As most people know, the United States is in the midst of a severe teacher shortage, and this includes substitute teachers. North Dakota is no exception – Dickinson Public Schools (DPS) desperately needs substitute teachers and because of a positive collaboration between Dickinson State University’s (DSU) School of Education (SoE) and DPS, an opportunity arose.

DPS Superintendent, Marcus Lewton, asked if the SoE could help support teacher professional development by substitute teaching in all six elementary schools (Lincoln, Prairie Rose, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Berg and Heart River) and they all agreed enthusiastically! DSU professors Darla Hoffman, Jeri Braunagel, Sarah Crossingham, Amy Grinsteinner and Dr. Aus, along with eighteen of their elementary education students – ten of whom were licensed substitute teachers – substitute taught in 12 classrooms.

“I was able to get in classroom experience and utilize my substitute teaching license,” stated Lindsay Peterson, SoE student. “Sometimes it’s hard to find time between classes to substitute teach, so it was really cool that the School of Education took on this experience and supported us through it. With this experience, I have gained confidence and have become more comfortable in the classroom. We are truly lucky to have this type of experience as we grow as teachers in this region and I’m very excited for future visits!”

Each elementary classroom was assigned a faculty member and two student teachers (one of which was a license substitute teacher). This allowed the SoE faculty member to model and assist in instruction when needed and the DSU teacher education students to participate in authentic instruction. The SoE expects to do these three more times in the spring semester.

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