We Need More Substitutes

We+Need+More+Substitutes

Staff Editorial

Remember that toilet paper shortage? As well as the shortage of Clorox, paper towels, masks, and hospital beds. Yeah, there’s a new shortage now.

A shortage of substitute teachers.

There’s always those students that’ll say, “It’s only a sub!” Are they really “only” subs though?

With teacher absences increasing due to COVID, the demand for substitutes have gone up in the past couple of months. These people are keeping us in school; they’re taking the role of teachers when they’re sick, quarantining or attending PPTs and 504s. But across the country, low pay, weak benefits, and challenges that include confronting student discipline issues have many looking for other jobs.

Substitute wages vary greatly in Connecticut, and Westport is on the low end. According to Indeed.com, Westport substitutes are paid $17.49 an hour; compare this to Bridgeport substitutes that make $18.95 an hour. With an extra $1.46 per hour, during a 7-hour school day, Bridgeport subs make $10.22 more than a Westport substitute. The low pay isn’t the only turn down for subs, low benefits and erratic hours don’t help.

The shortage has caused staffing issues for many districts, but the pandemic only compounded those problems. States are doing whatever they can to get more substitutes; several are dropping degree requirements, raising the pay by a little, and including benefits. But there is still a shortage.

What can we do?

Schools and districts should pay subs more, offer better benefits, and get more candidates in the door by lowering application requirements.

What can students do?

Be more respectful. The students that won’t stop talking and secretly keep taking out their phone really just don’t care about the subs. This is a huge turn down for subs. After all, why should they want to help out when all students give them is trouble?