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Facts about substitute teaching ...
Today, there is a significant shortage of qualified substitute teachers in the United States. The National Education Association (NEA) reports that “In a recent national survey, 96 percent of school districts reported having difficulties finding substitute teachers. Of those, 40 percent said it was a severe problem, with classes frequently going uncovered and instruction being affected.”

The NEA discusses the reasons for the shortage: “Low pay, poor training, lack of benefits, and inadequate professional support reduces the number of available substitute teachers.”

In a comprehensive 2001 study conducted by the Pittsburg Post-Gazette and the University of Utah, the scope of the problem was defined:

“Each day, about 5 million children walk into 274,000 classrooms nationwide and find a substitute. Students today will spend at least one full year with a substitute by the time they graduate from high school -- a figure that's higher in poor schools and destined to increase.”

The situation today has worsened. It is estimated that more than 300,000 classrooms and over 5.5 million students are taught by substitute teachers each day in the United States.

School districts are overwhelmed by the sub shortage and have little time to train subs adequately or even provide them with minimal informational resources to help them in their job. The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports that:

In 77 percent of school districts across the country, substitutes are given no training. Of those that do, most take less than a day, and some are so brief they include only an explanation of the bell schedule and directions to the bathroom.

An explanation of “the bell schedule and directions to the bathroom” will not assist a substitute teacher with classroom management, teaching skills, or the myriad of other responsibilities during a school day.

NEA President Reg Weaver notes: ““There was a time when substitute teachers were considered hired babysitters, but those days are gone. With today's focus on standardized test scores, schools are taking a closer look at who's teaching children when the permanent teacher is out.”

Substitute Teaching from A to Z has been written to provide a ready resource for each substitute teacher. The intent of the book is to improve the quality of substitute teaching skills.