SOLSC15: The Substitute Dilemma


Two Writing Teachers provide a place for community to gather every week.  Thank you to them for creating this venue.

The start of the new school year has been exhausting, hence the lack of SOLSC posts from me.  I was on such a roll last spring.

Fourth and fifth grades began with overloads in classes, thus the need for a new hire.  I was on the interview committee.  The choice of candidates was limited and as stated at the school board meeting, the Superintendent stated the teacher cupboards were bare.

Oh boy, are they.  As I write, I am subbing in a fifth grade classroom today.  It’s the second time that I have subbed in this room.  But the first this week which I am counting as I may have to sub a second time this week before someone else is called in for the “Unfilled Substitute” dilemma.

A new procedure was created to provide consistency throughout the district as to who subs and how much when a classroom position doesn’t fill.  That new procedure puts teacher-librarians at the top of the list, the “go-to” people twice in a week before music and PE are asked to sub and then the next tier of people.

I see all classes once per week.  If I miss classes, like today, then I am a week behind.  Music and PE see classes twice a week.  Oh, and I am to try and reschedule the missed classes.

I don’t have a problem with subbing. In fact, last year it worked well, we all rotated.  It wasn’t falling on one specialists shoulders.

It makes it difficult to feel valued in the area of my expertise.  I wonder what it says to students about the library not being available to them.  I wonder how this decision was created.

And the bigger issue remains that we are out of subs.  Our coffers are slim, almost empty.  People are choosing other careers for their lives.  The teaching profession isn’t respected.  The pay for subs has be marginalized.  Our subs in our state can’t make a living on what they’re paid.

Plus there’s the whole issue of safety especially in the middle and high school.  Who wants to sub knowing the possibility that the school might not be safe.

There aren’t any easy answers to the substitute dilemma.  I am thankful that today’s class are terrific self managers and know what to do as I write this post.  It’s ironic that their writing assignment is “The Best Day Ever.”  I can’t say that this is my day.

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5 Responses to SOLSC15: The Substitute Dilemma

  1. Jone, Your very justified frustration with this situation come through in this post. I hope the situation becomes rectified quickly.

  2. LSquared says:

    Shortages out here, too. It makes everybody’s schedule crazy. I was pulled into a classroom, out of my Leveled Literacy, and then popped back into my intervention post. Crazy making. And, yes, I feel your pain about the priorities. What does it say about your library post? About your workload?
    My supervisor tries to protect my time, but lately we’ve had all kinds of last minute absences and the retired teachers usually available to sub are finishing CELDT testing.
    Ugh. I hope this gets better for you. Your HR department might find out how other schools are building their staffing for sub days.

  3. Janet F. says:

    Jone, I am subbing in the pm tomorrow and again on Friday. I love to sub as a retired teacher in my “old” school, among my friends and children who know me and about me. It is part of “community” in a small town. Part of feeling appreciated and able to share gifts of learning and teaching. The whole notion of what is happening to schools nationwide is so concerning overall and specifically today (and when I read your first posting about this somewhere) about the librarians being the go-to subs…oh my. They need to raise the pay. That will bring some folks to the table, but what is the chance of that? Our pay is $95 a day. I have no idea what the rate is around the state but a neighboring larger town pays over $120. So, no it is not a living wage at all. And the fact that teaching is such a stress-filled profession given the current environment it is well-known that teacher ed programs are decreasing in enrollment. I really feel for you and your library but am happy the kids get to have your expertise and time in their classrooms. And how they can expect you to “make up” the classes….that is interesting. Time is finite. The powers that be need to come up with a better plan in my opinion!! And good luck to you!!

  4. Tara Smith says:

    Good grief. This is not a happy situation…and I can understand your sadness, Jone. You belong in the library!

  5. Ramona says:

    Oh, Jone, I’m so sorry that you’re first in line to be called into the classroom. It is definitely not right that the library is closed so you can step into the classroom. I long for a world where a teacher’s work is valued and our libraries are staffed full-time again. Sigh!

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