Letter: Teacher corrects statement in article

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 6, 2022

A Post article on Thursday stated that RSS teachers may fill in for teacher vacancies during their planning time or may take on additional students resulting from teaching positions that are unfilled. The article claims “these options are voluntary for teachers, and they are paid extra for the work.” This information is false.

RSS teachers are forced to cover vacant classes, and they are not paid for it.

I can make that claim with confidence having worked for the past 12 years in RSS in two different high schools for four different principals. When classrooms are left without a teacher, either because of a position left unfilled or because RSS could not obtain a substitute for that class, other classroom teachers are required to act as a substitute in those rooms.

I will reiterate, it is not voluntary, and teachers are not paid for this.

When teachers are asked to substitute in other classrooms, they are losing invaluable time that they should be using to plan, grade, communicate and collaborate. Though COVID has magnified this problem, it is one that has persisted for as long as I have been part of RSS.

If a teacher were available to hire or a substitute were available to sub, the district would be paying that individual for their work. If no one is available, current teachers are forced to do the same work for free. If the district cannot acquire enough subs, and RSS never has been able to in the 12 years that I have taught here, then each school building should compile a list of their teachers that are willing to cover classes and then compensate them at a pay rate equivalent to the substitute wage.

Once again, covering class is not voluntary, and RSS teachers are not paid for it.

— Bob Johnsen