Higher pay, more respect, better training needed to address substitute teacher shortage, educators say

Higher pay, more respect, better training and clearer expectations would to a long way toward solving the national substitute teacher shortage. At least that’s the opinion of educators who commented this week on a WEAC Facebook post about the national shortage of subs and the challenges that is presenting to schools at all grade levels.

“Sub pay needs to increase,” wrote one retired teacher, “as well as the responsibility of the school district to train and in-service subs in the newest technology additions/changes.” She went on to say:

“I am a retired kindergarten teacher and substitute in the district I worked in. I COULD sub every single day, as could my husband who is also a retired educator. I take positions that I am qualified to teach in, as I consider my job an important one, and want to do more than just entertain or review material with the students. It is not an easy job, especially with technology changing so quickly in the classrooms and with no training on the changes.”

“I totally agree about the pay and tech support,” replied another teacher. “Many of my subs come in and are nervous about using my interactive projector. It’s like a smartboard. I tell them not to worry….you don’t have to use it if you are not comfortable with it.”

Here are some of the other comments:

“Many teachers who have left full time positions (esp. many who retired early due to Act 10) would sub if the districts offered benefits/higher pay/professional development on district mandates, etc.”

“The lack of respect and support for educators needs to be rectified in Wisconsin, as well as other states. Children are already paying the price with increased class size and fewer course offerings. People pay lip service to the importance of schools and education, but they need to put their money where their mouth is. A good first step would be to learn about the candidates you vote for. Find out what these politicians are doing to make all schools strong in Wisconsin, not just private ones.”

“A rural district I used to work in hired a full time teacher to be a permanent sub in the district and paid base wage plus benefits. This is something more districts should do.”

“We have that too and they are always used for long term positions so we are always scrambling to fill day-to-day sub positions. Our subs can’t work 5 days a week because then they would qualify for higher pay and benefits.”

“Arrive at 7 to review lesson plans, leave at 4 if you’re lucky. $80 for 9 hrs work equates to not quite $9 an hour. Can pretty much make that anywhere. Name another job that requires a college degree and state certification that pays $9 an hour.”

“It needs to be noted that since the Walker takeover many WI districts cut way back on sick days and still have problems finding subs. Many districts haven’t raised the pay in ten or more years.”

It is only going to get worse. The teacher shortage is getting out of control and students that DO go into education get teaching jobs OUT OF STATE or in higher paying districts.”

“I spent a year subbing. I worked nearly every day September through April. I earned $11,000 total. Never again.”

“180 days at McDonalds at $9.50 an hour comes to $13,680!”

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