Saturday, May 28, 2016

She Says: It's Time To Disrupt Substitute Teaching - Forbes

She Says: It's Time To Disrupt Substitute Teaching - Forbes:

She Says: It's Time To Disrupt Substitute Teaching

Substitute teaching. Admit it, when you see those words, your mind goes to spitballs, pranks and all sorts of disruption.
Well, social entrepreneur Jill Vialet has a very different type of disruption in mind for substitutes: She wants to disrupt the whole ideaof substitute teaching. She calls it “a big problem hiding in plain sight.” And she wants your help.
“If you described the way we do substitute teaching to an alien, they wouldn’t believe it,” says Vialet, whom Forbes named in 2011 as one of the top 30 leading social entrepreneurs.
A Field With an Image Problem
I heard Vialet speak a few months ago at the annual conference in San Francisco, where she conceded that she’s up against a field with a serious image problem.
“Most people have negative memories about substitutes and bad jokes flooding their brain about them,” she said at the time, pitching attendees what has since evolved into Substantial, her new nonprofit initiative “redesigning how we recruit, train and support substitute teachers in order to maximize their time for teaching and learning.”
And, she insists, “we can’t afford to let substitute teaching continue as a bad joke.”
Here’s the enormity of the problem: Ten percent of teachers are substitutes at any given time, schools spend $4 billion a year on subs (1% of the K-12 budget) and school systems across the country face severe shortages of substitute teachers. Roughly 15% of sub openings aren’t being filled.
Who Can Be a Sub
One reason: The job of a substitute as it is today often isn’t highly valued. The pay is typically about $100 a day and to become a substitute, generally speaking, “you just need to have a B.A., pass a standardized test and not have TB or any felonies,” Vialet says. “Then, they send you right into a classroom.”
So what? “If we send people into classrooms unprepared and unsupported or can’t find people to do the jobs, we’re sending a message to kids that we don’t value them,” says Vialet.
But, she wondered, what if subs were brought in to convey their particular expertise and interest to the kids, rather than just assign busywork and wait for the bell to (thankfully) ring? In other words: turn substitute teaching into an She Says: It's Time To Disrupt Substitute Teaching - Forbes:



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