To Sub, Or not to Sub?

When should teachers have a no sub day?

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Many students love to find that their teacher is gone and there is a no sub day. Students get the opportunity to work individually where they want and at their own pace. Substitutes can provide teachers with a way to ensure class will run smoothly but having a substitute isn’t always the answer. While there are pros to having a sub, there are also many reasons why teachers should hold off on getting one. How should teachers go about making this decision?

“I don’t [have a no sub day] automatically, it’s usually if there’s a topic I think the students can handle on their own,” Said math instructor Linda Rau. “If I know that in the morning I can’t go to work, then I can’t ever get a good sub or someone who knows math. So, I almost always go no sub day when that happens … [Students] have told me that they like it … Usually, the work gets done just as well as it would’ve in the classroom.”

There are some important advantages to having a substitute, such as providing students with a source to ask questions to and making sure everyone is accounted for.  However, many teachers would agree that finding someone who is qualified to teach the class on short notice is challenging. Substitutes can also be expensive for the district.

“Advantages [to having a sub] are that you know who’s there, like you’ve got attendance handled,” Rau said. “If there’s some sort of communication that has to happen with a student, and I don’t think they’re going to check their email, then I can get that handled. But, with a no sub, it doesn’t cost the district as much money. I figure if I can save them some dollars, maybe we can get some more equipment or whatever else we need.”

Often times, even when teachers can find a sub, the work doesn’t get done. Many students would agree that if a sub doesn’t make them do work in class, they might as well have a no sub day.

“I don’t think [teachers] should get [subs],” Said sophomore Justis Johnson. “Most of the time when you have a sub, for the majority of a class, unless it’s a super easy class, the sub doesn’t really know how to teach it. They kind of just try to let the students teach it to themselves. The subs usually don’t make you do the work, anyway. You end up sitting there, you talk to your friends or other people, so you don’t get any work done either way.”

If students can get the work done on their own and understand all the information, teachers should opt to have a no sub day. Teachers should give their students the chance to work the way they want and work independently. Having a substitute can be necessary sometimes, however teachers should remember that sometimes things run just as well without a sub.

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