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Are substitutes hurting students’ educations?

Are we getting the best education possible?

Erin Wells, Staff Writer

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In the San Jose Unified School District, substitute teachers are a necessity. As students, we have grown up going to school with teachers being absent and having a substitute taking their place. In most cases, the actual teacher is gone for a day or two, but in other cases they’re gone for an extended amount of time. They can  have one substitute for the whole period of time that they’re gone or the school has a rotation of substitutes for the class.

Joseph Miclette, a teacher at Gunderson High School, says “I’ve been fortunate enough to have substitute teachers that left an impression on students, but I’ve also had negative encounters with substitutes where there was no communication. I didn’t know if anything had happened or who did what.”

Students at Gunderson have  strong opinions when it comes to substitute teachers. “Substitutes should have more experience [than they currently have] and be more responsible, and be able to control of a class. Plus, they should have more experience in the subject,” said Salem Valadez, a junior at Gunderson High School.

Miclette goes on to say, “I know for a fact that some substitute teachers just get the credential to get some money. They’re not invested.” He goes on to say, “I don’t like being absent because I don’t want my students to be in the environment when a sub is here…”

Miclette was out for a month and half and shared that he had the opportunity to choose his sub. “She was a student teacher getting her teaching credential,” he said. Miclette had a very hands on experience saying, “I made plans with her, but she created tests, homework, and classwork.” He would keep in touch weekly and he would try to visit the class and much as possible.

John Ruiz, a senior at Gunderson High School said, “I am very fortunate to have had good experiences with substitutes.”

Ruiz has also seen the alternative with substitutes saying, “Substitutes have no interaction with schools’ administration and their only interaction is when subs get the key and when they get paid.”

When a student reports a bad interaction with a substitute teacher to the administration they “first listen to the student then we find witnesses and follow procedure” said Mark Camilleri, the principle of Gunderson High School.

Miclette says, “I think negative experiences can lead to having a high mistrust with substitute teachers… I don’t know what the requirements are to become a substitute teacher are, but I would side with the idea that it’s not demanding enough besides taking the test.”

We all have our favorite substitute teacher, but is that because they let us do whatever we want, or is it because they push us to do our work and actually help us?

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