• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Educators' Perceptions of the Substitute Teachers' Role in District of Columbia Public Schools

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Leone Grant
Abstract:
The academic progress of students can be negatively affected by unplanned or extended absence of their teachers that inevitably will occur. This problem is especially acute in larger schools. Research suggests that using substitute teachers may not always provide an effective means of sustaining student progress. Gaps may exist in a common understanding of how key stakeholders, including substitute teachers, regular teachers, and principals, perceive the role to be played by substitute teachers in the educational process. Following a conceptual framework outline by Lassman, the purpose of this exploratory case study was to explore differing perceptions of the substitute teacher role across these key groups. The research question examined group differences related to instructional practices, administration and supervision practices, substitute requirements, school climate, and professional status as they relate to the substitute teachers role. ANOVA analyses of survey responses from 50 participants drawn from 2 randomly selected schools in the greater Washington, DC, area revealed statistically significant group differences for the perceived relevance of instructional practices, administration and supervision practices, and professional status across substitute teachers, regular teachers, and principals. Substitute teachers ascribed less relevance to instructional and administrative practices and rated their own professional status higher than did regular teachers and principals. The study contributes to positive social change by informing the development of policies, practices and professional development modules aimed at more effectively integrating the substitute teacher into the educational process.

Table of Contents

List of Tables

................................ ................................ ................................ ....................

iv

Chapter 1 : Introduction to the Study

................................ ................................ ................... 1

Background of the Study

................................ ................................ ......................... 4

Statement of the

Problem

................................ ................................ ......................... 6

The Purpose of the Study

................................ ................................ ........................ .7

Hypotheses

................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 7

Significance of the Study

................................ ................................ ......................... 8

Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ......................... 1 0

Assumptions

................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 1 0

The Nature of the Study

................................ ................................ ......................... 1 0

Conceptual Framew ork

................................ ................................ .......................... 1 2

Definitions of Terms

................................ ................................ .............................. 1 3

Summary

................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 1 4

Chapter 2 : Review of the Literature

Introduction

................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 15

Importance of Substitutes to the American System of Education

......................... 15

The Role of the Substitute Teacher

................................ ................................ ........ 18

Problems and Concerns of the Substitute Teacher

................................ ................ 20

Recommendation for Resolving the Problems and Concerns of the

Substitute Teacher

................................ ................................ ...................... 2 2

Further

Studies Relating to Substitute Teachers

................................ ................... 2 4

ii

Summary

................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 25

Chapter 3 :

Research Methodology

Introduction

................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 27

Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 27

Population and Sample

................................ ................................ .......................... 29

Instrumentatation and Data Collection

................................ ................................ .. 30

Data Analysis

................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 31

Chapter 4 :

Results

................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 33

Sample Pr ofile

................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 33

Hypothesis Testing ................................ ................................ ................................ . 4 0

Summary of Findings

................................ ................................ ............................. 46

Chapter 5 : Summary and Conclusions

Overview

................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 4 8

Interpretation of Findings

................................ ................................ ...................... 5 0

Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations

................................ ................. 52

Implications for Social Change

................................ ................................ .............. 53

Recommendations for Action

................................ ................................ ................ 53

Reflections

................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 56

References

................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 57

Appendixes

................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 75

Appendix A :

Survey: The Role of Substitute Teacher

................................ ......... 65

Appendix B :

Educator Demographic Information

................................ ................. 68

iii

Appendix C : Demographic Information for

Substitute Teacher

............................ 7 0

Appendix D : Review Committee

................................ ................................ ........... 7 2

Appendix E : Request to Interview Educators

................................ ........................ 7 7

Appendix F

Permission to Undertake Study

................................ .......................... 7 8

Appendix G : Request to Enter Schools

................................ ................................ 7 9

Appendix H : Permisson to Enter Schools

................................ .............................. 8 0

Curriculum Vitae

................................ ................................ ................................ ... 8 1

iv

List of Tables

Table 1. Demographic and Personal Characte ristics of

Principals/Teachers

.................... 35

Table 2. Demographic and Personal Characteristics of Substitute Teachers

..................... 37

Table 3. ANOVA, Means, and Standard Deviations for Instructional Practices among

Three Groups of Educators

................................ ................................ .................... 42

