Greetings Professional Colleagues,

 As we prepare for another school year, making sure our license and credentials are in order, we are faced once again with the yearly training. While the cautionary reminders on bloodborne pathogens and workplace safety can seem redundant, these yearly tests remind us of how we train and test our students; Yes, I already know the information but it needs to be proved to others that I do. This year a new addition regarding Education of Homeless Youth in Oregon was added. The scope of the problem is heartbreaking and as educators we must do all we can to make the facilities where we work safe and welcoming places. Meeting the physical and emotional needs of children is required before learning can take place. As an unfamiliar face in a classroom the substitute teacher may seem threatening to some students. How do we overcome their fears? What words or gestures can we use to provide a sense of security for them? With practiced skill we approach each child, sit beside them and listen to their needs, all the while keeping an eye on the 29 others in the classroom.

As substitutes we are often frustrated, disappointed and feel disrespected but we persevere for those “Aha!” moments when a student learns a concept. To watch them struggle to edit an essay, encouraging them to their best work, takes patience. When we consider the life struggles these students face each day, the few hours they spend under our guidance is precious. As they leave our classes, let us wish each child to be happy, to be safe, and to be appreciated. We are all learning to be our best selves.

Keep learning and stay connected with your OSTA colleagues. advancing the professionalism of all substitutes teachers is our goal.

 Joyce Gifford, OSTA President