Several people across the nation think that things need to get better for educators and that the respect level needs to improve. Of course, they are arguing for other improvements also. Our district expects us to have a duty period every other day. That duty usually consists of either supervising the In-School Suspension (ISS) students, if there are any, or sitting in the media center to help out with any problems or if the librarian needs to run an errand or leave the library. I don’t mind those duties as we rarely have a student in ISS and if we do we can bring them to our room, so basically still able to get work done and the library is not too hard either. Basically, we are just sitting in a different place to work. It is easy to take the laptop down to the library to work on units, lesson plans, grading, etc. On occasion, we have also been asked to cover for a teacher when there are no subs available. In previous years this has not been too bad, maybe during the last class of the day for a coach when the team needs to leave early to get to the game site in time. This year, however, it seems like we are extremely short of subs and are always relying on the teachers to cover. Usually, it is not too bad, however, one time when covering for the Health teacher, I was asked to show the PowerPoints on sexually transmitted diseases and birth control. I know that many of the teachers were uncomfortable covering this topic with students. It didn’t bother me too much, because I also have certification in Health, so somewhere in the back of my mind was the knowledge to discuss the topics.
The bigger problem, however, is why are we suddenly faced with not only a sub shortage but also a teacher shortage? We have had positions go unfilled this year, retired teachers have been called back to cover the teacher shortage, either in the subject area that they already taught in or another area that they were qualified to teach.
I am curious, how does your district handle teachers having to cover for others? Is it part of your duties, do you get paid extra? What happens when you are left with an assignment that you are not qualified to teach or feel uncomfortable covering?