Teacher crisis impairing high school academics

Mariaely Bustamante, Cactus Chronicle

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“Terrible, annoying, crazy,” THMS junior Danijela Gallardo said when asked about her experience with a long-term substitute here at THMS.

As TUSD continues to struggle with the search for teachers, students are being impacted academically and parents are concerned.

“Everyone knows that the class doesn’t act normally when a long-term sub comes in through the classroom door,” junior Rowen Hayes said.

Many students said the class was always out of order and there was no sense of authority.

“You could tell he didn’t care of what was going on and if he told the class to be quieter, the class would only get louder,” Gallardo said.

Many students felt they never learned anything in class, as substitute teachers are rarely experts on the subject of the class.

“I remember I was in science class and we had a long term sub, and he had us watch boring videos that didn’t have anything to do with science—like it was a complete waste of time,” Junior Anahi Briones said.

TUSD is currently trying to fill 140 vacant jobs.

Researchers at Duke University found that if a substitute teacher were to teach ten days a year, it would have a larger effect on a child’s performance in math than if they had changed schools.

Filling empty teacher positions is a tough job since few substitutes are willing to do the job.

Substitute teaching can not only affect the student’s performance in the subject, but can ultimately affect the performance of the school.

Substitute teaching is seen a lot more in public schools, unlike private schools, as colleagues tend to fill in for absent teachers during their non-teaching hours—which keeps the class on pace.

Reagan Miller, the vice president of research partnerships at Teach for America, has estimated the cost of substitute teachers to be about $4 billion annually.

There are many contributing factors that could possibly cause the shortage of teachers, but what seems to trouble teachers most is salary.

Arizona ranked last in teacher salary, but the salary for teachers has been raised in order to bring in new staff.

Teachers begin with a starting salary of $36,200 which increases $500 every year a teacher continues to work for TUSD.

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Teacher crisis impairing high school academics