Cartoon by Valerie Chu

Substitute teachers undervalued, students should demonstrate appreciation

Before the pandemic hit in March 2020, PAUSD was already dealing with a shortage of substitute teachers. And when students returned in-person this fall, this problem only got worse. 

The low daily wage of $180 and the health risk of teaching in-person during a pandemic weren’t worth it for many substitutes, causing them to stop working for PAUSD. 

The Campanile appreciates the dedication required to be a substitute teacher and praises all subs, past and present, for their time assisting students. 

Not only do subs endure the low wage and health risk that come with the job, but they also have to manage students who haven’t been in-person in over a year. 

Students are more disruptive and more confused by course material because of the effects of a year and a half of virtual learning. 

On top of that, because of the substitute shortage, the high demand for substitute teachers adds another layer of stress and pressure. 

In order for every class to have supervision, the remaining substitute teachers may have to work longer hours or come to school more often to help out. 

As students, we can make the lives of subs easier by treating them like we would our regular teachers — with respect. 

Listen to them and give substitute teachers your attention for the brief moment at the beginning of class where they give instructions. That’s the least we can do to support them. We also encourage students to go beyond that by thanking their subs for their hard work. 

We understand the difficult predicament PAUSD administrators are in and want to thank them and any teachers who have stepped in to substitute at the last minute. 

Nonetheless, The Campanile hopes PAUSD does more to prioritize increasing substitute teachers’ salaries so they can be paid a more reasonable amount. The substitute teacher shortage stems from the fact that their work is undervalued; $180 a day is not nearly enough. This is the first step the district needs to take in order to end the substitute shortage.

Students and administrators should work together to help support substitute teachers during this shortage and appreciate them for their dedication and commitment to the district.