Substitute teacher shortage takes away prep hour

Mia Simon

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Mia Simon

Retired teacher Bob Prellwitz substitutes for teacher Eric Willhite’s Small Engines class. Prellwitz substitutes regularly at the high school, teaching many different subjects.

The past couple of years, Berlin High School has been struggling with a substitute teacher shortage. Most days, teachers will have to step in as a substitute for another teacher during their prep hour.

“Most of the time my prep hour is pretty busy, and losing that puts a lot more stress on me. It takes any of the free time that I have,” math teacher Roberto Lara said.

 As hard as some administrators work at trying to get substitute teachers, sometimes it does not work out.

“ It is a challenge getting substitute teachers, especially with the world we are in now with the pandemic and COVID. It has been a barrier with more substitute teachers wanting to be in the school, ” vice principal Ben Schmidt said. 

Not only does this shortage with subs affect teachers and staff, it affects students as well.

“When the substitute teacher is there we are expected to teach ourselves, and when the regular teacher comes back we have to re-learn a lesson and then we get behind,” junior Autumn Young said.

 With teachers having to substitute for other teachers their days can become even more hectic than they already were.

“There is no break, my lunch then becomes a working lunch. I feel like it shouldn’t have to be like that. Usually I have to stay after school, which I have to do anyway but I have to stay for a longer time,” Lara said.

  As more substitutes are needed in the district, it is starting to become a little bit more normal for substitutes to teach classes. 

“I think that substitutes before were not as respected by students especially, or maybe even schools, but now we’re seeing the importance of  substitutes,” Lara said. 

Students are becoming more used to the substitutes the district is able to have, and are growing to learn more from them.

“Don’t get rid of our subs because as a district I think we have really good substitute teachers, but it really sucks seeing our regular teachers having to give up their prep period and suffer teaching something else and not getting their work done,” Young said.