Has a substitute you know had pay or scheduling problems?
A substitute teacher in a local school district is out of a $160 bonus that was dearly needed to get through the coming winter break:
“As a sub you do not get holiday pay. Winter break means going three weeks without work. This is hard because I was really counting on that money to get me through the month. The district doesn't think about us at all. No, we are just expendable to them.”
A local organization, Social Justice Education Movement (SJEM) of the IWW, is fighting in solidarity with her to make up for these lost wages and to push back against the callously rigid bonus system. We have formed a new committee of local substitutes and are drawing attention to these and other difficulties we face. We want to hear your story too.
Minneapolis Public Schools offers a bonus to substitute teachers who work three consecutive days at certain “high priority” schools. This bonus is crucial for some subs, who try hard to pick up these particular gigs. Substitutes often become “regulars” at these schools and the students get to know them, creating a safer and more stable learning environment.
When scheduling of jobs with several consecutive days goes smoothly, this bonus is paid automatically. However, in this case, due to a scheduling error not caught in time by the sub or the secretary, the sub was no longer eligible to work the third day. The current system puts the burden on subs, including new subs, to manage district-offered incentive pay. If a long term substitute teacher were to teach Monday, Tuesday, not Wednesday, and then work Thursday and Friday, a substitute would not be eligible for the bonus. A substitute is also not eligible for a bonus even if they work three days consecutively at different high priority schools. It is clear this policy was not written with the needs of substitute teachers in mind. This is one of many examples of a lack of respect and consideration showed substitute teachers by school districts.
Despite this unexpected shortfall in wages, the sub is continuing to work the challenging assignment because she cares for her students and wants to provide continuity as we approach winter break. Folks are helping out by contributing to an online fundraiser. To learn more about contributing, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
We are a committee of substitute teachers who are beginning to organize around this issue and other issues facing our fellow subs all over the Twin Cities area. If you have experienced the problems with incentive pay at your substitute teaching job, we want to hear your story. If you or a substitute you know would like to talk more with other subs about any working condition, we also welcome your stories! Contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to get involved or tell us what changes you want to see!