America’s Neglected Educators: The relationship between structural forces, negative reputations, and effectiveness in substitute teaching.

by Ana Clare Smith


In the 2003 film, School of Rock, Jack Black plays a down and out rock star who pretends to be a substitute teacher in order to pay his rent. He uses his students to enter a battle of the bands by convincing them that it is part of a school district competition. In the end everyone is a winner. The kids gain much needed self-confidence, Jack Black gets his life together, and the relationships between the school, parents, and students are improved. While the story is compelling and the movie full of jest, it does little to address Black’s ability to pose as a substitute teacher and the viewer’s normalized acceptance that substitute teachers are bad. This movie puts a positive Hollywood spin on the sad reality of a larger discourse—Substitute teaching is a necessary component of the education system; yet for years the substitute teaching system has continued to function poorly to the detriment of students, teachers, and schools.

In general, substitute teachers are given very little respect and are compensated with very low wages in return for their work. For example, in San Francisco substitutes make on average “less than half of what would be the equivalent daily rate for a beginning teacher”(Tucker 2014), and Gershenson implies that San Francisco pays on the higher side of average substitute teacher wages (2012). In places where the substitute teaching requirements are low it is clear that many people use substitute teaching as a temporary job and do not actually care about the pedagogy or the students. This is evidenced by the comments sections posted under articles discussing the difficulty of being a substitute teacher, for example, Tucker’s article on the shortage of substitutes in San Francisco (Tucker 2014). Substitute teachers of the former group can be responsible for giving all substitutes a bad reputation. It is imperative that schools find quality substitute teachers, yet Cardon, who writes exclusively about recruiting and retaining substitute teachers, states: “In general, recruitment practices of substitute teachers throughout the United States are passive, relying most heavily on individuals applying on their own”(2001).

For the substitute teachers who are passionate about teaching there is little room for job advancement in the current substitute teaching system and many substitute teachers do not end up staying in the teaching profession at all. Many articles discuss coping mechanisms, stress management, and suggest effective teaching strategies for substitute teachers. Few authors’ address the fact that underlying structural problems in the current system of substitute teaching prevent dedicated substitute teachers from successfully contributing to their student’s educations, and also allow unqualified and unmotivated to take jobs in substitute teaching. No authors look at these structural problems in relation to one another.

The consequences of these underlying structural problems have created a bad reputation for substitute teachers. This generally held negative reputation becomes normalized in a vicious cycle: a bad substitute leads to a bad reputation which leads teachers, administrators, students, and parents to have low expectations for substitutes. These low expectations are a large contributing factor to the current substitute teaching policies that prevent substitutes from doing their job effectively. This paper contributes to the current literature on substitute teachers by examining the structural forces that make substitute teaching difficult, how they relate to one another, and how the structural forces create the negative reputations that lock substitute teachers in a cycle of ineffectiveness. In examining these interactions it will be possible to make progressive suggestions and policy recommendations to alter the structures that currently inhibit effective substitute teaching.

In examining the structural problems faced by substitute teachers the questions that I am going to be looking at are: what structural and systematic problems inhibit substitute teachers from doing their job successfully?; how is the negative reputation of substitute teachers self perpetuating?; what are possible alternative systems for dealing with classroom teacher absence? To unpack these questions I will be looking specifically at 5 categories: Certification requirements for substitute teaching; Reputations of substitute teachers as unqualified; Classroom management and effectiveness of substitute teachers; Hiring practices regarding substitute teachers; Substitute teacher compensation. Though hiring practices and compensation are the most obviously structural problems, they come last in the literature review because the preceding problems contribute to them. Certification requirements, Reputations and effectiveness must be discussed first in order to fully understand the cyclical repercussions of low compensation and passive hiring practices.


In the fall of 2014 my Facebook page was inundated with friends’ stories of San Francisco Unified School district children who had spent days in classrooms that were not appropriate for their grade level. This was due to an increase in teacher requirements and a lack of qualified substitute teachers to fill the absences (Tucker 2014). From here I began reflecting on my own personal experiences with substitute teachers. I ran an initial search on Google about substitute teaching in general and the specific case of what had happened in San Francisco. During these initial searches I became fascinated with the lack of research and literature surrounding substitute teachers, especially considering their importance in every student’s education. For decades the minimal literature on substitute teaching discussed the same surface level issues without considering that underlying structural problems might be the cause of them—let alone acknowledging that these problems might all be related to one another. Structural problems that directly affect the performance of substitute teachers is an under-discussed area of research and an important problem to study in America’s education system.

