Column: Current substitute system does not hinder learning

The Newtonite

[media-credit id=25 align=”alignright” width=”300″] Sophomore Kevin Mick does homework in the cafeteria during a canceled class.
by Connor Vasu
It is one of the best morning rituals of this school. You walk up to the teacher-absence list, wait your turn behind the throng of students packed in to view the list of names and smile smugly if you are lucky enough to have a “free.”
What if this morning staple, and all teacher absences, were done away with and replaced with a system of substitute teachers?
There were not always canceled classes. Until the 2008-2009 school year, this school had substitutes for absent teachers. The school eliminated them to save money due to the failure of a Proposition 2½ budget override. From that point on, students were required to report to the cafeteria when their teachers were absent.
The system right now is great for students. Upperclassmen and second-semester sophomores can go off campus or to the Library Learning Commons. Although students love the free time, this system may not be the best education-wise.
If students miss class for multiple days in a row, they can easily forget essential material. This break hits language classes especially hard because speaking and writing in the language are essential to the curriculum and very easily forgotten.
The system we have in place helps insure that teachers do not miss too many days of class for fear of falling too far behind other classes. If a teacher is chronically ill or is having a baby, after a few weeks, a temporary substitute is hired.
The current system is a good compromise for those who believe that there should be substitutes and for those who do not. Besides, there is nothing like a free in the middle of the day to cheer a student up.