Substitute teacher shortage struggle: Why schools in Broward County have a lack of substitutes Substitute teacher shortage struggle: Why schools in Broward County have a lack of substitutes
BY ALYSSA KHAN Broward County has had issues keeping teachers around, but recently, substitute teachers are starting to leave as well. In Broward, nearly... Substitute teacher shortage struggle: Why schools in Broward County have a lack of substitutes

BY ALYSSA KHAN

Broward County has had issues keeping teachers around, but recently, substitute teachers are starting to leave as well. In Broward, nearly one in five classes with an absent teacher had no one to take over the class. Low wages is one of the main reasons why Broward County is lacking in their supply of substitute teachers. For some, the solution to the ongoing problem is clear.

“The solution is simple— raise the pay,” 27-year Broward County veteran teacher Carol Sharon said. “You will then have an abundance of teachers applying for work.” 

Sharon believes that this will encourage former teachers to become substitute teachers and attract more teachers in general.

“The reason we don’t have many substitute teachers at CCHS is because it really doesn’t pay that much. The same goes for the rest of the county,” substitute teacher Oliver Darden said. 

Information Management Specialist Pamela Bates described the process of becoming a substitute teacher. 

“The solution is simple— raise the pay,” 27-year Broward County veteran teacher Carol Sharon said. “You will then have an abundance of teachers applying for work.” 

“You first have to go online at ‘browardschools.com’ and fill out paperwork, submit transcripts, an application, fingerprints and go through their training class,” Bates said. “You must have at least 60 credit hours, and take a background check with a clean record.”

Although the job and its application process don’t seem to be challenging, certain factors like disrespect from students make it difficult for substitutes, which can make people less inclined to apply. 

“Being a teacher is difficult because there’s just some folks who are difficult to teach,” Darden said. “Some people just don’t listen to substitutes and [they] feel like they can play around.”

“I think there’s not a lot of substitutes because they feel like they’re not respected,” English teacher Briana Bullard said. “Students have straight-up told me that they have more respect for the student than they do the substitute, and they’ll treat the substitute any way because they don’t care. Why would you want to be a substitute teacher when you don’t get the same treatment as teachers?”

Although Darden has become a well-respected substitute after working at CCHS for years, he still receives constant disrespect from students. 

“I think there’s not a lot of substitutes because they feel like they’re not respected,” English teacher Briana Bullard said. “Students have straight-up told me that they have more respect for the student than they do the substitute, and they’ll treat the substitute any way because they don’t care. Why would you want to be a substitute teacher when you don’t get the same treatment as teachers?”

The Student Report describes “the substitute teacher effect” as when students act differently, or simply worse, when they have a substitute teacher. Students cheer and dance when they have a substitute teacher instead of their regular teacher and take it as a chance to do nothing and avoid doing classwork.

With the number of substitutes dwindling, Broward County may have to address substitutes’ low pay and poor treatment by students in order to get more applicants.

Photo by Sydney Katz

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