Lesa Fletcher stays busy in the mornings keeping up with substitute teachers. (Sandra Le)
Lesa Fletcher stays busy in the mornings keeping up with substitute teachers.

Sandra Le

Fletcher speaks about district-wide substitute shortage

November 18, 2021

In the attendance office, every day begins the same way for Lesa Fletcher, the head clerk.

“The first thing I do in the morning is I come in and I check my list,” Fletcher said. “Some mornings, everything is covered. Some mornings, we have half uncovered and half covered. And at that point in the ball game, I have to go down during conference periods and remove people to put them in positions that are not filled.”

Once the subs have checked in, Fletcher will give them an information sheet and direct them to their classes for the day.

“On the average, we have about 250 (subs) a month,” Fletcher said. “Mondays, they’re kind of a surprise. Usually it’s someone that’s been ill or their children have been ill over the weekend. Tuesdays are kind of calm, Wednesdays are also calm. But then you’ve got football on Thursdays and Fridays and volleyball and soccer and tennis.

However, in recent years, the Wichita Falls School District has been in a state of substitute teacher shortages.

“There are days where sometimes the district will put a flash up there and there are some schools that are across the district that will be 50 subs short.”

Fletcher considers Rider, however, to be very lucky in this predicament.

“We do have a shortage, but it’s nothing like those schools do,” Fletcher said. “We really have maintained some consistency with subs that come. Sometimes you see the same faces that you recognize over and over.”

While the cause of a substitute shortage may still be a mystery, there is one factor that could be key.

“I do think it still has some to do with COVID,” Fletcher said. “We have a lot of older subs who have been around for a long time and are still wary about coming, even though they’ve had their shots.

“Subs will call and ask, ‘How many of your teachers are out with COVID?’ because they have in their mind that if a teacher is out with COVID, that there could be something lingering in the room that possibly hasn’t been cleaned. But our janitors are really good about cleaning the rooms during the day.”

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Meghan Helton, Copy Editor

Hi! My name’s Meghan and I am the Assignment Editor for The Rider Chronicle. I’m a travel enthusiast (I’ve been to over 14 different countries),...

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