Everyone knows the feeling of excitement when you walk into your classroom and see you have a substitute. A free class period to catch up on homework, study for future tests, or to just play on your phone. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?
Teacher absences can be the result of various situations: personal leave, family event, sick day, maternity leave, etc. Although this seems amazing at times, having a substitute teacher also has its pitfalls. There is a debate over whether those students who have long term subs, or even a sub just for the day, have a disadvantage.
Students with substitute teachers may feel like their quality of education is being impeded by the absence of their teacher. Due to miscommunication with the teacher, the sub plans get messed up, causing the students to not have the right work to do, or not having the right resources. Also, often times the sub isn’t specialized for the class they are subbing in, so students are unable to ask questions and get the help they need. “If we have a sub the day before a test, we don’t get the opportunity to review and ask questions,” sophomore Parmida Khajoee said.
When teachers know they are going to miss a day, they often leave plans for the substitute. This way, the students are being productive and getting work done, even in the absence of their teacher. “I always leave extremely detailed plans for my subs, which include the assignments, what to do if there is a drill, where to leave the attendance, and any other information,” Spanish teacher Matthew Salzman said.
Teachers who leave plans for the sub are extremely helpful, as students are still able to get the necessary work done. However, when the teacher’s absence lasts for more than a couple of days, students might be at a disadvantage. Even though they will have work to do, without their teachers present students aren’t getting the educational stimulation they need. “When we have a sub it seems like we are just given busy work and not really learning,” junior Kayla Hill said.
If teachers have extended absences, such as maternity leave, the students will be given a long-term sub. These substitutes typically are more experienced with the subject they are teaching and are capable of leading the class as the original teacher would have. With the help of other teachers in the department, they are able to teach the students the most effective way they can.
The ability of a substitute teacher to successfully fill the place of a teacher varies from sub to sub, and from class to class. Often students act up or think they can slack off because of the presence of a sub. Substitutes work better when the students are willing to help. “By telling the sub where things are or what the assignment is, the class is able to run smoothly even in the absence of our teacher,” junior Mason Kravitz said.