Substitute teachers vary in pay, experience

Arriving to class to find your regular teacher absent can generate a range of emotions from anxiety to elation depending on who has been left in charge. While it might seem simple like a simple task hiring a substitute teacher requires weighing several factors.  One consideration is cost.

“There is a pot of money for textbooks, substitute teachers and other things. I budget every year,” Principal Rick Fleming said. “If I use a veteran teacher, they cost more money than inexperienced teachers.”

Fleming said each school receives a specific budget for subs each fall, and while that money must last the entire year, the drain those funds varies from year to year.  If, for example, a handful of teachers have extended absences, the budget can become severely tight in April and May.

But money isn’t the only factor.

“I try to get experienced teachers like Ms. [Patti] Gates,” Fleming said. “[With a less-experienced teacher], I think there’s a disconnect of info and understanding [and] students are not as apt to understand. Every classroom has its own culture.

Fleming added that an experienced substitute knows how to go with the flow of the room and tries to help the students. A less-experienced substitutes might try to control the classes intuitively and, as a result, not provide as effective instruction.

Substitutes with more experience also tend to be more relaxed in classroom and more popular with the students.

“Some subs are less strict then others,” sophomore Lauren Gorewitz said via email. “They’ll let you talk and listen to iPods.”

By Addie Steele