In order to find information pertaining to these questions I conducted an extensive search across Google Scholar, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) and the Wesleyan University Library database. I searched for specific terms including: “substitute teachers”, “problems in substitute teaching”, “substitute teachers and pay”, “substitute teacher certification requirements”, “substitute teachers and job entry”, “substitute teachers and student development”; as well as broader topics including: “teacher absence”, “teacher pay”, and “teacher training”. After collecting information from sources found during these initial searches I used the citations from the most cited authors to find related scholarly works. I continued this process until I had composed a list of 20 sources. At this point I carried out several very specific searches concerning alternative methods for dealing with teacher absence. I looked specifically at cases of schools that implemented in house substitute teacher programs, charter schools that rely on other classroom teachers to fill the absences of their coworkers, and the possibility of digital classroom proxies.

Literature Review

There is little literature written about substitute teaching, especially when compared to the vast amounts of literature surrounding regular teaching. This discrepancy is highly concerning given that “today’s students will have spent at least one full year with substitute teachers by the time they graduate high school”(Ednalino 2001). As a socializing force in America’s youth, not enough research has been done on substitute teaching and the structural problems that cause the current system to be ineffective. Substitute teachers are constantly up against underlying structural and systematic problems that cause the substitute teaching system to be unproductive, and make it difficult for substitute teachers to be successful. Since the 1980s, if not before, scholars have repeatedly delineated the same problems concerning substitute teaching without recognizing the structural causes behind them. Additionally, over the past 30 years little has been done to try and alleviate these issues. A discussion of the structural barriers affecting substitute teachers is necessary before further research can be done about how to undo these normalized systems that cause substitute teachers to fail and give them a bad reputation.

Certification Requirements for Substitute Teaching

One reason for a poor supply of substitute teachers is that the requirements for being a substitute varies by state. For example, “Colorado has the same requirements for licensing substitutes as for regular teachers, with minor emergency exceptions,”(NEA 2001) while Georgia only requires a high school diploma or GED, and Idaho and New Mexico do not require any certification at all (NEA 2001). Figure 1 provides more examples of state-by-state substitute certification requirements from data collected by the National Education Association (2001).

Fig. 1. Random Selection of State Requirements for Substitute Teacher Certification


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The immense variation, district by district (NEA 2001), of the certification requirements for substitute teachers contributes to their reputations as ineffective and unqualified. A shortage in the number of available certified substitutes can have an affect on fluctuating requirements (NEA 2001). Lower requirements allow people who are not passionate about education to take substitute-teaching jobs as temporary work. The disparity in the quality of substitute teachers has a direct impact on the quality of education received by students. Gershenson suggests that, “substitute quality matters: absences in primary-school reading classes covered by certified substitutes are marginally less harmful than absences covered by non-certified substitutes”(2012).

These especially unqualified substitutes taint the reputation of the passionate and dedicated ones. Furthermore, many of the most highly qualified substitutes see substitute teaching as a pathway of entry into the fulltime teaching job market (Cardon 2001; Seldner 1983; Stephens 2013). If these substitutes transition to regular teaching then only the ones who do not care about education will remain—legitimizing the negative reputation of the substitute teacher.

The substitute teachers that transition to full time teaching are the most qualified ones and therefore the most respected. This transitioning causes some districts and administrators to make it difficult for qualified substitutes to become fulltime teachers in order to maintain the pool of qualified substitutes. Mason notes that because of the lack of good substitute teachers and the pay differential between full-time teachers and subs many districts actively try to prohibit substitutes from becoming full time teachers (2012). By preventing substitutes from becoming certified teachers schools are able to continue paying these teachers minimal wages, and they are able to keep one more substitute teacher in an ever-shrinking labor pool.

If certification requirements were federally standardized substitute teachers would have an easier time being viewed as professionals and as an organizing labor force. Regular teaching certification varies minimally state by state (TEACH 2014), but federal regulations under NCLB require all states to measure and report “the extent to which all students have highly qualified teachers”(United States Department of Education 2005), and to implement plans to have only highly qualified teachers.

