Substitute Teacher shortage prompts teachers to fill in during prep periods

Article and graphic by Julia Sanabria

It’s no secret that many classes have been without both teachers and subs, causing many to wonder what happens to classes when nobody certified to substitute can teach it? Some “solutions” have been classes going to the multi-purpose room to complete any homework, even lessons given via Google Classroom or sitting in other classrooms causing teachers to substitute for other classes due to this predicament. 

A vacancy of substitute teachers may be due to the fact that the pandemic has created a lot of nerves and anxiety, causing people to want to avoid high-risk jobs and places such as teaching. This could also be partly due to the “high-risk little reward” reasoning because of how little money subs get paid especially considering the work they do.

Matt Davis, a Santa Rosa High School teacher, chooses to sub for classes during his preparation period when he can. Davis shared that a class of subbing can include taking attendance, handing out assignments, explaining the day’s lesson, helping students when needed, wandering around the classroom to check on students’ progress and going over his own students’ classwork and lesson plans. 

Although some teachers take opportunities when they can to sub and put in effort to be quality subs, it can derail some students’ learning by not having their teacher there to continue scheduled lesson plans. This can lead to not fully comprehending a section of the material they are working on which can lead to further complications down the road. 

Davis estimated that he has subbed fifteen or twenty times this year so far. Being a substitute teacher for other classes during preparation periods adds extra pay, but can also lead to having to work later hours in order to cover what can only be done in their classroom. 

Teaching is not always as celebrated as it should be. People dedicating their professional lives to help shape the minds of the future are often not given the merits they deserve. A world without teachers would leave us uneducated and unprepared to excel in life. This shortage of teachers and substitute teachers have hopefully opened our eyes to how needed they really are.

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