Substitute Explains Decision to Teach

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Substitutes have been brought in from all over the state and went through orientation this weekend to prepare for students to return Tuesday.

NewsWatch 12 was able to sit down with one of the substitutes hired by the Medford School District during the strike, but due to security and safety concerns, she does not want to be identified.

“I’m looking forward to the positive energy the kids are going to experience tomorrow when they walk in the classroom,” she said.

Supporters of the Medford Education Association have picketed outside hotels and orientation sites. The substitute said there are intimidation tactics going on, but believes only a few are behind them.

“I feel like there’s a loud group of the M.E.A. that speak the loudest and the most negative. There’s a silent majority that is doing things respectfully and responsibly,” she said.

She has been teaching for years, both full time and as a sub, and still holds all required qualifications. After the strike deadline was set, she was contacted by the school district and spent quite some time weighing the pros and cons of crossing the picket line.

“You know that relationships are at stake, you know that your reputation might be at stake, you know that you may be personally and professionally attacked,” the substitute said.

She said the deciding factor was getting down to the reason she got into teaching.

“Ultimately, why I got into education and for the majority of educators is to be there for the kids and to be in the classroom with kids. So, for me, I wipe all that away and what is more core is to be here for kids,” the substitute said.

She previously crossed the picket line to substitute during a different strike, years ago in another district. She said subs are accustomed to sliding into classrooms when needed and quality learning time is still achieved.

“We come into strange classrooms every day. We get to see and experience new things and new teaching styles and learning styles, so we are nothing but flexible,” she said.

As far as compensation goes, the substitute said the pay for one shift is comparable to an average day, however working two shifts allows them to make more. She also made sure to mention the detailed lesson plans left by the teachers, which will help the substitutes and ultimately help the students.


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  1. John says:

    I’d like to thank KDRV for their biased, pathetic, negative reporting on contract negotiations between Medford Administration and the teachers. What happened to unbiased journalism?

    Teachers are college educated, many with a Master Degree, and some with PhDs! They are professionals just like doctors, lawyers, architects, dentists, etc. Like all professionals, they deserve a salary with benefits that is substantially better than manual laborers with GEDs or dropouts.

    What KDRV fails to report is the fact that educators shape the minds of students and prepare them for the real world. THAT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE HUMAN RACE, TO OUR COUNTRY, AND TO OUR FUTURE. So, why pay teachers a pittance for this extremely important profession?

    1. Sharon Matlock says:

      How’s THAT SHAPEING GOIN’ FOR YA? That’s what shocking! You call 100K a pittance? Get a grip on what is truly happening to our country.

  2. Dan says:

    Why cant our Medford teachers be like this sub. Be there for the kids, think of the kids not money all the time. Get out of teaching if you want to get rich and stop looking at teaching as a welfare program.

    1. Darrel says:

      Totally agree with Dan. Teachers have options to look for work else where.

  3. Sharon Matlock says:

    This sub has the conviction to teach. It’s children who become victims. What a poor example in behavior the union strikers display! It never ends, been going on for years. There’s never enough money. May be these people should look at other vocations. The educational institution should not continue to use the children as pawns in their financial battle. Get rid of the Unions for gosh sakes! Their tactics are old.. people are waking up to their negative game. With the state of the economy, the teachers should thank God they have a job. There are those who have to work two jobs to make ends meet…so change the attitude, get back to the classroom and teach!

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