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Are substitutes getting the job done?
In Roslyn High School, we use a system of substitute teachers filling in for teachers that are absent. When I interviewed a teacher, Ms. Kolins, and a student, Sammi R., about whether or not this system is necessary, I received responses different and alike for each question. Considering Sammi is a student, she’s been through sitting in class with a substitute teacher at least once in each period throughout the year. Because of this, Sammi, for the most part, doesn’t think substitute teachers are necessary and believes that free periods are best when teachers are absent. Ms. Kolins, on the other hand, believes that as long as the substitute teacher follows instructions given by the teacher, they’re helping students’ educations. Because Sammi is a student and Ms. Kolins is a teacher, it gives them very different opinions for the majority of the questions. (T=Teacher, S=Student)
Q. Do you think that substitute teachers are helpful to students’ education? Why or why not?
A-T. I think they can be helpful if they’re willing to follow the plans the teacher assigned.
A-S. No. Most of the time when we have a sub, they sit down at the desk and read a book. They don’t really teach us anything.
Q. In your opinion, do you think that substitute teachers are necessary when teachers are absent? Why or why not?
A-T. Yes, I do because I don’t think that students should have multiple free periods unsupervised.
A-S. No. The students in the class are old enough to be able to control themselves without having someone baby-sit for them.
Q. Do you think students should be trusted with a free period? Why or why not?
A-T. Yes, I do but with one free period, not multiple. You’re going into college where you’ll be exposed to a lot more freedom so we should give students the chance to learn how to use that freedom wisely.
A-S. I think that high schoolers are mature enough to just go to the study center or library when a teacher isn’t there. That way, they’ll be doing something productive instead of sitting in class doing something else.
Q. Do you think that eliminating substitute teachers would be beneficial to Roslyn High School’s budget? Explain.
A-T. No, I don’t because I think too much freedom is never a good thing.
A-S. Definitely. We already don’t have that much money in our budget. We shouldn’t have to waist what’s left on teachers that aren’t really needed.
Q. In Roslyn High School, students don’t always have a lunch period to relax and enjoy time with their friends because of their packed schedules. Should there be a mandatory lunch period for all students? Why or why not?
A-T. Yes because during the day, everyone needs a period to relax and clear their heads, then come back. Having a period to relax is also healthy for the students. Also, they’ll be able to learn how to manage their time.
A-S. I think there should be. Students probably become overwhelmed and stressed if they don’t have a break during the day. They need to have a chance to relax.
Q. Do you think that free periods can be beneficial to students if they did something productive? If so, are there actions we can take to ensure that students are being productive?
A-T. I think they can be beneficial whether they’re productive or not.
A-S. I think free periods would give students a chance to catch up on work and studying for tests. The only way to do that would to go to a study center or the library and there’s always teachers there supervising.
Q. Do you believe that the system Roslyn is using right now concerning substitute teachers is successful? Explain.
A-T. No, we need more substitutes because there’s a shortage in substitute teachers in the event of a teacher being absent. This causes class being canceled which is never a good thing.
A-S. No, I do not. I had a substitute teacher yesterday and she went to the wrong room. By the time that we actually got started, half the period was gone and the assignment she gave us didn’t make sense.
Q. Are there alternatives to simply giving students a free period [instead of substitute teachers] when teachers are absent? For example, do you agree on a student lounge that kids can go to and relax throughout the free period instead of wandering aimlessly around the hallways? Why or why not?
A-T. Yes. This would allow students to relax during the day. The lounge should have supervision but only to an extent. They should be there in case of an event but students should be allowed to talk and use their cell phones if needed.
A-S. Yeah, I think that’s a really good idea having a student lounge. I know that we always get yelled at in the hallways, even during our lunch periods so I think it would be good to have a student lounge where kids can go and relax for a little while.
In conclusion, students like Sammi are all for free periods. What student wouldn’t be? Sammi is sure that high school students are mature enough to control themselves and maintain their behavior without supervision. Ms. Kolins, like Sammi, also believes that students are mature enough to handle a free period, but unlike Sammi, she thinks they can handle one free period, not multiple. Being that Sammi is a student and Ms. Kolins is a teacher, it gives them different views on the system of substitute teachers. Overall though, they both think students need a break throughout the day and agree on a student lounge. Depending on your role in the school, whether you’re a teacher, a student, a custodian, or the principle, you’ll have a different opinion concerning this dispute.