City Employees Begin Teaching In Classrooms Amid Staff Shortages

Tuesday, January 25th 2022, 9:27 pm

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

City employees in Broken Arrow are looking to trade their day jobs for pencils and erasers as they step in to help schools struggling to stay open.

Some people who work in the tourism department said they know how hard this year has been on teachers and everyone in schools.

By stepping inside a classroom, they're ready to take on a new challenge.

Steve Yoder keeps busy in his Broken Arrow office, writing emails-answering phone calls, but soon he's trading this desk for a teacher's desk.

Yoder works to keep Broken Arrow businesses happy and bring new ones to town.

"I was kind of excited, thinking, what a great way to help," Yoder said.

To alleviate staffing problems, Broken Arrow's city council voted last week to allow city employees to sign up to volunteer in schools.

Yoder was ready to volunteer.

"It's really just helping out a neighbor when you have a neighbor in need," he said.

Yoder has talked to classes in the past. He hopes this will be a natural fit.

The city said about 50 employees have already offered to help, which is five percent of the workforce!

"Everyone internally looked in and said, is this something I could handle?" said Erin Hofener.

Hofener does marketing for the city and is also ready to help teach.

She teaches dance and asked her students about it.

"I asked, which one of you guys went to BA schools? And they all [raised their hands], and I said, I can do that," Hofener said. "Because they're great kids."

Hofener hopes that by employees bringing their different skills to the classroom, it may inspire students to learn about different careers and help teachers get through a rough patch.

"Tell the kids, this is what I do every day," she said, "Maybe this could be a possibility for you when you grow up."

The schools are not just asking for substitutes. They're looking to help with everything from maintenance, to custodial help, to the cafeteria.

So far employees from many city departments are offering to help.