Is there a shortage of qualified subsitute teachers in your school district?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Is there a shortage of qualified subsitute teachers in your school district?

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It is unfortunate to note that a large majority of teachers feel that there is a shortage of qualified substitute teachers in their school district. Substitute teachers are a necessity for the educational system to function effectively. As much as we like to hold teachers up to a higher standard than other mere mortals, the fact remains that they are human like the rest of us. They get sick, they experience family emergencies, or they simply need time off for appointments, family visits, or to attend their own children's Christmas concert. The bottom line is that whatever reason the rest of us have to need a day off, teachers are no different.

Other professionals have the option of rescheduling meetings or appointments in order to work around illnesses or planned days off. Your dentist simply closes his office if he plans a family vacation. It is a little more difficult for teachers. Can you imagine if the teacher called all of the parents at home the night before and informed them that class needed to be rescheduled due to a family emergency? What an uproar that would cause. Working parents in particular would be scrambling for daycare for their children in elementary school.

As that scenario definitely wouldn't work, the only option is to call in someone else to substitute for the regular teacher. These substitute teachers have a tough job, walking into a classroom where they don't know any of the students or even the other teachers in the school. The course material may be unfamiliar and they are completely at a loss about different learning styles or needs of the various students. They are, however, our best option when the regular teacher requires time off

When there is a shortage of substitute teachers in a district this puts an added strain on the system. Leave is more difficult to cover and sometimes principals or other administrators are called upon to step in and provide coverage. In the future, school districts may need to actively recruit teachers to act as substitutes. Studying the health care system which has had active recruitment campaigns for doctors and nurses could provide some insight into what is needed. Otherwise we could just cancel school tomorrow and see how that goes.