Sunday, June 01, 2008
Grass roots conversations: many substitute teachers encounter discipline problems
I wanted to report that I’ve had some more underground and informal discussions about substitute teaching. Based on what people tell me, it is common for short term substitute teachers to experience classroom management problems and for administrators to have to handle increased discipline problems when subs work in some schools and some kinds of classes. It isn’t unusual for subs to have to leave after some time, according to the “three strike” rules that have been discussed earlier.
Administrators face a lot of pressure from parents, and a substitute basically has no due process rights the way may substitute systems are set up with unlicensed substitutes. It is easier to “fix” the problem by banning the substitute from the particular location (with a “do not send” or “do not use”) request, than to investigate carefully. Substitutes often do not get much performance feedback, although individual teachers who like the work of particular subs often call them again rather than using automated job assignment systems (like SIMS).
In the short term, however, substituting works for many people, especially more assertive people who have practical experience with children.
As I’ve noted before, this is a topic that the major news outlets should take up seriously before the next school year starts.