Highly qualified teachers are defined as having a bachelor’s degree, completing state certification or licensing programs, and being able to demonstrate competency in the subject they teach (United States Department of Education 2005). Competency is demonstrated by a major or equivalent course work in their teaching subject, a graduate degree, or completion of a test developed by the state (United States Department of Education 2005). If federal regulation for substitute teaching certification was created at a standard similar to that of regular teachers it would help alleviate problems of educational quality and substitute retention.

A higher certification standard could potentially eliminate substitute teachers who are not passionate or motivated teachers, and who use substitute teaching as a side job. This would in turn improve the overall reputation of substitute teachers as professionals by requiring that all substitute teachers attain a certain level of training and skill.

Reputations of Substitute Teachers as Unqualified

The number one concern about substitute teachers is that they are second-rate or unqualified (Abdal-Haqq 1997; Glatfelter 2006; Ostapczuk 1994; Weems 2003). “Generally, regular teachers have low expectations of substitute teachers”(Seldner 1983:63), and parents are often concerned that substitutes are negatively affecting the education of their students (Parsons et al. 1980). This concern is legitimized by significant research showing that everyday a classroom teacher is absent achievement, in terms of test scores, falls(Clotfelter et al. 2009; Miller et al. 2008; Zubrzycki 2012). Even though they clearly have an impact, days covered by substitute teachers are not taken into account when reviewing schools under No Child Left Behind (U.S. Department of Education 2002) standardized testing criteria. Figure 2 shows the correlation between teacher absences and student achievement in North Carolina Public Schools.

Fig. 2. Data on Teacher Absences and Student Achievement collected by Clotfelter et al. (2009)

chart 2

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The structural problems, such as discrepancies in certification requirements, that allow students to be educated by unqualified substitute teachers justify and contribute to the naturalization of substitute teachers as second-rate, or unqualified, in the eyes of teachers, parents, and school. The low expectations for substitute teachers and the assumption that none of them are qualified to teach leads to substitutes not being given adequate responsibilities and tasks by schools and classroom teachers. The stereotype of the substitute teacher as a movie proctor (Miller et al. 2008) emerges from the common occurrence of substitute teachers being given menial tasks by the absent teacher.

The reputation of substitute teachers as unqualified is reflected in the eyes of students. Seldner writes, “When students perceive that administrators and faculty regard substitute teaching as second-rate education the students will share that belief”(1983:63). When students lack respect for their substitute, because they perceive a lack of respect from trusted figures of authority, they will make it harder for substitute teachers to do their job. They do this by contributing to problems of classroom management. The lack of respect for substitute teachers by students, administrators, parents, and regular teachers makes substitute teaching an undesirable career choice—contributing to the shortage of qualified substitutes.

It is written over and over again that substitutes lack proper or adequate training. It is obvious that schools, districts, and states need to implement better training programs. “Training substitute teachers attracts more substitutes and keeps them active for longer because it relives substitute teachers from anxiety over lack of basic teaching competencies and meets the majority of their primary expectations of being a substitute teacher. Also training improves teacher quality, which increases confidence and success in the classroom…Training can quickly give substitute teachers the tools…to avoid or eliminate 94% of inappropriate classroom behaviors”(Cardon 2001:37). By improving the aforementioned problems substitute teacher training, along with increased certification requirements, can help to eliminate the reputations of substitute teachers as unqualified, unprepared, and second-rate.

As the reputation of substitute teacher’s changes they will be given more responsibility, which in turn will further improve their reputation. Increased reputation and responsibility make the job of substitute teaching more desirable. As teachers and administrators gain respect for substitutes so will the students, which will help to fix poor classroom dynamics—allowing substitute teachers to take on more responsibility and manage classrooms confidently.

Classroom Management & Effectiveness

“The most significant concern of substitute teachers is classroom management”(Cardon 2001:37). Teachers, parents, and administrators are also concerned with how effective substitutes are at classroom management. School type, school quality, age of class, and subject being taught influence the success of classroom management (Gershenson 2012). All of these factors are all considered by substitutes before accepting a position (Gershenson 2012) because effective classroom management directly impacts the reputation of substitute teachers.

Once a job is accepted successful classroom management is largely determined by the preparations made by the school for the substitute. This includes overall school attitudes towards substitutes and direct preparations made by the absent teachers. Lesson plans and instructions laid out for substitutes by classroom teachers are often flawed in design, making it impossible for substitute teachers to successfully contribute to the education of their students (Armstrong 1992; Rundall 1981).

