November 18 marks National Substitute Educator Day, a perfect time to show gratitude for the team of guest teachers in District 49. One of the district’s most loyal is Amy Schrader, a regular fill-in at Stetson Elementary.
Schrader started serving Stetson as a volunteer three years ago when her son, Bradley, was in preschool. She later transitioned to the role of guest teacher when COVID halted volunteer opportunities. “COVID really put into perspective how important schools are,” she said. “My son says his teacher is like a second mom … that’s the type of role we play.”
Some weeks Schrader fills in as a teacher every day, and other weeks, it’s a few days. But if she isn’t serving as a teacher in the classroom, she usually finds somewhere else in the school to contribute. “I love Stetson … everyone here is so welcoming,” she shared. “I’ve subbed in the front office, as a lunch monitor and also as a para[educator].”
Add one more title to Schrader’s resume— she also serves as the school’s PTA president. “Being on the PTA gives me insight on what’s going on at school, and allows me to connect better with students and get to know their names,” she added. “I can see and meet teachers, and I can invite them to events.”
Schrader’s advice for anyone who is considering serving as a guest teacher includes taking that first, small step. “Try being a para and helping out in the classroom first. Learn the different cues each school has, and when you go in as a guest teacher, you’ll have more confidence.”