Table 4. ANOVA, Means, and Standard Deviatio ns for Administration/Supervisor

Practice among Three Groups of Educators

................................ .......................... 43

Table 5. ANOVA, Means, and Standard Deviations for Substitute Requirements among

Three Groups of Educators

................................ ................................ .................... 44

Table 6.

ANOVA, Means, and Standard Deviations for School Climate among Three

Groups of Educators

................................ ................................ .............................. 45

Table 7. ANOVA, Means, and Standard Deviations for Professional Status among Three

Groups of Educators

................................ ................................ .............................. 46

1

Chapter 1 :

Introduction

The publication of A Nation at Risk

by the National Commission on

Excellence in Education in 1983 marked the first major government criticism of public education . In its aftermath, the

strong outburst of criticism

of U.S. education

remains strong (Berliner & Biddle, 1995 ,

Marzana,

2003). Although school a ccountability and reform have resulted,

some of the nation’s schools continued to operate in th e traditional manner by using methods that had worked well for them in the past . Some

leaders demand

a b ack - to - b asics

approach. L egislators and other groups of the public continue to

ask

for greater teacher responsibility for curriculum development relevan t to the contemporary school community.

M uch

of the criticism has concentrated on charges that schools are out of touch with world changes and schools are not providing students with academic and critical thinking skills needed to function effectively in

the future

(Chubb, 2009). Some reformers have maintained that schools should emphasize problem solving, higher - level thinking skills, and group cooperation skills rather than basic reading and computation skills.

Whether criticism of schools is politic al - based or outcomes and assessment - based, no reforms have challenged the existence of and important role of substitute teachers in the way schools function. Yet substitute teachers have received little support from principals and even less from the super intendents and members of the school board (Bruce, 1990; Lunay, & Lock, 2006; Nidds & McGerald, 1994).

2

Some researchers have asserted that substitutes should receive comparable pay rather than the modest compensation typically meted out to them. Research a nd anecdotal reports cite classroom management as the greatest challenge faced by substitutes (Aceto, 1995; Galvez - Martin, 1997; Nidds & McGerrald, 1994; Ostapczuk, 1994; Rude, 2008). Substitutes encounter other

problems in the classroom :

(a) incomplete or

missing lesson plans, (b) unfamiliarity with schools or school districts’ policies, which differ from school district to school district, and (c) the perception by students, parents and colleagues that substitutes are merely babysitters or pinch - hitters –

the ―warm body stereotype‖ (Wyld, 1995, p. 302). Gonzales (2002) and Wyld (1995) called for a need for better orientation of the substitute teachers before they enter the classrooms.

Problems typically faced by substitutes or those who hire them are n ot new. The need for substitutes to acquire the desired teaching skills was documented in the middle of the last century

(Ostapczuk, 1994) ,

and solutions appeared to be as elusive as ever. Lassman (2001) suggested that problems associated with substitute t eacher programs resulted from non - management more so than mismanagement. These findings echoed a theme found in Ostapczuk (1994) review of the literature on substitutes, which noted the low priority school districts traditionally place on substitute teach er development. The substitutes’ temporary appointment lacks continuity. Often issues of cost effectiveness and school budgetary priorities favor full - time employees.

For the United States to remain competitive in the global market, it is imperative th at the educational system be scrutinized and regularly evaluated regarding qualitative improvement ( Asayesh , 1993 ; F. Smith , 1996 ;

Haqq , 1997 ;

Parker ; 1993 ; Wise , 2000).

3

News reports periodically note that United States public school children’s performance

in math, for example, is below those in some other nations.

