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After a more than 20-year break from substitute teaching, Valerie Pierce knew she wanted to return to education and follow her passion of helping students. This spurred her decision to go back to school and pursue a degree in special education studies.

“I really just love being with students and trying to create an engaging learning environment for them to thrive,” said Pierce.

Need for Classroom Experience

While finishing up her degree, it was important to Pierce to get back to the classroom quickly – and frequently – to interact with students and learn current instructional practices after her extended time away from education.

“I wanted to get used to working in the school system again and see how classrooms run today,” said Pierce. “It’s certainly much different than it was a couple of decades ago.”

But how could Pierce quickly experience the ins and outs of today’s classrooms while still having the flexibility needed to finish her studies?

Turning to Swing Education

After being introduced to and getting started with Swing Education in 2018, Pierce almost immediately started receiving job assignments near her hometown in northeastern New Jersey. And since then, Pierce has had the opportunity to work at a handful of schools in her area – and across various grade levels – taking on both single-day assignments and long-term roles.

With Swing Education, aspiring educators such as Pierce are provided with opportunities to get back into the classroom fast. Regardless of whether individuals have recent teaching experience or not – or even if they have no experience at all – Swing Education helps quickly match qualified substitute teachers with nearby schools.

In 2019, Pierce eventually landed at East Orange Community Charter School in East Orange, New Jersey where she has been substitute teaching for second grade for more than two years now.

“It’s a great school with good pay,” said Pierce, who noted she earns almost double the income compared to what’s typically offered for single-day assignments at other schools.

Swing Recognizes Standout Subs

Pierce’s administrators and colleagues recognized her impact in the classroom by nominating her for the Swing Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame, a recognition which she received in May 2021.

“Ms. Pierce goes above and beyond with helping staff and students inside and outside of the classroom, and has become a member of the school family in the two school years she’s been with us,” said a colleague of Pierce. “She has a great personality, is amazing with students, and is very knowledgeable about the curriculum and how to successfully implement it.”

This extensive teaching experience with Swing Education has positioned Pierce as an ideal candidate for a full-time teaching role.

“I’m currently applying for a full-time teaching position at my school,” she said. “Through my time substitute teaching with Swing Education, I know this is where I want to be.”