This year Holliston High School substitute teachers no longer meet students in the classroom; instead, students report to the cafeteria when a teacher is absent unless it is during lunch period.
Teachers simply assign work via google classroom or another educational site and students either bring it in the next day or turn it in online. Not everyone in the school embraces this new policy.
“It can get pretty crowded in there. I have seen as many as 60-70 students in there. When there is that many people no work gets done. It is just too loud,” said junior Scott Langmeyer.
Administration acknowledges the switch is still a work in progress.
“There are always challenges when changes are made to the way the school operates… It is hard to generalize productivity as every situation is a little different,” said Ms. Schofield, the principal secretary, in an email interview when asked to comment on how administration thinks the cafeteria affects productivity.
Although students may not be a fan of the new substitute system, history teacher Mr. White is possibly even less of a fan.
“There’s no question nothing is getting done…There is definitely a depreciation in quality and amount of work,” said Mr. White.
Mr. White recognizes that students simply don’t focus as well in the cafeteria opposed to classrooms, but he also recognizes the reasons behind the switch.
“We can’t find any subs, nobody wants to sub…it’s combat pay,” Mr. White added.
Subbing for high school students is difficult, so the school struggles to find volunteers according to Mr. White who has more than 25 years experience teaching high schoolers.
Mr. White is correct about the lack of subs available according to Ms. Schofield who works in the main office.
“Most days there wasn’t enough subs to place in each of the classrooms and requests needed to be made of teachers to give up their prep period,” said Mr. White.
HHS was not the first school to experiment with this new idea according to both Mr. White and Ms. Schofield.
“We got this idea from three other school systems in the area,” said Mr. White.
Ms. Schofield did not directly comment on other schools doing this but she did provide an article about Lexington Public Schools, the first school to think of this new idea.
The lack of substitute teachers is not an issue only Holliston faces but many other schools as well. Mr. White believes he has the answer as to why this problem has emerged in recent years.
“Unfortunately the economy is too good right now; there’s nobody who needs jobs,” he stated. Since no one needs the money, the school can’t find anyone to hire, and this is what caused the sub crisis.
When asked if he could switch back to the old system of substitutes student Scott Langmeyer said, “yes right away I hate being in the caf, everyone does.”
Mr. White when asked the same question responded, “I would, but it’s not my decision.”
Ms. Schofield said in an email that, “it is too soon in the program to make any decisions but we are always evaluating the structures that are in place to make the best decisions possible for students.”
featured image: Clipart Library