Expectations and Experiences of Substitute Teachers

  • Patricia Duggleby
  • Sal Badali


This article explores the expectations of support for and the experiences of substitute teachers in an urban school division in Saskatchewan. Data were collected in semistructured interviews with seven substitute teachers. The purpose of the study was to explore how substitute teachers frame their professional experiences and construct their roles in complex institutional contexts. The findings indicate that although participants view some of their work as highly positive, there are significant observable tensions in their professional lives. Work satisfactions and dissatisfactions of substitute teachers are discussed. Overall, results indicate a number of issues: substitute teachers are an integral part of the education system; professional teacher associations, although theoretically acknowledging the professional membership of substitute teachers, do not include them in professional activities; school divisions are ultimately responsible for the work of substitute teachers; and the future seems bleak for those who believe they have been condemned to the substitute list.