Substantial Blog

Changing the Conversation About Substitute Teaching

The Benefits of College Student Substitute Teachers

This spring my district, West Contra Costa Unified, partnered with Substantial to recruit college seniors to serve as substitute teachers in our schools. Here are three reasons why hiring college students as substitute teachers makes sense for my district, and why I think you should try it in yours…

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Bringing a Little Kindness and Innovation to Teacher Absence

Yesterday’s Washington Post included an eye catching headline: one in four teachers miss 10 or more days of school, earning the label “chronically absent.” Although the article was careful to present a balanced view, the comments section quickly devolved into the predictable argument about valuing vs vilifying teachers.

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Substitute Teaching: A Missing Piece in the Teacher Shortage Debate

While discussions about the growing teacher shortage have traditionally emphasized the failings of our teacher pipeline, the Learning Policy Institute’s (LPI) recent reports warn that our best chance at averting our current path toward a significant teacher shortage is to focus on teacher retention through improved “mentoring, induction, working conditions, and career development.” Defining the problem in this way has significant implications for how we might go about avoiding the crisis, and one significant, generally neglected, piece of the puzzle is substitute teachers.

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A National Dilemma: Substitute Teachers In America’s Classrooms

Today, schools require a blend of preparation and talent from their teachers to promote achievement and personal development from their students. Classrooms reflect a diverse group of children impacted by unstable families, finances, and societal factors. Many students are not prepared for higher education, held to different social expectations than others. This reality appears inescapable for educators, regardless of their training, experience, or expertise.

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