Spady and Marx (1984) stated that

a

sound educational system that produces ―rounded‖ individuals who are strong intellectually, physically, emotionally, psychologically and mentally capable to empower human social condition is basic to our defense, our economy, our nation’s competitive position in the world and the very success of our free and democratic society. (p. 5)

Wise (2000) explained that the relentless criticism and scrutiny has led to the drastic improvement in our children’s education. Obvious proof of this referent is the emphasis placed on the professional development ,

resulting in highly qualified personnel across the nation. But as Abdal - Haqq (1997), Deay and Botempo (1986), Grie der

(2001), Hawke (1987), Temple (1993) argued, the effort to improve the effectiveness of our regular teachers has led to the absence from their classrooms for a considerable amount of time.

Other professionals, who are not certified as regular teachers, are called upon to take the place of these absent teachers. These professionals, generally known as substitutes, a re required to perform as regular teachers but without the authority of the teachers they replace. All classroom teachers a re required to be certified in their special area of concentration. In some schools, substitutes are not even empowered to issue bathroom passes to the students. Often, they a re regarded as invaders or mercenaries

whose intention is not to teach but to make money.

4

With t he increase in professional development programs for teachers and the rapid expansion of leave policies, the role of the substitute teacher has increased. Classroom teachers have to leave their classrooms to take advantage of the professional development w orkshops and they have to be replaced by substitutes. Hawke (1987) stated that the acceptance of the services rendered by the substitute teachers to the United States system of education depend s

almost exclusively upon people working within the school syst em, especially the principals, regular school teachers, and students.

Although substitute teachers are an integral part of the American system of education, Abdal - Haqq (1997) and Lunay and

Lock (2006) argu ed that the school system consider s

the substitute

as the performer of negative roles. Substitutes are described as babysitters, stop gaps, or warm bodies. Drake (1981) described them as the ―spare tire‖ of the educational system. Yet

they are a vital part of the engine that keeps the educational system

going. It is therefore imperative to accentuate their contribution and clarify their role s.

Background of the Study

Lassman (2001) and St. Michael (1994) argued that the role of the substitute is often vague. S uperintendents, principals, and teachers ,

including substitutes, struggle

to understand where the substitute belongs in the education profession. The literature review reveals that there is no clear definition of the role of the substitute teacher (McHugh, 1997; St. Michael, 1997; Temple, 1987; W ise, 2000). The number of people employed as temporary or contingency workers has

increas ed in all segments of the American economy. Within the confines of the school, this phenomenon has manifested itself in

5

the increased use of substitute teachers. Sin ce the mid - 1980s, this increase has largely been due to the increased amount of time schools require regular classroom teachers to attend meetings and in - service training within the student day (Galloway & Morrison, 1994).

Researchers estimate that some s tudents may spend up to a full year of their academic lives in classrooms supervised by substitute teachers. Most researchers predict that this trend is likely to continue in the future.

The current supply of available substitute teachers is inadequate to

serve the needs of school districts on traditionally heavy - use days, and the situation is likely to become worse (Cunningham, 1998).

In spite of the number of days students spend with substitute teachers, there is little recognition of their importance in the educational process. Researchers and educators agree that classrooms staffed by substitute teachers do not function as effectively as when they are under the guidance of regular classroom teachers (Clifton & Rambaran, 1987; Galloway & Morrison, 199 4; Gonzales, 2002; Johnson et al., 1988).

Substitute Teaching

The substitute is required to take effective control of some difficult classroom in the absence of the regular teacher , but

without adequate support of regular teachers and administrators. When

regular teachers leave the classroo m they are expected to leave a lesson plan,

which includes assignment for the duration of days absent, seating arrangement, and other important directions . In the absence of such a plan ,

substitutes are left to fend for themselves.

6

The effectiveness of regular teachers demand s

continued educati on. Time away from their teaching

responsibilities

is often unavoidable — and thus the need for substitute teachers, who are often perceived by admin istration as a ―necessary evil . ‖ Any school without substitute teachers to replace the regular teachers will certainly n ot function properly. Without

substitute teachers school administrators would have to leave their important administrative jobs to cove r classes for absent teachers, because it is illegal to leave school children by themselves without adult supervision.

