Published on March 1st, 2017 | by Dylan Ollivier


Lack of substitutes at Samo

Recently, due to an overload of district-wide meetings, the school has noticed a necessity for more subs. Often teachers are asked to sub in for other teachers during their prep periods. While the issue seems simple, according to Karen Radford, the office assistant, it is much more complicated.

“We do not have a lack of subs,” Radford said. “It’s just that when there are district-wide meetings that require 100 or 150 teachers it’s hard to find that many subs on any given day.”

While the district has over 100 hired subs, not all of them are always available. In fact, for most, it is their supplementary job and they are sometimes unable to sub in.

When teachers are out, it gets entered into a system used throughout the district. Subs can then pick up the jobs but if they don’t, classes go into unfilled. When a lot of teachers are required to be out Radford is rarely able to fill all the classrooms. In this case, she turns to other teachers to replace the ones who are out, most often successfully

“I ask them to sub during their prep periods,” Radford said. “Most of our staff do this very well. They also get paid extra which motivates them.”

While the necessity to sub out teachers on a large scale is a long lasting issue, there has clearly been an influx this year. For example, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 27 Samo English teachers were pulled out of class to participate in a district-wide meeting. Also, due to the installation of new smartboards in many classrooms, teachers are required to be subbed out for training programs. This can be very frustrating for teachers..

“I get subbed out by Samohi around once every six weeks for various reasons such as training programs, professional development programs, or workshops.” Ramon Veral, a Samo math teacher, said. “It takes so much more work to plan for a sub than to actually be there.”

Having to cover for other teachers also bothers Veral.

“When I get asked to cover for another teacher, I feel bad saying no because Ms. Radford is such a nice person,” Veral said, “but it ends up making me stressed for the entire day because my prep periods are when I make copies, take a break and maybe have a little snack. ”

Subs in the classroom also frustrate students.

“A sub creates a feeling of confusion in the classroom.” Will Wisen (’18) said. “Classes are rarely productive then and it’s frustrating as it slows us down in our preparation for AP tests.”

Overall, the necessity for subs is not due to a simple lack of subs. Rather, it is due to large district meetings that require more than 150 SMMUSD teachers to be subbed out during the day. Because teacher absences are impractical, many teachers along with Radford are frustrated by this and hope that in the future, the district can schedule meetings on late start Wednesdays to accommodate students and teachers alike.


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