Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Don’t blame substitute for school’s problems

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In all the vitriol in the letters from two teachers responding to Lynn Fox’s [Jan. 10] commentary, ‘‘Getting students out of the halls and into the classrooms,” a few considerations may have been neglected. Mr. Fox was a substitute. Were the lesson plans left for him ‘‘engaging and motivating?” Would the regular classroom teacher grade or evaluate that work done in his absence? And, by the way, doesn’t the individual student bear any responsibility for his choices or his education?

What kind of upbringing have these young ‘‘adults” had who applauded their fellow [classmate’s] irresponsible behavior? Does not student cooperation in a classroom teacher’s absence reflect that class’ climate — and the school’s as well?

Public school teachers are overwhelmed with responsibilities. Of course, their ‘‘teaching” jobs have been narrowed to information delivery system (for canned instructional programs) and data entry clerk. And with little or no respect from their clientele or their innumerable supervisors, no wonder they take off.

Are the schools hard up for substitutes? Yes, ask the teachers who have been asked to ‘‘cover” classes. Mr. Fox cared enough to bring an endemic problem to public discussion. Don’t kill the messenger.

Faith Leahy-Thielke, Bowie