Statement of the Problem

A n

teacher

referred to as a ―sub‖ or substitute takes the place of an absent regular teacher. This professional is required to perform the role of the absent teacher (Lassman, 2001). The regular classroom teacher may be absent from t he classroom for any number of reasons, including personal or family illness or emergency, jury duty, personal development activities , or short - time military service

(Lassman, 2001).

The literature review revealed that

little has been done regarding the role performed by substitute teachers in gene ral, and those in Washington, DC , in particular.

Despite the important role substitute te achers have performed in preparing future leaders for the competitive world, administrators and principals have devalued their role, and the needs and concerns of substitute teachers have not been adequately documented or seriously addressed.

more specific ally, the attitudes and practices of other professionals, as well as those of the substitute teachers themselves, is largely unexplored in the literature.

7

The Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was

to identify how the attitudes, practices of principals, teachers and their policies that structure the work environment of the substitutes influence the effectiveness of the substitute teachers’ role in the classroom.

The study was designed to accomplish the following:

1. Magnify the concerns of substitute teacher s, including adequate preparation for all types of classroom situations.

2. Investigate the

role s

performed by the substitute teachers in two schools of the Washington, DC,

Public School Sy stem.

3. Consider how the ir ability to fill thos e

role s

could be improved.

Hypotheses

The following hypotheses have been formulated regarding the roles of substitute teachers and their qualifications.

Ho1:

There will be significant differences in the instructional practices mean scores of elementary and middle school principals, teachers, and substitute teachers when the role of the substitute teacher is considered.

Ho2:

There will be significant differences in the administration and supervision practices mean scores elementary and middle school principals, teachers, and substitute teachers when the role of substitute teachers is considered.

Ho3:

There will be significan t differences in substitute requirements mean scores of elementary and middle school principals, teachers, and substitute teachers when the role of the substitute teacher is considered.

8

Ho4:

There will be significant differences in the school climate mean scores of elementary and middle school principals, teachers, and substitute teachers when the role of the substitute teacher is considered.

Ho5:

There will be significant differences in the professional status mean scores of the elementary and middle sch ool principals, teachers, and substitute teachers when the role of the substitute teacher is considered.

Significance of the Study

A study on the role of substitute teachers conducted by Educational Research Service (1977) described the role of the subst itute teacher as the most challenging and difficult job a teacher can encounter. When the regular teacher is absent the school depends on the substitute teacher for providing continuity in instruction and for the effective management of the unfamiliar and sometimes hostile classroom. Although the role of the substitute teachers is difficult, persons often label substitute s as baby sitters and serve more as an interim keeper of peace than an educator.

Gaddy and Kelly (1978) noted that the number one goal of t he school is to maintain an environment in which students are granted the opportunity of daily learning experiences. Each classroom has a regular teacher. Whenever the regular teacher is absent there is interruption in learning . T herefore ,

the school must use

the service of the substitute teacher who ,

at a very short notice ,

is required to provide continuity in learning activities. When the substitute teacher is present students tend to cut class. The substitute teacher has difficulty in managing the classr oom , particularly when the regular teacher fail s

to leave lesson plans for the substitute teacher.

9

Elizabeth (2001) argued that as substitute shortage s increase , quality controls decline across the nation’s classrooms.

In schools across the nation substit ute teachers often are not only not trained in the subject area they are supposed to be teaching ; some are un qualified to work as substitute teacher at all.

Elizabeth (2001) revealed that in all but one state, substitute now need no teaching certification to take over a classroom.

