Area school districts are having a helluva time attracting substitute teachers:
Some districts said teachers are missing too many school days, whether for sickness, vacation or teacher training. Some said pools of qualified candidates are dwindling for all teaching positions — not just substitutes. Others said substitutes aren’t paid enough, and that higher-paying districts attract more candidates. A substitute in Seattle makes between $161 and $187 a day, with no benefits unless the sub works more than 60 consecutive days in one place.
Considering how disrespected they are by politicians and pundits, it’s hard to understand why anybody would want to be a school teacher these days. But a substitute? Yikes. Even if one were to get an assignment for all 180 school days (and you won’t come close), $161 a day comes to only $28,980 a year with zero benefits. For somebody with a college degree!
So here’s an idea: If we want to attract more (and better!) teachers to the profession, maybe we should try both paying them more, and showing them a little goddamn respect? I mean, isn’t that the way labor markets are supposed to work?
Ah, the life of a substitute teacher…..
Way back in the 7th grade in ~1963, I remember going to my hygiene class, the last class of the day. We had a substitute that day. The poor lady had perspiration stains on her dress all the way down to her waist. My class didn’t give her a hard time, but some class certainly did. However much she was getting paid, it wasn’t enough.
Roger Rabbit spews:
See? They told you so! If you raise fast food worker pay to $15 an hour, you’ll have to pay substitute teachers more! Or they’ll quit to work at McDonalds!
Roger Rabbit spews:
Actually, this problem isn’t limited to substitute teachers. GOP politicians and their conservative supporters pretty much demonize ALL workers (except killer cops), many of whom haven’t received a raise since 1970 (after adjusting for inflation), and guess what — the labor participation rate is dropping like a stone, with the biggest falloff in the prime working ages (25 to 54). The right seems intent on destroying America’s work ethic. It’s working; worker morale hasn’t been this bad since the 1890s sweatshop days.
Interestingly, this same idea was espoused by no less than right wing icon, William F. Buckley, Jr. In the early ’60’s he wrote that the way to attract the best teachers to inner city schools was to pay them more.
Major ____ de Coverley spews:
re 4 — Maybe he could have come up with several good ideas if he hadn’t spent the majority of his time standing on the railroad track of progress and shouting: “No Further!!!”
Teachers unions are the problem.
When I retired several years ago, the receptionist in my office was making more per year than those substitute teachers, and she had barely managed to get out of high school with her brains intact. That sort of salary is shameful, especially since they have to be on call at the last minute every school day of the year, which sort of limits other regular jobs, now doesn’t it . . .
Roger Rabbit spews:
@6 Of course they are. People will flock to the low pay, bad working conditions, and arbitrary dismissals that teachers would enjoy without their unions.
I was just thinking that would be a not horrible way for a freelancer, writer, or artist to make a little extra money. But certainly no one who needs/wants a regular paycheck would want to substitute, and that definitely contributes to substitutes rarely being any better than a babysitter.
Mark Adams spews:
The countries outperforming the United States of America economically and in other ways request Goldy to be quiet. It’s not a big secret that all pay and treat teachers a lot better. In some teaching is considered a more prestigious profession than attorneys, doctors, politician, ect. It’s just that it works and they like the status quo and they get a good chuckle as well.
@ Mark Adams and @ Sigh
No doubt that pay should be better BUT the system is not set up for that.
The unions protect low wage jobs by treating teaching as a production job, insisting that there can be no way to offer increased pay for the more hard working or more talented teacher.
The ed schools make this worse .. we train too many people to “teach” rather than training people who know stuff and want to teach. Admission standards at all but a few ed schools are not far above the standards at McDonald’s University.
You might look at this ..http://handbill.us/?p=17550.
I’m so tired of hearing people say the teacher’s unions are bad! I work hard at my job, getting to school before 7 am, and staying most nights til 5 pm. My paid hrs are 7:30-3. The union helps to make sure that class size limits are observed, to make sure that teachers are not targeted by admin or parents without representation, and to help make sure that the district is providing professional development classes that will help us be more effective in the classroom. The union is NOT the problem! People who are trying to undermine the education system in order to privatize education – code for corporations to take over! – are the problem! Stop the witch hunt! Place the blame where it belongs!
A huge thank you from a public school teacher! Your column brought a huge smile to my face.
Teachers haven’t received a cost of living increase since 2008. This has resulted in a 15% reduction in our spending power according to State Rep. Ross Hunter. I make less than a friend of mine (and my benefit package pales in comparison) who drives a bus for Metro and I have two college degrees.
Combine that with a huge increase in our work loads and it is easy to see why teachers are stressed. Weekends and holiday periods are increasingly devoted to work just to keep up with new requirements such as Common Core and new evaluation claptrap.
I am taking more sick days now over five or six years ago. This is not because of a poor work ethic, It is because of stress. My colleagues and I are experiencing more illnesses due to overcrowded classrooms.