What Can Stamford Do About the Substitute Shortage Crisis?


Ana Clara Mesquita

Stamford High Teacher Doug Taylor covering Donna Kaiser’s chemistry class Monday, November 4.

Emily Wilburn, Staff Writer

At Stamford High School, dozens of teachers are being pulled from their free periods to substitute for other classes. These same teachers are not all certified in the subjects that they are being asked to cover, which will harm students’ education. One twelfth grade English class remained without a teacher for almost 3 weeks until a replacement was hired. How do we increase this fill rate?

Neighboring communities are offering higher pay rates, which could be contributing to the lack of interest here in Stamford. Substitutes in Stamford are paid just $95 a day, which is only minimum wage. A recent article by the Stamford Advocate mentions that about 80 Stamford teachers are taking on an additional class this year. Substitute teachers, along with other school educators, put themselves at risk every day by surrounding themselves with children who may carry COVID-19, may be unvaccinated, and may not even correctly wear their masks. This sacrifice surely warrants more than a mere $13 an hour.

When a substitute is able to be found, most classrooms still go on without any actual instruction. Some aren’t even handing out assignments or reading teachers directions. Bare minimum wage will produce bare minimum effort, and this has become more evident in recent years. The district has been struggling to plug these holes since last year, and an increased wage just might be the fix. It is worth it to reanalyze the budget and make proper cuts to allow for better wages for our substitutes.

Thankfully, the board of education is considering making an impactful change; hiring for new positions before the budget is finalized, with the hope of preventing shortages. This is a consideration that needs to be put into effect, or else, the education of many will be in danger.