Lunay and Lock (2006) suggested that substitute teachers could be viewed as an extremely important educational resource. Many students spend as much as one year or more of their K - 12 education being supervised by substitute teache rs. Yet the l iterature review suggest that substitute teachers are still viewed by many as less than real teachers in terms of perceived competence, skills, and capability. These perceptions have a negative impact on the substitute teachers, making their job more difficult. As a result of the exposure of the problems, substitute teacher s

may suffer from alienation and disconnection from other educators and from the educational community. Byer (2008) emphasized methods for making substitute teaching more ef fective

if school personnel provided substitutes

with diligence, flexibility, care ,

and respect. Byer pointed that one of the major problems encountered

by substitutes is classroom discipline. Byer encouraged administrators to let students know that substi tute teachers have authority and deserve respect.

T his study

was designed to shed

light on the important roles the Washington , D C,

Public School (DCPS) substitute teachers perform. Clarifying the role would

benefit

administrators, teachers, the subs titute teacher ,

and District of Columbia s tudents

and lead to

social change in

its public schools.

10

Limitations of the Study

The core of the study

was e limited to the role clarification of the substitute teachers in two public sch ools of Northwest Washington, D C, p ublic s chools as perceived by educators and the substitutes themselves. An analysis of the role of the

Washington substitute teacher as perceived by the participants cann not be generalized to the role(s) performed by the substitute teacher s outside Washington, D C.

Furthermore, the truthfulness and validity

of the findings of many questionnaires and interviews was

limited to the degree that the respondents

were

willing to be open concerning the role and concerns of Washington, DC., substitut e teachers. I tried

to resolve these issues by assuring study participants would

be analyzed and reported fairly ,

accurately , and confidentially .

Assumptions

I assumed the following as I embarked on this study:

1 .

Fifty participants’ responses in two p ublic schools would

be analyzed and reported fairly and accurately. Research design and procedures are

explained in chapter 3.

2 .

By nature of the position, substitute teachers’ function less effectively than the regular classroom teachers, and less lear ning takes place when substitute teachers are in charge of instruction.

3 . All possible controls and safeguards were

employed to eliminate bias.

The Nature of the Study

Subsequent to a comprehensive review of literature regarding the substitute teacher ,

a

Likert - type scale survey ins trument consisting of multiple - choice questions and

11

demographic information for each respondent was designed. This instrument was specifically designed to elicit responses from selected principals, regular teachers, and substi tute teachers regarding their perceptions of the role of the substitute teachers in the Washington ,

D C,

Public Schools (DCPS).

The questionnaires were sent to four experts in the field of education (Review Committee) for their suggestions and comments. The doctoral committee also reviewed the instrument (Appendix A) ,

and the reviewers’ comments and suggestions were incorporated into the reviewed questionnaire. According to the nature of the study, the quantitative method was

the most appropriate approach

to obtain the required responses.

Three groups of educators (principals, regular teachers, and substitutes) from the DCPS made up the population for this study. To

obtain cooperation from the educators ,

permission was requested from Dr. Jamey, Superintend ent of the Board of Education for DCPS. Upon receiving Dr. Jamey’s approval, I requested support for the study from the principals of the two selected school to access their buildings in order to administer the instrument. This request was granted , and I

administered the instrument

in those two schools .

Data collected from the questionnaire were sorted by category as well as by demographic information .

A nalysis of v ariance (ANOVA) and Scheffle

were used to compare the principals, teachers, and substitute teachers’ perceptions regarding the role of the substitute teachers in the DCPS .

In chapter 3 I further

discuss

and explain

the procedures used to carry out the study , describe

the survey inst rument , the sample population, the administration of the instrument, and the treatment of the data .

12

Conceptual Framework

Practice and Procedures in The Use of Substitute Teachers

(1977) described the role of the substitutes:

1.

Substitute teaching is one of the most challenging and difficult role. In the absence of the regular teacher, the school relies on the substitute for providing continuity in instruction and for effectively managing an unfamiliar and oftentimes difficult classroom situation. Yet some pe rsons contend that substitute teachers provide little more than costly babysitting service and serve more as an interim keeper - of - peace than educator. The job is a complex one (p. vi).

2.

