RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s back-to-school week for a North Carolina state lawmaker.

Rep. Julie von Haufen (D-Wake) is spending her off time filling in as a substitute teacher for Wake County Public Schools.

“I had the time and the ability to do it. I just felt really obligated to serve my community in this way,” the representative said.

Von Haefen has been on the PTA and has served as a parent volunteer. This week, she’s a substitute kindergarten teacher.

“It’s already been a really worthwhile experience,” she said.

She’s learned from teachers and counselors about what life is really like on campus. It’s information she can use to make decisions at the statehouse.

“It’s really not fair, honestly, for legislators and lawmakers to be making those decisions unless they can have that firsthand experience and see,” she said.

She wishes more of her colleagues would take some time to learn from being in the classroom as well.

“You can see what kind of money our classrooms need, what kind of money our facilities need,” she said.

Wake County Schools told CBS 17 it had a pool of 2,800 substitutes but are hiring constantly. There’s a critical need for subs across the state.

“Teachers and TAs are out being sick. They have COVID or symptoms, and they have to quarantine,” von Haefen said.

The representative is now calling on anyone who can – to step up and step into the classroom.

“They make it really easy. You can do everything online and at your own pace,” she said.

On Tuesday, von Hafen tweeted a photo of herself outside Washington Elementary School in Raleigh.

Being a substitute teacher doesn’t require a teaching credential or license in Wake County. There are two classifications for substitutes: certified and non-certified. Click here for information on the application process.

Below are the requirements and pay rates for each as listed by the district:

  • Certified Substitute – $130 per day – Must upload a copy of your NC teaching license or license from another state, current or expired.
  • Non-Certified Substitute – $115 per day – Must have a minimum of a High School Diploma or GED equivalent and completion of Substitute Effective Teacher Training (SETT) or Effective Teacher Training (ETT).
    • The SETT/ETT course is typically offered at local community colleges, OR;
    • You may complete the online course “Substitute Effective Teacher Training” via the App-Garden University. This online course is $29.
    • Upon completion of the SETT/ETT, please upload your certificate of completion to your online application.
    • WCPSS will accept App-Garden certificates of completion from other N.C. school systems.
    • App-Garden Technical Support – Please contact 1-800-425-0720 or click “Need Help” on the App-Garden online course page.