Should Schools Hire Parents to Fill in During the Sub Shortage


The ongoing substitute teacher shortage has created significant challenges for schools worldwide. With a constant need for educators to ensure that every student gets the necessary education they deserve, an innovative approach should be considered. One potential solution is hiring parents within the school community to fill in during the substitute teacher crisis. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of such an idea.

The Advantages of Hiring Parents

1. Familiarity with students: Parents are already a part of the school community, and they understand its culture and have likely met many students, making them more approachable than unfamiliar substitute teachers.

2. Investment in success: As stakeholders in their own children’s education, parents will be invested in ensuring that the students’ learning experience is successful and meaningful.

3. Cost-effectiveness: By offering temporary job opportunities to parents, schools could save substantial resources on paying for outside substitute teacher agencies.

4. Building community connections: Fostering relationships among educators, parents, and students can have a positive impact on the overall school environment and create a stronger sense of collaboration.

5. Rapid response times: Since parents are generally part of the local community, they might be able to respond faster to teacher absences than distant substitutes.

The Disadvantages of Hiring Parents

1. Lack of qualifications: Most parents aren’t certified teachers and might not possess formal knowledge or experience in teaching methods or curriculum management which can lead to compromised educational quality.

2. Difficulties maintaining boundaries: Parents who work as substitutes may face difficulty separating their roles as educators and parents while interacting with their own children or other students in the school.

3. Potential for favoritism: The prospect of hiring parents increases chances of showing favoritism towards particular students, thereby harming impartiality needed in a classroom setting.

4. Limited availability: Some parents may not be available during school hours due to their career commitments or other responsibilities, making it challenging to rely on them as substitutes.


While hiring parents as substitute teachers during the current shortage presents certain advantages such as familiarity with students, investment in success, and strengthening community connections; it also poses considerable challenges like lack of qualifications, difficulties in maintaining boundaries, and potential for favoritism.

The decision to implement such an approach should be thoroughly considered and balanced against these factors. Schools could potentially explore hybrid solutions by offering training programs for interested parents to improve their teaching skills and setting up clear guidelines and expectations to ensure that standards are met and maintained. Ultimately, the goal is to provide quality education for every student despite the substitute teacher shortage.

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