Truth be told, I tried to find someone else to fill in and do the blogging for me today — a substitute, if you will. It’s Friday, one of the more common days for teachers to get a classroom substitute, at least according to a Harvard study cited in a new Education Week piece by June Kronholz titled “No Substitute for a Teacher.”
That’s just one of numerous interesting findings brought up in the article. More likely to take days off are teachers in traditional district schools, in larger schools, or in elementary schools; teachers of low-income students; teachers without a master’s degree; teachers with tenure; or female teachers under age 35. For each of those, I’m sure there are a variety of factors and trends to provide some broad explanations.
Kronholz lays out the problems associated with lost learning caused for students when they are under the supervision of a substitute. While many of my peers may find it fun to act up and pick on the substitute, they may not realize that over the course of their K-12 career they could spend six full months in class without a regular instructor!
To be fair, classroom teachers do have less flexibility than positions in some other fields, because so many students depend on them. What if their own child gets sick? What if they have an extremely important daytime appointment they can’t miss? Etc. Drafting a policy that is fair and flexible — one that honors students and taxpayers by deterring those who would abuse the privilege of taking extra days off while not unduly punishing those with legitimate needs — cannot be an easy task. Can it? Continue Reading »