Onweac Helps Sub Get A Job
By Sarah Jancich
Matthew Kohl recently returned to his alma mater, Monroe High School,
but now he is on the other side of the teachers desk as a substitute,
thanks in part to WEACs Professional
Development Academy and OnWEAC.
I see some of the teachers I had in the teachers lounge now,
he said. Its a little weird.
Kohl, a May 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earned
a degree in computer science. The downturn in the economy has limited
the job prospects in his field, so he decided to become a substitute teacher
while hes looking for full-time work.
Subbing is very flexible, so I can keeping looking for a permanent
job, he said. When I find something, I wont have to
worry about giving two weeks notice.
Kohl is one of the first people to complete the Professional Development
Academys online substitute teacher course. In Wisconsin, people
without teaching credentials who wish to become substitute teachers must
have a bachelors degree and fulfill the Department of Public Instructions
The course began accepting students in October, and more than 50 students
have registered for the class. The course consists of seven modules
on subjects like classroom management, legal and ethical issues and child
development. It takes about 10 hours to complete the course work, and
then each student must spend at least a half day observing a classroom
WEAC members Kathleen Doherty and Jeff Horney serve as the courses
instructors, and they closely monitor the progress of each student via
There are also interactive features like quizzes, discussion boards and
opportunities for self-reflection.
Well-qualified substitute teachers are in high demand, and many of the
states districts report that they are facing a severe shortage of
Before the Web course, prospective subs could only attend in-person training
sessions that last a day or more. The in-person sessions usually fill
quickly and are only offered a few times per school year, which limited
the number of people who were able to become substitute teachers.
I liked the online class because I could do it quickly, I could
work at my own pace, and I didnt have to worry about a job interview
coming up and conflicting with the class, Kohl said. I also
liked being able to go back and re-read sections to make sure I understood
Kohl said he worked on his course off and on for about two weeks, and
within three weeks after that, he received his certification materials
from the DPI. Hes currently subbing two or three times a week in
middle and high school classrooms in the Darlington and Monroe School
Kohl admits that, at first, the idea of teaching in a middle school classroom
was un-nerving, even though his mother teaches special education
at Darlington Middle School.
Once he observed a middle school classroom in action as part of his coursework,
he became much more comfortable with the idea. The teacher I worked
with was wonderful, he said. Once I got to know the kids,
I realized that I didnt have anything to worry about.
Learn more about the course by visiting http://learning.weac.org.
Posted December 19, 2002