The Red and Black Editorial: There are no substitutes for respect

Sub Stats

Red Black

When teachers are gone, substitutes are there to save the day. Through the student survey, the majority of students believe substitutes are not respected enough.

Red Black, Staff Reporter

One of your teachers leaves within the first week of school without notifying your class.  

This is what happened to me in my ninth grade year. For the next 35 weeks, the students in my class had to develop a bond with not one but many different substitutes. Through those 35 weeks, I gained respect for all the substitutes that walked through the door. Constantly building relationships with them helps the Jefferson City Public Schools student body succeed.

When teachers are in class, students have the confidence in them to have expertise in the subject area. The school district trusts the teacher to educate students on the subject. With substitutes, math teacher Henry Thompson believes consistency matters. 

“Consistency helps when having subs,” Thompson said. “They get to know the kids, and the kids get to know them.”

With consistency, some substitutes have subbed for the district for many years. As a student, I am comfortable with substitutes like John Meyer and April Thornsberry because I have known both of them throughout my educational career. Meyer is always reliable and creates a great learning environment. According to him, he tries not to yell and to make sure students follow directions and are safe.

“From my experience, whether or not I am respected depends on the students,” Meyer said.

With substitutes, students have a choice either act up or treat the substitute with more respect than their regular teacher. It is a two way street. If substitutes walk into a class with a bad attitude, students are bound to disrespect them. According to senior Chris Alhalabi, he experienced a disrespectful substitute in one of his classes.

“The sub propped her feet up and was on her phone,” Alhalabi said. “I found that unprofessional and irresponsible.”

For the most part, I believe substitutes are wanting students to have a good learning environment, but sometimes students receive a bad substitute. Even with the bad substitute, students should still respect them. Some substitutes have bad days, but students should work to brighten the substitute’s day. For the most part, students will have amazing substitutes. According to senior Katie Renkemeyer, she has never had a problem with a substitute.

“A good experience [with a substitute] is they know what is going on, but doesn’t get on us a lot,” Renkemeyer said. “It helps if they are nice, and don’t treat us like second graders.”

With good experiences and consistency, substitutes gain a positive relationship and reputation. Although some substitutes sub for one day, some substitutes take on long term assignments of 20 days or more. According to Thornsberry, she does what the normal teacher would do, and enjoys her long-term substitute assignment. Even though some students are disrespectful to substitutes, she offers students a new chance each time she substitutes.

“Every day is new,” Thornsberry said. “I treat each assignment as a fresh start.” Stud
Students have a choice of how they treat the substitutes. When substitutes are willing to give students a fresh start, students should also give all substitutes a fresh start. For every substitute, I respect and thank you for your hard work.