MULLIGAN: District subs need greater evaluation

Web_Mulligan_mugshotBY JOHNNY MULLIGAN
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Usually when your teacher says there will be a substitute teacher the next day, you get excited because you can expect the next day to be fairly easy – chances are you’ll spend the period watching the movie with the substitute barely looking up from the computer screen.

However, there are always those names that you hate to see written up on the board. A few subs that frequently come to Roseville High School that are, frankly, terrible.

Recently, I had a sub who came into class and instead of being like most subs, he had his own list of personal rules. This meant no phones, no talking at all, and no water. I understand the phones because some teachers do have phone restrictions, but no water is outrageous. The sub said that because our teacher had not left specific instructions allowing us to drink water. That is a basic necessity for life, and what harm could possibly come to a classroom from water?

There are so many subs out there, you can’t expect them all to be good, but the problem is that the district just lets them sub even if they are bad. There are few regulations on substitute teachers after they are let into the district.

Mainly it is the teacher’s job to report how the sub acted by filling out a form and sending it to the district. Very few teachers ever do this and usually only when the sub is great or terrible. I know that this sub did not get a review even though all of the students would agree he deserved a terrible review.

Teachers can block subs from returning to the class to ensure that sub will never get a sub request from that teacher until the next school year when they are unblocked. The district should look at those subs who are constantly getting blocked by teachers and reevaluate if they are a good sub or not.

Regular certified teachers are subjected to regular evaluation that require other adults like school administration. These even include surprise visits from the evaluators. Why aren’t the same procedures conducted on substitutes? They’re around students as often as normal teachers, but aren’t regulated nearly as much or at all.

As it stands, sometimes when it comes to subs you have to pick your poison. Some are so old they barely know how to use the overhead projector. Some are terrifying control freaks who try to enforce rules that even the regular teacher doesn’t bother with, and some are actually too laid back and prevent any work from getting accomplished as the classroom environment turns to pandemonium.

This brings up my problem with teachers: If you know that many subs are not going to be as relaxed about certain rules as you, why don’t you tell them? Leaving more detailed notes can keep the classroom environment consistent because the sub will not be too stingy or too lenient. Normally telling them to allow students to drink water would be unnecessary but after what happened to me and my class, it is probably for the best if you leave very, very detailed notes.

Teachers, please fill out those sub evaluation forms. We know you get them and maybe if they were filled out more often the district would have a clearer picture of which subs are competent and which are not.

At one point in my life I have had a substitute who compared my class to his dog, claiming his dog was smarter than us. I’d bet this sub is still at large, even with how poorly he treated my class. The vast majority of subs are not terrible, but the few that are should be stopped.