HomeNewsCHS teachers pick up extra classes after colleague’s mid-year departure

CHS teachers pick up extra classes after colleague’s mid-year departure

Published May 12, 2022

BY EMMA BROWN

Following the unexpected departure of a former Carmel High School history teacher at the end of the fall semester due to personal reasons, the CHS social studies department and some of its students have been forced to pivot mid-year presented with new challenges and adjusting to new classes the transition has brought.

Though the search for a substitute teacher began immediately thereafter in December, an already scarce number of substitutes available district-wide added to the difficulty of the task at hand. Despite this, CHS was able to locate an available long-term substitute teacher who was meant to advise the absent instructor’s freshman geography and junior United States history classes. At the beginning of the second semester, the substitute took over the class periods for about a month, then left their position the first week of February.

Because of the turnover within the classroom, the social studies department ultimately decided to not enlist another substitute teacher and instead to remedy the situation by having four CHS teachers each take on one class period during time previously allocated for prep work. 

“We told our department that we can pick up some of this stuff and create some stability and that we would be happy to do that,” says CHS history teacher Marc Stafford, who typically teaches U.S. History through Monterey Peninsula College dual-enrollment, but recently took on a second period freshman geography class.

Like Stafford, many of the other teachers who picked up extra class periods were not accustomed to teaching about that particular time period in history. For instructors like Phil Johnston, a CHS physical education teacher with a background in history, the transition to teaching a new subject led to some adjustments in the typical curriculum to capitalize on their prior expertise.

After the four teachers took over these classes, they faced another challenge: massive grade inflation. During the month in which the substitute was in charge of grading, technological issues arose, causing many assignments to be marked completed in Google Classroom, but denoted as missing in Aeries, CHS’ online gradebook, and vice versa, thus leading to incorrect grades for many students.

“Some of the assignments were entered, some of the assignments weren’t entered,” explains Joe McCarty, who teaches MPC U.S. History and college prep U.S. History, but took on a freshman geography class as well as additional U.S. History students. “Some of the assignments in Google Classroom were 100 points, but they were only 10 points in Aeries. So there were kids with 200% in the class because the substitute was entering them wrong and she didn’t understand how to use Aeries.”

Grade inflation was just the beginning. Upon closer examination, the four teachers discovered that many assignments that had not been turned in had been marked as complete and students had been given full credit, and the opposite was true as well, leading to grades that were not reflective of the work done. Additionally, all assignments that were marked as graded received a 100% regardless of quality of work. In an effort to amend the situation and assign students’ fair grades, the instructors went through each student’s assignments from the second semester and checked to see what had been turned in and what was missing, a process that took two weeks. 

Though the situation has been amended for this year, when looking towards the 2022-23 school year, CHS plans to hire a new history teacher in the fall so that the instructors currently filling in can return to their typical workload.

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