The initial content of the SubGuide was initiated in 1999 and focused on Best Practices in Managing Substitute Teaching. Over time, some issues related to "best practices" have become more critical, some have disappeared, while others continue to act as thorns beneath the skin, proving difficult to resolve. Districts that have been successful in establishing valuable practices have devoted the necessary time, money, and personnel in a plan of action and have not allowed themselves to be stonewalled.
Although substitute teacher quality was not addressed in the No Child Left Behind legislation, its importance in the educating of children cannot be ignored. Particularly when over one full year of every child's K-12 education is taught by substitute teachers. Valuable classroom time cannot be wasted with instruction that is inadequate or where the instructor is merely "babysitting." All instructional personnel must demonstrate that they possess the skills and knowledge necessary to warrant their employment. When improvement is deemed necessary, opportunities to improve skills through training must be made available. The goals, objectives, content, and expectations for student achievement and learning cannot be compromised because a substitute is teaching a class. We should never accept the mentality that a substitute teacher is just "holding down the fort."
By carefully studying and implementing the information contained in the SubGuide, districts can maximize the quantity, quality, and effectiveness of the substitute teachers serving in their districts. Information on how some school districts have developed programs of substitute teacher management that address specific concerns can be found in the following articles:
Ayling, R. (2003) Substitutes = Q x Q: Maintaining the quality while managing the quantity. SubJournal, 4(2), 8-11.
Lamarque, E. (2005) St. Tammany Parish – On the move from good to great. SubJournal, 6(1), 9-16.
Mikesell, C. (2003) Growing the showcase garden. SubJournal, 4(2), 42-46.
Olson, P. R., & Jensen, J. N. (2003) Using permanent site-based substitute teachers to improve student achievement and school environment: A case analysis. SubJournal, 4(2), 66-71.