Substitute teacher: Nashua's system is broken
Coffman, who appeared at the request of board member Sandra Ziehm, said substitutes in the district deal with an almost institutionalized disrespect from students, teachers and administration, and are underpaid compared to surrounding districts.
"Currently, and clearly this is my opinion, subs are perceived by administration and teachers as a necessary evil, we are viewed as nonprofessionals of which very little is expected. As a result, teachers leave busy work for students like a movie, or a word search, and students usually ignore assignments and don't take the sub-led class seriously," Coffman said.
As such, in his four years as a substitute teacher in the district, Coffman said he has come to the conclusion that time students spend with substitutes is time wasted.
"I think this is constitutes lost teaching hours," Coffman told the board.
To combat this problem, Coffman recommended what he called a paradigm shift as to how the district runs its substitute program.
As it stands, substitutes can work across the district's schools in one day, teaching French in a middle school in the morning and math in the afternoon at a high school, something Coffman said can run substitutes ragged. Instead, he suggested assigning substitutes to specific schools and grades, so that they can establish lasting relationships with the building's teachers and students.
Coffman also suggested giving substitutes added professional and curriculum training, reimbursement for money for gas spent traveling between schools, and increasing pay for substitutes to make the district more competitive with surrounding towns.
By doing these things, Coffman said the district would signal to teachers and students that subs are not necessary evils, but assets.
"Integrating subs into a teacher team would ensure teaching continues when teachers are absent while helping to eliminate behavior problems associated with subs," Coffman said.
He said student attitudes toward substitutes haven't changed since he was a student, with "lying, horse play, bullying and a lack of respect experienced by subs from students."
Coffman also gave his observations on the district to the board, saying that every middle school class in the district says the Pledge of Allegiance incorrectly, eighth-graders are being taught about the Constitution from books that are inaccurate, and fourth-graders have no idea who wrote the Declaration of Independence.
To help pay for his recommendations, Coffman said it is his belief that individual teachers who are absent or the teacher's union should pay for the employment of substitutes.
"There is no reasonable reason why the school district should have to pay twice, once for a sick day and secondly for substitute coverage for contracted service," he said.
While the board remained silent on Coffman's remarks, he received a round of applause from the board when he finished.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Husband of Salem babysitter sentenced to additional time in second sex abuse case - 0
- Keene police working to identify rioters, notify other colleges of students’ participation - 0
- Man arrested as police investigate shots fired in Manchester - 0
- Alibaba Market robbed; scratch tickets taken from Crosstown Variety on Manchester's West Side - 0
- Hearing postponed for fire official facing harrassment charges in Londonderry - 0
- Bedford woman injured when tree falls on her - 0
- Nashua man accused of choking woman - 0
- High School Football Power Poll: Some shufflling below the top four - 0
- Nigeria declared Ebola-free by WHO after containing virus - 3
Keene State College students clean up after mayhem, say weekend riots were not their fault
Keene Pumpkin Festival has uncertain future
Monitoring social media
On Obamacare: Shaheen doesn't get it
Shaheen, in Hooksett, rallies with union
On Obamacare: Shaheen doesn't get it
What rising tide? Kuster vs. Kennedy
After riots, soul-searching begins