I have been over the last decade Substitute Teaching in Seattle and Nashville. I was a full time Teacher over a decade earlier and that experience was to say the least not positive. But after my divorce and the collapse of our business together (which would have happened regardless as 2008 many real estate ventures did we just beat it thankfully and came out ahead) and my need to move out of the expensive area of the City by the Bay I came back to Seattle and resuscitated my teaching license. I elected to sub in the same manner I do now as a way of learning the schools and system and well in three years we in Seattle had as many Superintendent and the churn and burn I observed made me look at my professional options and I went back to school to get a Construction Management Degree. I dropped out as my gender and age were an issue and I did not want to waste any more money or time pursuing something useless. So I stayed as a Sub. Then I moved to Nashville, spending again the money and time to attain a State license and came with the best of intentions, knowing little to nothing about the schools or the place or what I was walking into. I did that because I had a priority that centered on my dental work and I wanted to stay focused on that and that too became a challenge in ways I never anticipated but as I come down the road with that I am tentatively optimistic. I cannot say the same for Teaching or the Nashville Public Schools.
The Guardian is devoting a large portion of their next few issues on the matters of public schools and the good thing is that I am not alone in the stories of bleakness, frustration and terror. The lack of mental health providers, the learning disabilities, the language barriers, the lack of coherent management and finally sufficient funding are just SOME of the MANY problems our public schools are facing. This had led to many states staging walk outs (as they are red states they cannot legally "strike") to draw attentions to the problems they have regarding their work and profession. The lack of wages, adequate benefits go without saying as when you have a highly educated workforce, as more Teachers possess Masters and Ph.D's than before with endless licensing requirements that mean continuing education and training which all costs money there is a schism in what the private sector would pay one with similar experience and education. Then we have some odd misconception that the same individuals have summer off. Well no. Teachers are now working second jobs year round (and yes they almost always did in years gone by have summer gigs go figure) and are enrolled in Food Stamps to again supplement their income and meet family obligations.
The Guardian series is here. I urge you to read the stories from the field, they are akin to those we read with regards to our Armed Services on the front lines. The editors and writers have neglected to include Substitute Teachers as they are the "interim" emergency Teachers taking jobs in schools that they may not be qualified let alone trained to do so. The issue of Teacher shortages is addressed and it is serious that Teachers for now are being recruited overseas in the same vein H1BI visas are; however, I suspect that will be short lived given the current climate. They are refusing health care ones another industry that is in serious shortage with regards to Primary Care Doctors and Nurses. C'est la vie!
I cannot add any more to the story other than the reality is few Teachers entering the field and those that do 40% leave within the first four years. I cannot tell you that I welcome the day I never have to set foot into a classroom again. At least not in Nashville as it is a dumpster fire.