Substitute teaching is one of the most maligned jobs in American ed ucation. Entering a strange and sometimes hostile situation at a moment’s notice, the substitute is expected to follow the absent teacher’s lesson plan detailing the day’s activities, with minimum disruption (p. 1).

Lassman ( 2001) and Nidds and

McGerrald ( 1994) stated that the school community regards substitute teachers as babysitters, fair game, stopgap, person of pity, or warm body; therefore, the lot of a substitute teacher is not a happy one. Ostapzuk (1994) and Wyld (1995) argued that for the most par t, they tended to be treated as a marginal member of the educational community. Billman (1994 ), Grieder (2001) , and Ostapczuk (1994) claimed that rarely do students, teachers, or administrators regard substitutes as full professionals who meet accepted sta ndards of practice. Sometimes even substitutes do not see themselves as professionals.

13

Definition of Terms

The following definitions were applied in this study .

Absence

is defined as ―failure on the part of a teacher to be present for school duties, may

be excused, as for illness, or unexcused‖ (Good, 1973, p .

3).

Education

is the ―social process by which people are subjected to the influence of a selected and controlled environment (especially that of the school) so that they may attain social competenc e and optimum individual development‖ (Good , 1973 , p. 202).

Principal : T he chief executive or administrative officer of an elementary, middle or high school. A public school principal is responsible to the district school superintendent, has no policy - mak ing authority and is obligated to implement policies established by the state or the district school board and its representative, the superintendent of schools. (Good, 1973, p.

436).

Role: ―The behavioral patterns of functions expected or carried out by a n individual in a given societal context‖ (Good, 1973, p. 502).

Substitute

t eacher : ― O ne who occupies temporarily the position of an absent teacher, whether employed for a few days only or for an extended period of time‖

(Good, 1973, p. 569) .

A substitute

teacher may replace a teacher for a day or more, during a regular teacher’s absence or for an entire year, while a regular teacher is on leave. A substitute teacher may be in a permanent assignment at a particular school or serve as floater reporting to different schools throughout (Good, p. 569).

14

Teacher : A person employed in an official capacity for the purpose of guiding and directing the learning experiences of pupils or students in an educational institution, whether public or private (Good,

p 586).

Summary

Chapter 1

introduced the study. It presented the statement of the problem

and suggested

how vague and undefined the role of substitutes is, as superintendents, principals, teachers and substitutes themselves struggle to understand where the substitutes belong in the education profession. The purpose of the study was

to identify how the attit udes and practices of principals and teachers and policies that structure the work environment influence the effectiveness of the substitutes’ role in the classroom. The hypotheses, the significance of the study, limitations of the study, assumptions, and

the nature of the study we re also explained in this chapter. An important component of this chapter was

the definition of terms.

The remainder of the study is organized into the following chapters : Chapter 2

Full document contains 94 pages
Abstract: The academic progress of students can be negatively affected by unplanned or extended absence of their teachers that inevitably will occur. This problem is especially acute in larger schools. Research suggests that using substitute teachers may not always provide an effective means of sustaining student progress. Gaps may exist in a common understanding of how key stakeholders, including substitute teachers, regular teachers, and principals, perceive the role to be played by substitute teachers in the educational process. Following a conceptual framework outline by Lassman, the purpose of this exploratory case study was to explore differing perceptions of the substitute teacher role across these key groups. The research question examined group differences related to instructional practices, administration and supervision practices, substitute requirements, school climate, and professional status as they relate to the substitute teachers role. ANOVA analyses of survey responses from 50 participants drawn from 2 randomly selected schools in the greater Washington, DC, area revealed statistically significant group differences for the perceived relevance of instructional practices, administration and supervision practices, and professional status across substitute teachers, regular teachers, and principals. Substitute teachers ascribed less relevance to instructional and administrative practices and rated their own professional status higher than did regular teachers and principals. The study contributes to positive social change by informing the development of policies, practices and professional development modules aimed at more effectively integrating the substitute teacher into the educational process.