In high school, students learn advanced educational material to prepare them for the world of college and work. However, when students are left with a substitute teacher for months, they are deprived of this information they need and disconnected from their teacher.
Though the goal for substitutes is to take place of the full-time teacher and continue with their lessons, this is usually not the case. When a teacher assigns a substitute to watch over their class, they often leave behind work for the students to do. A substitute will often hand out this work then step back and leave the students alone, so actual learning in the classroom is often minimal. Unlike days with substitutes, common day-to-day learning consists of lectures and new lessons. Students are at a disadvantage without access to these resources.
Long-term substitutes also divide the students from the teacher, undermining the student-teacher relationship. Teachers are supposed to be accessible to the students and easy to communicate with in case of questions about lessons and work, but their absence makes them hard to reach. Moreover, this distance can promote confusion. When a substitute assigns work without instructions from the actual teacher, students do not know what their teacher expects from them in terms of quality and content, possibly even resulting in grade deductions when the teacher returns.
Others may contend that having a long-term substitute will reduce stress levels since students are allowed to worry less about the given class. However, this actually does to more damage to the learning process. The lack of care for the class will make it hard for the students to adjust to the teacher’s demands when they return. Not to mention, when the teacher does come back, they will most likely speed up their teaching pace to compensate for the time missed, making it more difficult for students to follow along.
In order to prevent gaps in the learning process, substitutes should take the responsibility of the teacher and keep the students updated by doing their best to teach the curriculum in order to help students continue learning in times of a teacher’s long-term absence.