Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Current Chaos

Have I mentioned that there's a substitute teacher shortage? I mean, I may have alluded to it several times as this is the reality I'm living, but I don't think I've come out and said it. It's bad enough that it's made the media

Two weeks ago (last week's posts on this blog) I was covering a vacant English class. On Tuesday of that week, I ran into Mrs. O. (In the bathroom, but that's neither here nor there.) The next day (Wednesday), she was starting her leave (she had to have surgery, and she's now recovering from that). And she didn't have a sub to cover her classes. 

When I worked the second day of school, I ran into Mrs. O. She mentioned the surgery and asked if I was doing long-term jobs. I gave a non-committal answer. She said she'd request me. 

(No, teachers aren't required to find their own subs. But when teachers are going to be out, they can request who takes their classes. That's how I got that long-term gig in April. The sub caller gives us the option, which we can turn down, but if I've said yes to the teacher, I take the gig.) 

Of course, I didn't know I'd be in the vacant English class when Mrs. O needed to be out. And I didn't know that there'd be no one else to take the class. 

Seriously. No. One. 

Mrs. O was told that in all likelihood, her classes would be covered period-by-period daily by different teachers on campus. For the entire month that she's due to be out. 

But then, on Wednesday after school, I was informed that they had hired someone for the vacant English class, and Mrs. B was starting on Thursday. Yes, the next day. 

Because the English classes were scheduled to take a standardized test, I did two days of transition with Mrs. B (because I'd already set everything up), and then the next Monday (last Monday) I'd transition into Mrs. O's class. 

I had lesson plans. I knew what was going on. I was ready. 

Then, Monday morning...

I got a call. Sub caller. They needed me to cover a fifth grade class, and I had no choice in the matter. 


(Tomorrow's post is all about how that day went.) 

I heard later how the school had to scramble to cover Mrs. O's classes yet another day. 

It's bad. If you've ever considered becoming a substitute teacher... 

Yes. Okay. Fine. 

It wasn't that funny. 

Still laughing? 

I'll give you a minute before I continue on...

So, yes, I'm now covering Mrs. O's classes and will do so (unless pulled again) for the rest of this month. And every day, there will be classes that go uncovered. It's been like this since day one of the school year, and it doesn't appear to be changing any time soon.

So, how's your job going?


  1. There seems to be a shortage in just about everything these days. I didn't expect there to be one in the teacher substitute field, but guess I was wrong.

    Talk about having ups and downs, Liz. This Covid has made a huge jumble of lives. Hope you keep this job long term.

    1. Long enough, anyway. I much prefer day-to-day, but right now the need is for long terms, so...

  2. Sheesh! That sounds like an anxiety-inducing situation. I know we had schools close down here in Idaho because there aren't enough subs to cover. It sounds like a harsh situation all around.

  3. Yes, schools around here are struggling, too.

  4. There's a teacher shortage around here too. Maybe if they paid more, it wouldn't be such a problem.

  5. I think lot of jobs have shortage of workers. I could list quite a few reason why.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

    1. I've read a variety of reasons, too. Yikes. Hang in there!

  6. Well my "job" involves online tutoring for Chinese students and China has enacted a law that prevents (or otherwise limits) after school classes. Everyone is scrambling to keep the classes going. Parents, schools, teachers. Because no one likes this.

    So in short, the tutoring gig will probably end as families finish out the contracts already paid for. BUT I am working at getting back into voice recording. So... my work situation is in a state of flux. Like so many people's.

    1. In flux is definitely the current state of everything, it seems. Good luck with the change in work.

  7. Hi Liz - I think I'd go 'nutty' dealing with all the changes - I am so glad I'm out of it. All the best - Hilary

  8. There seems to be shortage of people in so many fields right now. It sounds good that you know what you're going to be doing for the rest of the month, hopefully. How do they decide which classes to cover and which ones don't get covered when there aren't enough substitutes?

    I'm back to working from home. We were back in the office for about a month.

    1. They fill the elementary schools first. Then it just becomes which high school teachers didn't get filled. Often I'll get a choice as to which teacher I'm covering, so it's whichever teachers didn't get picked.

      Because high school, they can borrow other teachers to fill in on their conference periods, so things get covered. It's just a patchwork. Things have been like this for enough years that at the high school level we're used to period subbing.

  9. My job is a peach compared to yours. I had no idea there was a shortage. Here, there are many teachers because they get paid well, can clump their sick leave throughout the years and their pensions are excellent. They make about $3,000 to $3,500/mth Canadian if on a pension and between $4,000 to $6,000 per month when working. Anyway, I am working from home, Mon-Fri and they treat us quite well.

    1. Ah, working from home. What I am doing today. This is quite a story, actually, and it will be on the blog next week.

      Yeah, teaching is experiencing a shortage. Maybe they'll figure out how to fix the issue one of these days.

  10. There seems to be a shortage in just about everything these days.


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