Sunday, October 09, 2005

no substitute for you...

(The title reminds me of the South Park episode when there was a sub, and Chef tried to woo her by singing a song called "No Substitute for You." Funny stuff.)

We had a rough week at work. Our 7th grade teacher needed major surgery, and had to miss a week of work (possibly more, I haven't heard anything about next week yet). We don't have any subs for our school, because we don't have the money to pay for them. In past years, we've used our librarian as a sub, but she resigned over the summer. We also sometimes use the teacher's aide that Pre-K and K share. But we couldn't ask her to sub 7th grade for a whole week. So here was the solution our principal came up with: The K teacher taught 7th grade from 8-10, the Pre-K teacher taught 7th from 10-12. While they were teaching upstairs, the teacher's aide taught their class for those 2 hours. Then the principal taught 7th grade for the afternoon. One afternoon, she had a meeting, so we split the 7th grade up and put a few kids in each classroom for the afternoon.

Fun, huh?

The weather in Philly has been unseasonably warm and humid this past week, and everyone is coming down with a late-summer head cold. At lunch one day, the teachers got into a conversation about sick days. One woman wasn't feeling well, and her husband said, "Just call out." She tried to explain to him that it's not that easy to call out when you're a teacher. It's almost more work to call out than it is to go in and fake your way through the day. You have to have emergency lesson plans ready to go, complete with schedules and class lists and dismissal lines and important notes about kids. Then the next day, you have to go in and find out what happened while you were gone, reteach anything that wasn't taught right, and teach anything that wasn't taught at all. And in our school, you have to sit home and spend your sick day knowing that K and Pre-K are out of an aide for the day... or in past years, knowing that teachers won't get their break, because the librarian is subbing your class.

We have a faculty meeting tomorrow. If the 7th grade teacher isn't back by Tuesday, then our principal is going to come up with a new plan for subs. I have a feeling it's going to involve asking me & the 2nd grade teacher to replace the K and Pre-K teacher as morning subs.

Does anyone know a more polite way of saying, "No way in hell"?


Mrs. Ris said...

At our morning staff meeting this week, the principal lamented the sorry state of substitutes at our school. Our county is one of the largest and most "prestigious" in the country, and still we can't get even crummy substitutes. Principal told us point blank..."Don't call in sick. Unless you are in a state of emergency, come in."

It's one thing to decide as a responsible person that coming in "no matter what" is the right thing to do.... it's another when the principal puts it out there.

I share your dismay at this sad state of affairs.

Dree said...

Last year, I didn't miss a single day of work. (It was the first time I've had perfect attendance for anything in my life!) I had minor colds throughout the year, but I decided they weren't serious enough to warrant a day off. If we had subs, I might have taken a day to rest when I was sick.

In the meantime, I've had students who stay home if they have a hangnail. There's just something wrong with this picture.

MandyGirl said...

My sub didn't show up Friday and I felt awful, but things turned out to be okay. The Art teacher took my classes for the day.

Hope your 7th grade teacher is able to return soon! :)

Elizabeth said...

I totally understand what you mean about it being more work to take a day off than to come to school. Good subs in my district are very hard to come by. Sounds like that is the case in other places as well. I was sick with a cold all last week but I went to school anyway and ended up losing my voice for 3 days. It was just too much trouble to call in. And I wasn't going to leave early on the day I felt the worst, because other teachers would have had to cover for me. I didn't feel right doing that. Just another example of how teaching is so different from any other job...and so many people don't understand that at all. Good luck next week!

GuusjeM said...

Good Subs are hard to find in my district too. We seem have many un-employed people who figure it's an easy way to earn some money. One last week brought his hand held video game and another fell asleep in the library. I woke him up when it was time for him to take his class out. I also wrote him up while I was at it - he left the classroom in a shambles.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comment about my friend.