Where did you get that sub?



The wheels of education move slowly.

You wouldn’t think so when you hear of schools adopting new programs, textbooks, or the cutting edge anti-bullying or social-emotional programs, but the blood and guts of the machine have too many moveable parts.

The actual delivery by qualified teachers, especially substitutes, is diminishing the quality we are trying so hard to maintain.

Two years ago, my fellow colleague and I sat at WMU and suggested that, since there was a newly amended Michigan law for how many hours substitute teachers needed (down from 90-60) wouldn’t it be great if juniors were required to sub, get the experience, and also the pay? It was a win-win.

The idea grew legs and before we knew it, WMU was requiring Education juniors with 60 hours to sub. ANY junior, not just Ed students could register, but no support, save a day of training (for finger printing and tips on legal issues) was given by EDUSTAFF.

Well, unfortunately, without the continued support of seasoned and experienced teachers, what we find is many students are still ill prepared and leery of going out to the districts that are crying for substitutes.

There was a substitute teacher shortage then.

There is a substitute teacher shortage now.

Here are some of the roadblocks:

  • Retirees between July 1, 2010 and Sept. 1, 2015 may substitute teach and earn up to 1/3 of their pension. (about $11,000). Ideally, that would mean they could sub about 135 days. Why is this not happening?

  • In 2015, when EDUSTAFF took over contracts of substitute teachers in most of Michigan, they refused to hire retirees because of PA219 of 2015. This required an extra 20% for retired substitute teachers who left and retired after June 30, 2010.

  • According to Dave Campbell of KVISD, :”We just don’t pay subs enough….You can make more at CostCo.

  • Ernest Tinsdale (EDUSTAFF) (Bridge Mag. 8/27/19) states:” There’s a teacher shortage (and) my pool (of available substitutes) is individuals who aren’t necessarily interested in education or have an education background.”

  • Lynne Swayne (Detroit News 1/8/18) Long Term Substitute in Clarkston :” If they (subs) aren’t taking classes of study and haven’t done volunteer hours in the classroom, you don’t get the respect. Pay subs what they are worth.”

It is a harsh reality.

Not only do we not have enough qualified teachers, but the substitute pool is drained dry.

Michigan is not sitting idly by.

There are task forces working on the problem.

But the process is slow.

Meanwhile, students are being stacked in classes, long term substitutes are acting as certified teachers even though they aren’t, and retired teachers who could have been on a regular list, have strict (albeit loosened) requirements.

It is a quagmire.

Last week, I was in a meeting that, I really believe, may have some easy approaches and actual fixes, to some ways to make subbing more desirable.

It can’t be done without training, and that is where Palanca Leadership comes in.

We are all teachers or have been involved in Education at all levels. We know what types of things subs will be hit with.

This golden morsels of information cannot be taught with modules or handbooks.

Training and continued support is what we offer districts that want to attract quality substitutes into their schools.

Who knows, with the right preparation and positive support, these substitutes may sign on to finish a degree or get certified to teach?

Personally, I think the loosening of rules for retirees is still very restrictive. It came too late to catch the teachers that retired between 2010-2015. I truly believe that some newly retired teachers would come back and substitute teach, if the task force and legislature would consider relaxing these restrictions further.

Keep an eye on us.

This is what we do.

Early career teachers and substitute teacher support.

Thanks for listening.


14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All