If Senators Are Sick of Congress, They Can Always Try the Classroom

Being a senator hasn’t been easy this year—from contentious hearings for cabinet secretaries to stalled policy agendas to endless questions about the president’s tweets.

Maybe it’s not surprising that the Senate unanimously passed a resolution (S. Res. 356) Monday encouraging all 100 members to go try substitute teaching instead.

To be fair, the measure is less a referendum on the past year and more of a reflection of how passionate Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) is about substitute teaching. Kennedy, who has substitute taught about 40 times in the past 14 years, claims he’s the real deal when it comes to subbing—no other teacher is in the room and he teaches a full day.

Kennedy—a member of the Senate’s education committee—says his time leading a class is worth “a thousand hours of committee testimony.” 

Sen. Kennedy

Kennedy might have learned a lot about teaching with his side gig, but he got an unexpected lesson in Congress when he found out his resolution—which makes no requirements of lawmakers—had a hold on it, preventing it from passing via unanimous consent. 

“I was shocked,” he said. “This place has become so partisan.”

Eventually the hold was lifted and resolution passed.

Despite the legislation being little more than a pat on the back for teachers, there is currently a nationwide teacher shortage due to increasing student enrollment, high levels of attrition, and a push to have fewer students per teacher. 

Senators might not be feeling a lot of love in the halls of Congress these days, but Kennedy is confident they can find it in the halls of their local middle school.

“Public schools definitely need substitute teachers,” Kennedy said. “They need them so badly, they’ll take politicians.”