The way the substitute teacher-classroom teacher relationship is structured allows for the perpetuation of the reputation of substitute teachers as unqualified. When classroom teachers leave substitutes busy work because they do not believe that the substitutes can handle the responsibility, substitutes are not given the opportunity to overcome their label of inadequacy. Armstrong suggests that, “substitute teachers and students do handle the responsibility of continuing the class when given the opportunity”(Armstrong 1992:4). If teachers expect little from their substitutes then little is what they will get.

Classroom management becomes increasingly more difficult when classroom teachers do not leave sufficient lesson plans for substitutes. Leaving substitute teachers insufficient lesson plans is just as detrimental to student achievement as having substitutes assign busy work or movies. “Student academic learning time and engaged time is crucial to student achievement (Murphy 1992:92). When substitutes give students busy work, or show films not related to subject matter, then there is no engaged time. Student achievement is suffering because the student is neither on task or content”(Armstrong 1992:4). Thus, when substitutes are given busy work or insufficient lesson plans they are adding to the statistical findings that time spent with substitute teachers negatively affects test scores (Clotfelter et al. 2009; Miller et al. 2008; Zubrzycki 2012).

If classrooms teachers adequately prepare for substitutes then they can be successful—simultaneously gaining respect and improving their reputation. Rundall suggests ‘giving your sub a break’ by providing adequate seating charts, worksheets, instructions, and thoroughly review lesson plans (1981). Making sure that substitute teachers are fully prepared with plans is imperative for successful classroom management (Fleming 2010; O’Connor 2009).

Schools can also help prepare their substitutes for classroom management with increased training (Armstrong 1992; Cardon 2001; Glatfelter 2006; True et al. 2011). The lack of certification requirements and training leaves substitutes feeling unprepared. According to True et al. substitute teachers would benefit from “the creation of a substitute teaching handbook for training and orientation (True et al. 2011:3)”, personnel who are responsible for substitute coordination, and training sessions (2011). The idea of a handbook also speaks to a general need for increased consistency across schools and states for substitute teacher expectations and structural organization. Substitute effectiveness is increased by classroom management training, thorough preparation by classroom teachers, and “administrators and teachers letting students know that substitutes have authority and deserve respect”(Byer 2008:2).

A consistent trend in problems with substitute teaching is a lack of relationship building between substitutes and schools. Fostering these relationships could come from something as simple as organized feedback—the substitute’s feedback about their experience at the school and the classroom teacher’s feedback on the effectiveness of the substitute (True et al. 2011). By doing this type of evaluation substitutes could have the tools to grow as educators and schools could learn the most effective ways to prepare and provide resources for their substitutes.

The current system allows for a day of substitute teaching to be labeled as a failure and cast aside without attempting to uncover the causes behind these ‘poor performances.’ If these evaluations were taken one-step further and complied into a substitute teacher database all schools and substitutes could benefit from reading success stories and cautionary tales. This could appease the anxiety felt by substitute teachers (Cardon 2001) by confirming that they are not alone in their struggles, and possibly create inter-substitute dialogues that could eventually result in official substitute teacher organizing and collective bargaining.

Hiring Practices Regarding Substitute Teachers

The hiring practices for substitute teachers contribute to problems of classroom management, negative reputations, and substitute shortages. Substitute teachers are hired by calling systems, word of mouth, personal offers by teachers, internet/app posting, directly contacting schools especially in case of private. “In general, recruitment practices of substitute teachers throughout the United States are passive, relying most heavily on individuals applying on their own…less than half of school districts surveyed hold personal interview or check applicants’ references”(Cardon 2001:39). This passive mode of hiring leads to substitutes who are not the right fit for the classroom, in terms of subject, age, and qualifications for the job, adding to their negative reputation. When substitute teachers as a whole have a negative reputation it is hard to overcome that stereotype without being seen as an exception to the rule.

Passive hiring practices increase the difficulty of finding available substitutes to fill positions. In San Francisco alone there were “550 instances when classrooms couldn’t find a substitute in September” (Tucker 2014). Gershenson writes that, “many schools have trouble satisfying their demand for substitute teachers”(Gershenson 2012:410), and Cardon supports this statement by saying, “there are never enough or usually not enough substitute teachers”(Cardon 2001:37). The sparse availability of substitute teachers could be a result of the methods of hiring (Gershenson 2012). Economically speaking it would seem that a small labor supply would result in increased-competition fostering wages, but the insufficient labor supply of substitute teachers has meant a decrease in certification requirements (Seldner 1983), which is shown to be responsible for giving substitute teachers an unqualified reputation.

