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Letter: Low pay fuels shortage of substitute teachers

Low pay fuels shortage of substitute teachers

Regarding The News article on substitute teachers, Frontier Superintendent Bret Apthorpe’s reasoning that the shortage is not about pay rate because “our highest-paying school districts for substitutes also have shortages” is flawed. The reason there is a substitute teacher shortage is because even the highest-paying school districts do not pay enough to make it worthwhile for a qualified substitute – a certified teacher with at least one master’s degree in education – to serve as a substitute.

I was between education jobs several years ago, and worked as a sub in a district that paid $100 per day. Not only is that not enough to live on, but the district did not even treat me with enough respect to interview me when positions came up for which I was well qualified. I had proven myself to be a dependable, willing and capable substitute with whom students worked well. I understand Board Member Larry Albert’s sentiments that he “felt disrespected” and “uninspired” to substitute when he retired from teaching.

Substitute teachers are often pigeonholed and looked upon as being many notches below teachers. The position seems to degrade rather than enhance a résumé, and the pay is less than one would get at many less challenging positions outside of the education field.

There is a reason why there are scores of postings for substitute teachers. It isn’t even a foot in the door to future employment as an educator in the district.

Nancy Berger


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