an opening for a substitute. After reviewing the assignment and their own availability, the substitute chooses whether to take the job assignment.
Before taking an assignment, Whittaker talks with the director about their expectations. She then observes the classroom for a short while — then jumps in.
For newer substitute teachers, she suggests observing a class first, then interacting with the children.
“The directors and their staff will support you,” Whittaker said. “There really isn’t a lot that is unknown when you’re subbing.
“I’m trying to nurture good citizens,” she emphasized. “That’s what I’m about.”
Watch our full interview with substitute teacher, Rosalind Whittaker, to learn more about the joys and benefits of substitute teaching with ChildcareMatters Middle Tennessee Substitute Service.
Substituting with the ChildcareMatters Substitute Service is an ideal part-time work option for many, especially those interested in entering the field of early childhood education. The flexible work schedule is also a good fit for retirees, college students, and mothers or fathers with school-age children.
Working with the Service is also a great opportunity for hospitality and service industry employees, as well as retail workers, to supplement their existing income.
“Having qualified and trained substitutes ready to step into a program as needed gives educators and directors peace of mind that children will be taken care of and educated according to the program’s standards,” said Stephanie Hamburger, ChildcareMatters substitute coordinator.
Interested applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma. The Service provides the rest of the relevant training during onboarding.
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