The Guest Teacher and Education Major programs, coordinated by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU), provide excellent professional opportunities to talented people who do not have full teaching certification.

The guest teacher program provides substitute teacher training to people who have a bachelor’s degree, but do not have a Pennsylvania teaching certificate. The education major program provides substitute training to education majors who have completed at least 60 credit hours in college.

People can earn an “emergency permit” issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, or in the case of the education majors, a locally issued permit, enabling them to serve as a substitute teacher in local public schools for up to 20 days per school year.

People with backgrounds and training in theater, photography, speech pathology, audiology, criminal justice and coaching were among two dozen participants in a training program last week in Danville.

“It will be good experience, and I love working with children,” said participant Melissa Fox who has a degree in theater and does volunteer work.

Phoebe Strzempek of Danville, a native of Turkey, formerly worked as a full-time teacher. “I have a passion for teaching,” she said.

The training participants went to classrooms to observe interactions between students and their regular teachers, looking specifically for effective educational techniques and communications. They reconvened later in the day to talk more about what they observed.

Nearly every public school district in the Central Susquehanna Valley participates in the guest teacher program coordinated by the intermediate unit.

It not only benefits the adults. It provides an opportunity for students to meet — not just a substitute teacher — but people who bring with them a whole other universe of professional and life experiences.

For more information on the guest teacher and education major substitute teacher programs, see the intermediate unit’s website at: