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Should substitute teachers be on the teacher’s union?

Substitute teacher Laurel Burcham works alongside Senior Josiah Cregar. Photo by Zach Fink.

Bear River often needs substitutes to come in when the teachers are not available but these substitutes have no representation in the teacher’s union, regardless of how much they help out the school. Several students, including myself, believe that this is a problem that needs to be changed so that substitute teachers have at least partial representation.

Junior Brinley Jeffers had a strong opinion toward this topic.

“Well, my point of view is that I think substitute teachers should really get the credit that they deserve,” she said. “I think it is not fair that the substitute teachers are not represented in the union, because they are helping out our teachers.”

I agree with this statement. I believe they should have the option to attend teacher union meetings if they want, and if they feel that they help out Bear River. Some substitutes are here for a lot of the year for various teachers and meet almost every student in the school, so I believe those substitutes should at least have an option to be part of the teacher’s union.

“I don’t think it’s fair that substitute teachers are not represented in the union,” said Sophomore Charissa Glaspey. “They do a lot for us, especially ones like Mr. McCrory and Mrs. Burcham. They should be recognized for their hard work and their willingness to help out when nobody else can help.”

However, one of the most commonly found substitutes at Bear River, Mrs. Laurel Burcham, had a differing opinion.

“Because we’re not full-time employees, I don’t think it pertains to us as much,” she said.

A few students believe that the rules should be changed to allow more representation for substitute teachers.

“A lot of substitutes do so much, but some only show up once, so maybe there should be a new set of rules depending on how many times you substitute at our school,” said Amber Bell, a sophomore.

Glaspey had an even stronger opinion on this topic.

“The rules need to be changed,” she said. “We need these substitute teachers more than people realize.”

Mrs. Burcham stated whether or not she would make any significant changes.

“Possibly,” she said. “I would attend meetings.”

When asked whether substitutes should have full or partial representation, students all had similar opinions on what should be done.

“[I] believe that the substitute teachers should have partial representation only because they help, but they are not the teachers doing the work or the grading,” Jeffers said.

“I think substitute teachers only need partial representation,” said Glaspey. “I mean, they aren’t really full-time teachers, but I think it would be fair to at least allow them some representation, rather than none at all.”

“I think it depends on the substitute; some just do more at the school and others don’t,” Bell said.

Personally, I believe that substitutes should have partial representation despite not being full-time teachers as they still put in the work and effort to complete what the teacher has assigned.

Many students agree: substitutes should at least have a choice to attend union meetings, depending on how much they do for the school.

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Should substitute teachers be on the teacher’s union?