Substitutes get no respect — and sometimes no lesson plan, writes Carolyn Bucior in the New York Times.
“Maggie,” a teacher in a Milwaukee public school, was talking about the difficulty of her job, which is something the teachers I know do quite a lot. Then she complained that her sub hadn’t completed the lesson plan she’d been given.
“So, what you’re saying is that a teacher’s job is so hard, anyone should be able to do it for a day,” I said.
This time, it was the teacher who went quiet.
Substitute teachers must step in with no information about students’ medical issues and no guidance on handling behavior problems, Bucior writes. Often they have no training on how to teach.
In 28 states, I told her, a principal can hire as a sub anyone with a high-school diploma or a general-equivalency diploma. In many places the person can be as young as 18.
Lessons plans can range from fanatically comprehensive to nonexistent.
“10 a.m. — math-measurements. 2 — science lab: see lesson plan.”
I combed the teacher’s messy desk for the “lesson plan,” to no avail. Perhaps it awaited me in the science lab? But when we arrived, we found only piles of rocks. I instructed the students to wash and sort them. For 45 minutes.
Schools should hire an extra teacher with all-around skills to serve as the in-house substitute, suggests Dave Saba on EdBiz. If two teachers are absent, send in an administrator.