Don't Hire Substitute Teachers in High School
When teachers are absent, most high schools hire substitutes to cover their classes. Asked to explain why, the administrative response is typically reflexive: "We've always hired substitutes." And, when pushed further for their expectations of substitutes, who frequently have no formal training or in-depth understanding of the subjects they may teach, the response again is often rote: "Absent teachers are required to provide their substitutes with lesson plans."
Well, the time for rote responses is past. The practice of providing a substitute teacher for a short-term absence of a day or two from high school classes, not a long-term absence in which a qualified and certified substitute would be required, is a questionable practice and should be eliminated.
With the exception of planned absences such as professional-development and personal days, teachers do not know when they will miss school. For this reason, "substitute plans" generally have little instructional value and are usually designed to keep students engaged and well behaved for the length of a class. Most often, they include reading assignments or film viewings that may—or may not—be timely in terms of the scope and...
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