Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As a professional educator, all I can say is "Wow"

Schools in Volusia County Florida are hoping to recruit volunteer substitute teachers.

The article presents this idea as an effort to save money. Facing a massive budget shortfall Volusia County plans on allowing anyone who passes the required background checks to become a volunteer substitute teacher.

No worries though, they will get a one day training session on classroom management and procedures before they are fed to the wolves.

I saw no mention in the article about a shortage of subs, just lack of money. So presumably there are enough certified, professional teachers to fill the slots, but no money to pay them.

Right now I only have two major problems with this, but I'm sure I will come up with more as this idea stews in my head.

First: This is taking jobs away from certified teachers who are currently subbing. Typically (though certainly not always) these are recently graduates looking for permanent positions. Subbing allows them to get their foot in the door, experience working in various districts, and most importantly gain valuable experience before they are charged with running their own classroom. It also helps administrators who are able to evaluate potential teachers based on dealing with them as subs instead of just a job interview.

A one day training session on classroom management and procedures? Wow. Good luck with that.

There is no mention of restricting these volunteers to day-to-day work versus long-term assignments. I would hope they wouldn't be used for any type of long term assignment, but with the current situation in Florida (state-wide budget meltdowns) I certainly won't make any assumptions.

I should note, the teacher's union is supporting the plan. No surprise there, right now when there are not enough subs, the regular teachers pick up the slack, typically by giving up their prep periods or doubling up classes. This will definitely alleviate some of the stress currently put on the union teachers.

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