Substitute teacher shortage plagues FCPS


Andrew How, Staff Writer

The pandemic left Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) with fewer substitute teachers than before the pandemic. According to WUSA9 after speaking to a FCPS representative, the representative has said the country has a fill rate of 55% to 60% compared to the fill rate of 80% pre-pandemic.  FCPS has been trying to hire more substitute teachers with job fairs and pay raises.

A substitute teacher’s pay depends on how long the teacher will be out. If the teacher is out for less than 11 days, the pay is $17.79 an hour, and if they are gone for 11 or more days, the pay is $23.91 an hour. The people that could apply to be a substitute teacher in FCPS include stay at home parents, retired teachers, college students and part time workers. Former FCPS teachers could apply to be a substitute teacher if they have the extra time.

FCPS holds an information session online to give more information to people considering being a substitute teacher or instructional assistant. To apply for the sessions, those who are interested, go to, then click on the date want to attend the session, then click to register and fill out the forum. 

The issue has affected teachers differently and the 3,000 substitutes have affected some teachers more.

“I had some health issues this year, and it was nerve-wracking to put in a substitute,” history teacher Micheal Flak said. “Even pre-arranging an absence could be really difficult as the number of qualified substitutes are low.” 

Some school administrators have to fill some spots for some teachers since they couldn’t find substitutes. 

“For the Academy, we would walk in every morning and we would be unsure about what classrooms are going to need coverage,” Academy administrator Scott Settar said. “We are emailing the other school sub schools around the high school to try to find help and cover the classrooms that need coverage.” 

For the Chantilly Academy, they have the ability to contact people in the working world to see if someone from a specific industry wants to come in and be a substitute teacher or be a guest speaker.

Recruiting substitute teachers has been hard because of different reasons other than Covid-19, such as not a lot of people choosing to be substitutes or health conditions that could limit a substitute’s availability. 

“I personally like to go to the classroom every once in a while because it gives me an opportunity to talk to students,” Settar said. “As a former teacher and now administrator, I don’t get to [teach] much. [Subbing] is an opportunity to build some positive relationships with students.”