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Substitutes say they like filling a need

As substitute teacher Fred Whitney walked to the choir room at Morris Area High School on the morning of March 1, he said he'd liked substituting because "you never know where you are going to be on what day, from one day to the next."

On this day he was in choir. On another day he could be covering a classroom in a different subject at MAHS.

Whitney was a Spanish education major in college. He earned his teaching license in Oregon. When teacher layoffs started not long after he earned his license, he started substituting. "It's really all I've done," Whitney said. "Substituting is fun."

He moved to Morris about a year ago. He started subbing in the Morris Area district in September.

Two other substitutes in the district started after they completed teaching careers.

Deb McNally retired after 25 years from the Herman-Norcross school district while Francie Turner retired from the Morris Area school district 10 years ago.

"I enjoy working with kids," Turner said. "It's my trade."

"I knew subbing was a way to continue working with kids," McNally said. "I love teaching kids."

Substitute teaching also offers them a flexible schedule, the substitutes said. They can accept or reject a substitution position based on their own personal schedules.

McNally substitutes on average two to three days a week. Whitney said he has been a substitute nearly every day of the week. Turner substitutes about 10 days a month.

On March 1, Turner was subbing in a fourth grade classroom.

"I'm usually in the high school. Today I'm in the elementary," Turner said.

Turner said since she's been subbing for 10 years, she's gotten to know many of the students. When she substitutes in seventh, eighth or ninth grade, she knows many of those students.

The students know her and have come to respect her, Turner said.

Whitney has been a substitute teacher in the elementary, middle school and high school.

"When I was in the lower elementary classroom, I never had a day go by so quickly," Whitney said. "They are moving all the time."

Although he was licensed for secondary students in Oregon, Whitney had substituted as a paraprofessional in elementary classes which helped acquaint him with the flow of elementary classrooms, Whitney said.

He continues to work on fulfilling some requirements for his full Minnesota license.

The substitutes said they enjoy working in the Morris Area School District.

"The kids are great, the administrators are great...," McNally said.

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