October 31, 2006
I have been a substitute teacher in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District since 1997. I hold two post graduate degrees, one in ESL and California credentials, K-12. I am very disturbed by school board member Bev Ducey’s statement (“Help wanted: Substitute shortage in district” Sierra Sun Oct. 26) that it is “relatively easy to become a sub” for two reasons: It is misleading to applicants and it unfortunately typifies the cavalier attitude that many people have towards substitute teachers.
In order to do our job well, we subs have to be able to handle all ages and subjects. If lesson plans or materials are inadequate, as they sometimes are, we need to be able to fill in the gaps. We need to be able to cope in classes where very little English is spoken, and we need to be prepared for students with physical and/or emotional issues, about which we are often not told in advance. Unfortunately, in some schools, we are faced with verbal abuse and total lack of respect from students and indifference from teachers because we are “only subs.” I’ve been asked by children as young as seven if I am a “real” teacher.
In my experience, the schools that treat substitutes with courtesy and respect have no trouble getting them. Hiring more people may alleviate geographical problems: Few Tahoe subs care to drive to Truckee on icy roads during the winter, and vice versa. But these new people will soon do what the rest of us have done: Limit themselves to the schools that treat subs like colleagues rather than baby-sitters.
I’d like to invite Ms. Ducey to step into a classroom armed with only a Houghton Mifflin teachers’ edition and let us know how “easy” it was for her. I think she owes the TTUSD subs, many of whom are excellent teachers who care deeply about education in our community, an apology.
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I found it interesting and somewhat surprising that you would run a letter to the editor from a citizen of the Marianas ” seems a bit far from Truckee.
Despite Mr Tenorio’s statements, human rights abuses and unfair labor practices in the Marianas have been well documented, witness the numerous attempts by Representative George Miller to pass fair labor laws for the Marianas, which have been blocked by Representative Doolittle, former representative DeLay and others.