A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Stoodints suffer wen Techars leaf mid-yeer: Students in academic hole due to mid-year teacher departures

It suk when techar leaf mid year it feel bad for studant. U geh a substoote, substoote work, u miss u techar. It suk mang. U noe wud im saying holmes? Alotta keids at deh skool are unhappie wit dis current sitchuashin.

If this situation persists, we’ll have students typing like that. When a teacher retires the students still need to survive the school year. This can be very difficult if they are left with no one knowledgeable enough to actually teach the content in charge.  

In some cases, retirement just happens because the time has come for that teacher, but when that happens, it can cause a laundry list of issues for the students who took their course.

At Parkale this year alone, two teachers in core classes–whether it is one that is a graduation requirement or one that results in an AP exam–have retired after the school year began, leaving students with substitutes.  Substitute teachers can range from daily to long-term.

Having a substitute in class does not do much for students. To no fault of their own, often times, they are not apt at giving lectures, reviewing work, or giving extra credit when it’s need. Although many substitutes are retired teachers, having a non-permanent teacher for a long period of time can be hard for students who are struggling for grades.

In some classes with a missing classroom teacher, grades may not even be coming in.

Senior Fernando Reyes, who takes AP Psychology has been confused about how grading will work for the last two quarters since the teacher has retired.

“No one knows how we get our grades,” Reyes explained. “My grade has remained the same because there’s been [little] work.”

Students with a D or lower are not going to be able to receive a higher grade that they can earn had there been a teacher in the classroom.

It is left to the student to manage what grade they have.

“It’s up to us to us to know what’s on the agenda,” said Reyes. “It’s up to us to know everything. The substitute is making sure we stay alive […but] Everyone is scared.”

Another downside of this is that a new teacher must be found to teach the subject once the prior teacher is gone. It is unlikely that a new teacher would be found in time before the quarter or even the school year is over.  On one hand, a teacher is needed, but on the other, it may not be the best to just put one in there for the sake of it.

There is no simple solution to this issue. A good teacher is hard to find. FInding one is something that needs to be taken seriously.