Schools have traditional hired guest/substitute teachers to cover classes when the assigned teachers has to be absent. There are many reason for classroom teachers to be absent ranging from attending IEPs, Professional Development, doctor’s appointments or being sick. Teahers leave lesson plans for the guest to delever to the classes. When guest teachers aren’t available in districts, usually other teachers/staff are asked to cover the class during their scheduled preparation time. This model has been used since schools began.this model has been around since schools started. It might be time for this model to change.
Let’s start by being honest the quality of guest teachers is degraded over the last 20 years. Schools used to be able to get educators to be guest teachers while they were looking for a teaching job. These were certified teachers that we hoping to gain employment with the district. Now districts are luck to have warm adult bodies that are available to take attendance and pass out papers.
Today I saw this take on twitter
Not only unpopular but a bad take. This type of thinking is what is leading to educators leaving the profession. First, it takes time to create sub plans and bring class back up to speed after a sub has been in a classroom. Taking a day off as a teacher isn’t a vacation. So if a teacher needs a day off there is a good reason. Second, if districts want teachers to stay in the profession they need to provide the flexiblity that other professions have. Currently it is difficult for educators to get more than 3 minutes to go to the bathroom during the day due to all the responsiblities. Third, mental heath days aren’t just relaxing, these are days to make sure a persons head is right to do the job. Do we really want teachers walking to classrooms without being in the right mental state?
So what is the solution?
Schools need to adjust to the times. Instead of one guest teacher be absent teacher, what if schools had a designated area (media center/computer lab) where students could go when staff is absent to work on the classwork independently. Schools then could have a few personal in this area to monitor students while students work on class work. Sure this might not be best in elementary where students need more adult attention but this should work at middle school and high school. Another option would be to notifiy parents that their child’s teacher is out for the day and give them the option to keep their kids home to work on school work. I am sure their are other methods to solve this problem with out over taxing educators who aren’t in need of taking the day off. Schools need to start thinking outside of the box instead of gaslighting those who are remaining in the profession but just need a day off.