If you are passionate about educating local kids, the Johnson County School District wants you to be its guest.

“During my years in education, I found that the term ‘substitute teacher’ does not always have the best connotation,” said Kellie Boedecker, the district’s director of learning and curriculum. “That’s why the district is looking for what I call ‘guest teachers.’ I believe the classroom should be an extension of the home, and in your home, you treat guests with respect and kindness. We’re hoping to find a lot of new guests that we can welcome into our district home this year.”

The school district is searching for guest/substitute teachers who can fill in throughout the school year. Boedecker said this has been an ongoing challenge for the district because teachers take days off to assist with sports, bands and other school activities. Boedecker said that the guest teacher shortage is not any worse than in previous years, but the need remains. The district currently has around 50 guest teachers but would love to have 70 or more, Boedecker said.

“Fridays are especially tough for us,” Boedecker said. “We’d love to have a deep bench of guest teachers that we could pull from when we need to.”

All guest teachers must be certified with the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board. There are several paths to certification, according to Boedecker. One is to complete at least 60 semester hours or receive an associate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Another way is to complete at least 30 hours of classroom observation, Boedecker said. In January, Sheridan College in Johnson County will offer a course in which potential guest teachers can complete their observation hours.

All potential guest teachers must submit an application packet, undergo a background check and complete the U.S. and Wyoming Constitution exams before being certified by the state board. Once all materials have been submitted to the state board, the approval process takes roughly six to eight weeks.

“It’s not a hard process, but it is a long one,” Boedecker said. “But it is well worth the wait. The schools are really fun environments to work in.”

Boedecker said several Johnson County residents are undergoing the certification process and should be ready to go before the start of the winter semester. But Boedecker said she could always use more guest teachers.

“I’ll take as many guest teachers as we can get,” Boedecker said. “The winter season is always a busy activity time, so we’ll take as much help in the classroom as we can get.”

Guest teachers are paid $94.50 per day, according to Boedecker. If you want to learn more about being a guest teacher, contact Boedecker at 684-9571.

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