Long Term Substitutes

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Students are accustomed to the absence policy at Townsend Harris High School. Upon returning to school, there is work to make up and absence notes to be signed by a guardian or physician. But in the case of long term teacher absences, students are often disoriented by the subsequent substitute teachers that take on the task of picking up where their teacher had left off. While English teacher Katherine Yan left for maternity leave before the school year began, junior Alexis Sarabia still noted that Ms. Yan’s long term absence posed a deterrence in light of her return to school. She said, “It is a shame how the freshmen are missing her teaching time for her teaching ways requires time to get use to. Her class is fast­paced but it always gets the work done.”

The changes pose a difficulty for students like freshman Rochelle Lin who had a total of three substitute teachers within this year. She shared that long term substitutes “affect the work that gets done in my class because every teacher jumps around on the work so we never get all the work finished.”

And others find it difficult to take a class led by substitute teacher seriously. Freshman Joshua Kim stated, “having different long term substitutes affects my concentration and work ethics. It encourages my fellow classmates to slack as our main teacher is not present. Every time a student hears the word ‘substitute,’ they suddenly feel that it is tolerated to slack and not put in all the work.”

Senior Lena Kung believes that students shouldn’t be upset by long term absences as they are “usually completely out of the teachers control.” She added, “we should be responsible in order to make up for the absence of our teacher. This requires more effort on our part, but teachers deserve this much for the effort they make to catch us up on our work when we’re absent.” Principal Barbetta reasoned, “I do not believe that substitute teachers affect the student’s education. There is a curricular that the teacher has to follow and there is a reason why that substitute teacher is teaching. He or she is qualified to be teaching at this school and I feel that the intended education of the student will be achieved.”