Substitute Teachers are No Substitute for the Real Deal


Shannon Stoudemire

Sahara Ashford is a columnist for The Southfield Jay.

Some students at Southfield High are not getting the learning experiences they deserve. Classes such as Physics, Sociology and ACT Prep are being taught by a string of substitutes instead of one permanent certified teacher for each course. And that’s a problem.

While most classes do have certified teachers in place, there are a few vacancies that impact several hundred students.

As junior Brianna McGee put it: “I chose this class (Sociology) because I was actually interested in learning.” Instead, she finds herself doing worksheets from a substitute.

School is supposed to be a place where we can learn about new things, not just do worksheets handed out by substitutes. It is the district’s responsibility to give kids a learning experience that will last in their minds forever. Completing worksheets and surfing on the computers isn’t much help for serious learners.

It is not the substitute’s fault; the sub is just doing a job.

The problem is that students are not being prepared for college. Yes, there are Advanced Placement classes with certified teachers, but not everybody is in them.

Junior Adriana Echols says, “In the long term, it is not OK to have substitutes teaching us. It was fine for the first couple of days, but now it’s been too long.”

So where are the teachers? Assistant Principal Vernon Burden says, “In order to get teachers, we need to go through this whole big process. The district chooses teachers, we the school interview them, then H.R. (Human Resources) approves those people. We have already interviewed and chosen the teachers; we’re just waiting for Human Resources.”

The students are waiting, too. And waiting.

The first card-marking ends October 9. For all those students in a substitute’s class, that’s almost a whole card-marking lost.

Hopefully, certified teachers will be in those classes soon. Then school will be preparing students for college, but more importantly, for life.