What does a substitute teacher look like? A stay-at-home mom who wants to spend more time with her kids? A college student wanting to grow their skills before becoming a full-time teacher? Or a retiree who is looking for something to do in their free time?  

The answer is all of the above, and more. At Morgan Hunter Education we work with substitute teachers from all walks of life. In this series we highlight the passions and hobbies of our substitutes and the unique skills or knowledge they bring to our local classrooms. First, meet America Patton.  

 America Patton always knew he wanted to become an educator. He kicked off his career by working as a high school substitute teacher for a district located close to his hometown, and after three years he decided it was time to branch out beyond his own community. His goal of expanding his impact through education led him to Morgan Hunter Education (MHED).   

“Working with Morgan Hunter Education opened my eyes to students beyond my own zip code and helped me break down my own biases,” America said. “It was the first time I really had an opportunity to see students that were different than me.”  

In his free time, America uses his heart for service, education, and history to serve in a variety of volunteer opportunities. He previously worked as an AmeriCorps service-learning educator, partnering with teachers to plan real-world learning projects for students of all ages. He says this sparked his passion for service learning and transformed the way he approaches lessons while working in the classroom as an MHED substitute teacher. He now leads his classroom in hands-on lessons where possible and asks students to think about the “why” behind every lesson they’re completing.  

 America also works with the Quindaro Underground Railroad Museum on its historical preservation efforts and educational engagement, using the knowledge he’s gained from his experience in the classroom to lead his efforts. Alongside his work at the museum, America researches and presents for the African American Legacy tours led by the Freedom Frontiers Heritage Organization.  

Since working as a substitute teacher with MHED, America has also reinvested in his own education journey.  

“Because of the growth I’ve had at Morgan Hunter—I’ve gained so much confidence and leadership skills—it’s given me the confidence to go back to school and get my masters in elementary education,” America said.  

Being a substitute teacher gives America the flexibility he needs to continue working while enrolled in school, by having the ability to choose his own schedule. It has also given America the opportunity to test out teaching in different school districts and age levels as he works to complete his degree.   

“I don’t think I would have grown as much if I would have been in the same role at [my previous district] this whole time,” America said. “MHED is built in a way that frees up substitute teachers to grow and develop, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been working with them for so long.”   

Interested in becoming a substitute teacher?  

No two substitute teachers are the same, and at Morgan Hunter Education we want to bring your unique skills to our local classrooms. If you don’t have previous teaching experience, Morgan Hunter Education will walk you through the process to become a certified substitute teacher in both Missouri and Kansas. Contact our team at Morgan Hunter Education today to get started.