Each week one of our team members shares a Weekly Remix Round Up that lifts up a topic they’ve been reflecting on or something that sparked their interest based on an article they’ve read, a conversation they’ve participated in, etc. – that lifts up a topic they’ve been reflecting on or something that sparked their interest.

Engaging Substitutes in Schools for Kids

I’ve seen the school year start and classrooms have long-term substitute teachers before. It’s not unheard of – a teacher finishing maternity leave or recovering from a surgery or illness.  

But this year I was struck by the number of friends whose kiddos were starting the year with long-term subs and they didn’t know who the teacher would be long term. These long-term subs weren’t filling in for a hired teacher who would soon be back; they were instead filling in for teachers who hadn’t yet been hired.  

As a mom I wondered. As a professional I was lucky enough to have someone to talk to about those wonderings. Amanda von Moos, co-found of Substantial Classroom, and I connect regularly to talk about youth serving workforce. We’ve found connection in discussing possibilities – the possibility of aligning hiring across roles, the possibility of thinking about what brings people to work with young people, the possibility of creating aligned positions.  

Beyond possibilities we also talk challenges. And the teacher shortage has been a common topic of our conversations for the last couple of months. But I have been very confused!  

One set of stories says there is no teacher shortage (Washington Post 8/4, Politico 8/15, CBS News 8/21), while another (Hechinger 8/8, Forbes 8/9, Economist 8/21,  – and my own experience – says there is. More recently, Amanda shared a paper that starts to reconcile these two conflicting perspectives in our lack of strong data systems.  

No matter your perspective on the teacher shortage, we know that our young people need positive developmental spaces this fall. And substitute teachers will be essential to the stability of schools and student experiences.

No matter your perspective on the teacher shortage, we know that our young people need positive developmental spaces this fall. And substitute teachers will be essential to the stability of schools and student experiences. If we want subs to keep coming back, and building purposeful relationships with students, we need to do more to prepare and support them.  

I am thrilled to share Substantial Classroom’s latest resource. The Supporting Substitute Teachers in Start-of-Year Vacancies Toolkit provides concrete tools for leaders to prepare and support the staff who have just started or are about to start their year with students. I am excited to keep pondering with Amanda how a toolkit like this might be translated for leaders considering how to more strategically engage partners too!  

 

 

We welcome your contributions to the topic. Please reach out to talkwithus@kpcatalysts.com if you’d like to join to the discussion.

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