Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Substitute shortages cause staffing difficulties

Greyson Potts and Liam Harper working in a common space. Working outside of the classroom can be fun, but also distracting. (Photo by Sesh Sudarshan)

In the past few weeks, many students have noticed a significant uptick in the number of substitute teachers in their classrooms. Sometimes, on busy days, two classes have to be taught by the same substitute teacher. 

“Sub shortages are really common nowadays, ” said freshman Nihl Smith, who experienced one teacher teaching two classes simultaneously.

When teachers have an absence, they use a software called Frontline to report which day and time slot they are absent. Substitute teachers use this software to pick up available time slots to teach. This system, however, is not foolproof. 

“A lot of substitutes will have picked up jobs well in advance, so they no longer are available to pick up the job anymore so there are days where we have a sub shortage,” Ms. Fatema Dadgar, who organizes sub schedules, explained. However, sometimes, not all of these slots get filled by substitute teachers. 

Mr. Pete Kelly, a substitute teacher at FCCPS, says that some substitutes do not want to pick up individual, short shifts. However, he also emphasized the importance of substitute-student relationships and that many subs, like himself, do like to pick up many shifts at Meridian to build relationships with the students.

 To help with day-to-day shortages, the permanent in-school substitute, Mr. Fulton Recepcion is very helpful.

“In case somebody has to leave early … I move right in,”  he said. However, sometimes all the subs are busy, and Ms. Dadgar substitutes herself or requests teachers who have a planning block to help out. The next line of defense is to ask an administrator for assistance, like Mr. Serensits or Mr. Laub. 

“The last, last, resort is hubbing,” Ms. Dadgar said. In this case, classes with similar subjects or grade levels are combined. One substitute helps students complete individual work in the classroom and the other class will be in the common area with someone to keep an eye on them. This is rare, but does occasionally happen. 

“First time I did it [substituted two classes simultaneously]  was last week and now today,” said Mr. Recepcion. “I’ve been here since December 2022, and when I came on board it wasn’t that bad. This year … there seems to be a shortage.”

Some students feel that the recent uptick in substitute shortages is affecting their learning. 

“It puts us at a disadvantage and we are experiencing a lot of distractions,” explained freshman Welby Smith. 

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About the Contributor
Sesh Sudarshan
Sesh Sudarshan, Staff Writer
Sesh is a freshman who enjoys reading, watching TV, and playing soccer. This is his first year writing for The Lasso.