School districts that use the call system have increased problems of classroom management because jobs are not offered on basis of preferred subject matter or age. Gershenson’s findings suggest that enhancements to the call system’s algorithm could greatly improve many of the problems faced by substitute teachers. Currently, the call system is completely randomized except for giving preference to certified substitutes and ‘offer-specific’ preferred substitutes. If the call system prioritized substitutes by distance from school it would increase the number of accepted job offers, allow substitutes more time to prepare for the classroom, and decrease the cost of commuting (2012). “More, importantly, if schools routinely call the same set of substitutes first, these substitutes will repeatedly work in the same schools. Doing so will provide these substitutes with specific human capital with regards to schools’ policies, layout, and individual students’ needs. Similarly, substitutes would accumulate social capital with the administration, faculty, and students. A lack of both types of capital is often seen as a challenge to successful substitute teaching (Coverdill & Oulevey, 2007)” (Gershenson 2012:428). Along these lines the call system could also filter for preferred age group and teaching subject to increase the probability of acceptance offers and successful classroom management.

Substitute Teacher Compensation

One of the main structural barriers to substitute teaching is compensation. Substitute teachers make significantly less money than classroom teachers (Mason 2012) and without any of the benefits. Pay rate for substituting varies by school and is dependent upon whether the job is half-day or full-day, and whether it is long-term or not. Gershenson notes that, “longer and higher paying full-day jobs are preferred to half-day jobs”(2012:410). Figure 3 shows the annual mean wage of substitute teachers by state.

Fig.3. Annual Mean Wage of Substitute Teachers, by State, May 2014 (United States Department of Labor 2014).


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Substitute teachers must also factor in commuting costs when determining whether or not a job is financially advantageous. As stated before, call system adjustment could help remove commuting costs as an inhibiting factor. Low pay rate and commuting costs cause many substitute teaching jobs to be unfilled. This causes a shortage in substitute teaching. Shortages are especially evident on Fridays when the benefits of taking a substitute-teaching job do not out way the cost of giving up a long weekend. Gershenson notes that increasing incentives for substitute teachers to work on Fridays by using a pay differential could solve this problem (2012).

Low certification requirements and the negative reputations of substitute teachers allow schools to pay substitutes very little. The certification discrepancies across states also allow school boards to pay substitute teachers low wages by driving down qualifications. “Boards adopt minimal standards for substitute teaching qualifications so that they may hire substitute teachers at the lowest possible wage in order to say that the requirements of compulsory education laws are being met”(Seldner 1983:65). If certification requirements for substitute teachers are increased pay rate will also increase. Alternatively substitute teaching pay rate could be federally standardized along with the standardization of certification requirements.

Substitute teachers assume full fiscal and legal responsibility when taking a job. As there are few substitute teachers’ unions, substitutes do not the receive benefits, support, and protection offered to regular teachers by their unions or employers (Seldner 1983). “If personal property is damaged or destroyed in the performance of duties, the substitute teacher is liable. If the substitute teachers contracts and illness in school, he loses the paydays while out, and incurs the added expense for medical treatment. If legal problems arise, the substitute teacher must keep his own counsel”(Seldner 1983:62). Standardized certification requirements would allow for union organization and collective bargaining in the substitute teaching profession, both of which would increase the professional reputation of substitute teachers.

Increasing substitute teacher compensation would make substitute teaching more desirable as a profession, helping to solve the substitute teacher shortage. Standardizing pay would improve the reputation of substitute teaching by allowing it to be viewed as a legitimate profession. The creation of substitute teacher unions would completely legitimize substitute teaching as a profession by allowing for collective bargaining, legal protection, and the welfare benefits. All three of these things would help to transform substitute teaching into a permanent profession. Doing away with the temporary nature of substitute teaching could solve problems of substitute retention, unqualified applicants, and second-rate substitute reputations.

Conclusion: Alternative Systems & Suggestions

The system of substitute teaching as it is currently organized creates structural problems that prevent substitute teachers from being successful. Problems systemically embedded in the certification requirements and training of substitute teachers, the relationship between schools, classroom teachers and substitute teachers, and the hiring practices and compensation for substitute teachers, have allowed for negative reputations of substitute teachers to become normalized. The negative reputations of substitute teachers strengthen, cyclically, the structural problems that created them in the first place. This vicious cycle has let these structural problems go unresolved at the fault of constantly arising surface level ones, and has caused the United States, as a society, to neglect a stagnant and ineffective educational system that affects all of America’s children.

