This thread is about substitute teachers and the purpose is to ask what everyones experiences have been with subs and their opinions on the issue.
I think by and far most teachers do a decent job but the system really falls apart when they need to call in a sub. By and large, a sub is just a placeholder. A person who works just for that day for that teacher. Sometimes teachers leave lessons, sometimes they dont. Often it becomes a free day for the kids because they are just allowed to watch videos or do some other free activity all day.
Most people dont know it but in many districts a regular teacher is only required to supply 5 days at the most of lessons and after that, the sub is on there own. Yes, that means a sub now has the FULL responsibility to teach 2nd grade, 9th grade biology, 7th grade math, or whatever else the class is without near the resources a regular teacher has.
I used to sub. Every sub can tell you both horror stories and great stories about how different assignments went. The day and class you’d get depended alot upon the school, the kids, and the regular teacher. Most schools require regular teachers to leave lesson plans and a “sub folder” which has things like the seating chart, schedule, and info about the kids. How up to date and complete it was varied alot. Heck sometimes the class basically ran itself.
A couple of stories: One time for me the kids were so awful and the teacher barely had control themselves the principal basically said “just keep them in the classroom for 50 minutes”. One time a woman I know was subbing for a class and the class went on a field trip. Heck she didnt even have a class roster so she didnt even know what kids were assigned to her.
Subs also affect the other classrooms. Teachers usually try to cover for each other but that means taking time out of their own day to help in a sub situation. Once when my wife was a teacher, they couldnt get subs at her elementary school (inner city) so when a teacher was off they basically farmed the kids out to the other rooms. So lets say they had 25 third graders who needed to be supervised so they would put 3, 4, 5 or so kids in other teachers rooms. So maybe a 1rst grade teacher had say four-3rd graders in her room that day. Well what the heck does she do with those kids? How will they affect her class? So now you not only have a 3rd grade class not learning, but a whole school impacted.
As a parent I’ve had mixed experiences when my kids have had subs. Usually they do almost nothing that day. Some teachers are gone more than others. They might have a sick child or family member. They might get sick themselves alot. Other times the teachers… well I hate to say it but they seem to have other priorities. My son basically had a substitute teacher half his 2nd grade. First the teacher took 2 weeks off to get married and go on her honeymoon. Then over Christmas break she got injured and was off a month I think. Then she was pregnant so she spent most of May on maternity leave.
Sub pay around here is about $125 a day, more if the assignment is long term and subs make more if they have worked for the same district longer. In some areas where subs are not required to be certified it can be as low as $75 a day. They get no benefits even if they are on a long term assignment. They get no pay on days the school is closed like snow days or holidays. Well technically if they teach over a certain number of days per year they have to get some benefits but districts are careful to cut them off before that happens.
Now one thing that does kind of work is when a particular sub is a person who works often for a school and gets to know the teachers and kids. Some teachers request certain subs. However our district, like many others, has Kelly Services manage its sub program and its had poor results. The schools have little control of who works in their buildings and the people who sub dont get to talk or work directly with the teachers. All communication goes thru Kelly.
Now subbing is not all bad. People who like kids and need some extra money or who like teaching but dont want to deal with all the paperwork like tests and grading like a regular teacher deals with, find it a good gig. Retired teachers work out great. Its funny but I’ve seen when sometimes the sub is actually a better teacher than the regular teacher.
The point of this is I’d like to see the situation for subs improved. I’d like for the educational establishment to see this"black hole" for want of a good word, that needs to be filled. What good is all the best teachers, schools, and programs if the kids cannot learn because they have a sub? Quite frankly except in the best situations the kids basically dont advance or really learn that day. The more days with subs the less learning takes place.
A great idea are building subs or subs on full time payroll who’s job is to report to the school everyday and work in whatever classroom is needed. Another is for subs to get preferential treatment in the hiring process when fulltime jobs come open. Finally I think districts need to clamp down on teachers who use subs too often (like my sons 2nd grade teacher who I mentioned above). Schools allow way too much time off, way more than a regular company would tolerate.
So what do you all think?
Did anyone else work as a substitute teacher?