How Teacher Absence Affects Students

Everyone gets sick, things come up, and recovery requires time off of school. Missing school for both teachers and students can be quite difficult. It affects everyone in different ways and students find that it impacts them in a negative way.

Recently, Mrs. Banit a science teacher at Waterloo C.I. had to leave her classes for 8 weeks for medical reasons. Mrs. Banit teaches a University level Biology class and many students have found it quite hard when she was on her leave. Mrs. Banit says she finds the students to be stressing when she left for two weeks. She got multiple emails when she first left, for the transition for the students were difficult. She knows it can be hard, especially for the senior students.

Ehab Taha, a student in Mrs. Banit’s 4U Biology class has found it hard during the transition. “In the beginning, for about 2 weeks we had substitutes that did not teach biology and that was extremely difficult. I fell behind because I had questions that couldn’t be answered. By the third week, the admin was able to supply a teacher to replace Mrs. Banit while on her leave.” Taha says he felt as if the substitute was not a 100% trusted source, for the substitute was a chemistry teacher, who knew some biology. “My mark dropped because it was a difficult transition and both teachers had different teaching methods. The substitute was helpful to a certain extent, but I emailed Mrs. Banit a lot,” he says.

A math teacher has been gone on and off for about a month and a half. University math covers a lot in just one day on difficult material and these students had to learn on their own and it caused them to fall behind. There have been numerous substitutes throughout the time, some of whom are not math teachers. Fortunately, for the past 2 weeks, they were able to find a more stable math substitute who tries their best to pick up where they last were and teach the curriculum. A student from a the class says her mark has dropped since the leave of her original teacher. “It’s been really hard to learn and keep things consistent, especially when we had the substitutes that didn’t teach math. When we had questions they weren’t able to answer them,” she explains. Falling behind can be easy when you don’t get your questions answered. “Our learning style has definitely become more independent, which can also be a positive thing, but when we need further explanation teachers have different expectations and style for answering questions. If the substitute teacher were to teach me a lesson or concept one way, my original teacher might have wanted it done a different way which leads to a loss of marks.” Students have been to guidance and complained about the situation as this is a 4U course. Some have gone far enough to get their parents and the principal involved. The guidance seems to be doing their best and they have made a beneficial decision by hiring the math substitute. “Maintaining and increasing the mark we had at midterms is a goal for many students, sadly the goal has become practically unattainable due to the situation.” The student also says that it has caused her a lot of stress, and with exams coming close it can be very stressful. The entire situation has been very difficult for many students and the high amount of stress and pressure has been very detrimental to overall mental health.

As we all know, being away from school is difficult for the teacher, but their absence can be hard on the students as well.