If small structural adjustments, like those mentioned in the previous sections, do not serve as solutions to fixing the system of substitute teaching the United States may need to explore alternative methods of dealing with teacher absence. Three possibilities include permanent or in house substitutes, using other certified teachers within a school to fill in for their colleagues, or possibly digital classroom proxies.

In recent years some schools have been exploring the idea of permanent substitutes (Abdal-Haqq 1997; Russo 2001; Zubrzycki 2012). Permanent substitutes are payroll employees who do other work for the schools when they are not substitute teaching (Abdal-Haqq 1997; Wyld 1995). This contract provides substitutes with job security, increases pay, and offers them the in school training necessary for successful classroom management. Permanent substitutes are afforded the social capital that goes along with being a part of the school community. They are more familiar with school policy, culture, employees, and students than regular substitute teachers (Zubrzycki 2012). This provides them with the skills and reputation to gain the respect of their colleagues and students, which makes substitute teaching much easier in terms of classroom management and preparedness. The permanent substitute system challenges that idea that substitute teaching is temporary, resolving all of the problems that arise from the ephemeral nature of the current system.

Some private and charter schools have done away with the idea of substitutes all together (Abdal-Haqq 1997; Kronholz 2013; Zubrzycki 2012). In these schools, “colleagues fill in for absent teachers during their own nonteaching hours. That keeps the class on pace when, say, one 4th-grade social-studies teacher can fill in for another, especially since they’re likely to have drafted the lesson plan together”(Kronholz 2013). This system causes teachers to feel more accountable for their absences because they are imposing directly on their colleagues’ workload (Abdal-Haqq 1997; Kronholz 2013; Zubrzycki 2012). This alternative method to substitute teaching deals directly with the root problem of teacher absence. Pay incentives have also proven to impact teacher absence rates (Miller et al 2008). Schools that use the permanent substitute model do not have to worry about any of the structural problems that affect and inhibit regular substitute teachers.

Some scholars are exploring radically alternative methods to substitute teaching. Friedman et al. considers the concept of a digital substitute to cover teacher absence (2013). The digital substitute, called a ‘classroom proxy’, is modeled after a specific teacher and “acts on [the teacher’s] behalf as a personalized, virtual substitute”(Friedman et al. 2013). Virtual substitute teachers would eliminate the lack of continuity and loss of engaged time that occurs in the transition from classroom teachers to regular substitutes. Studies like this one are in the very early stages of development and pose many questions of logistics, effectiveness, and potential obstacles. However, ‘digital classroom proxies’ offer an interesting and modern alternative to regular substitute teaching and the problems that go along with it.

Further research is needed to explore the effectiveness and successful implementation of alternative methods to traditional substitute teaching, and whether or not they are educationally beneficial. Permanent substitutes and ‘classroom proxies’ offer alternatives to the current system of substitute teaching. However, more research must be done in order to determine if such drastic transitions are necessary. A lot of research needs to be done on the impact of structural adjustments to the current system. Structural adjustments discussed above include: increasing requirements and training, adjustments to call systems and other more aggressive and pointed hiring practices, increased expectations for what classroom teachers must prepare for substitutes, increased compensation, and union organization. It must be determined whether or not these types of structural adjustments have an impact on the dialectic relationship between substitute teacher effectiveness and the negative reputation of substitute teachers.

The most significant structural obstacle for substitute teachers is the lack of standardized certification requirements. The high variation of certification requirements by state contributes to and exacerbates many of the other structural problems that plague substitute teaching. It is the foundation for the reputation of substitute teachers as unqualified, second-rate, and ineffective. Out of all possible structural changes, increased certification requirements will have the widest effect on repairing the current system and changing the reputation of the substitute teacher. I suggest that, at a federal level, substitute teachers should be required to have a high school diploma or GED, a standard minimum of coursework in education at the collegiate level, and to complete a state standardized training program that includes training in classroom management, conflict resolution, and subject competency. Further research is required to determine the most rational federal standards for substitute teacher certification requirements, and to examine the possible success of these federally implemented regulations.


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