Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Too Much Free Time

Today is the 2nd day in a row where I have been unable to aquire a substitute teaching job.

My district uses Aesop, an online sub placement system. The requirement to become a substitute teacher is to have 90 or more college credits, however some schools in the district do requrie a teaching certificate. This means that any college students searching for education experience can get it before they graduate through Aesop.

In my opinion, there are pros and cons to this system.

  • It gives new teachers, like myself, a chance to prove themselves in the class.
  • It streamlines the system. I do not have to individually register with schools or districts to sub in them.
  • Teachers can request individual subs – I made a good impression last week, and as a result have a job lined up for this coming Friday.
  • Experienced subs probably don't like Aesop because younger punks like myself take away their seniority.
  • It seems like there are a billion other subs out there competing for the same jobs. While good for schools, its tough for subs. An opening became available last night. I knew the teacher, school, and subject material. Within 5 seconds somebody else got the job.
  • There is no longer the 5:30am phone call. To get jobs, I need to leave my computer on through the night and have Jobulator ring when a position opens. While its a good way to ensure a job for the coming day, it makes for very poor sleep.
Overall I'm happy with it, however it is frustrating that I am unable to work steadily. My presumption is that as the school year progresses, a couple things will happen:
  1. Teachers will take more days off - unless its an emergency, most teachers are probably going to be at work for the first two weeks of school.
  2. There will be less sub competition - I'm betting subs are likely very eager to take jobs right now. As the year progresses, I assume this will fade, especially as some of those 90 credit college students realize this job may not mesh with their schedule or stress intake.
  3. Teachers will request me - When I do get jobs, I focus on making a great impression. I follow the plans, try to build rapport with students, and chat with the secretaries and neighboring teachers. Most importantly, I leave a detailed sub report on letterhead that gives my personal contact information - all of this with the hopes of getting called back in the future.
I realize this is just part of the trade, and not every day will be filled. It's frustrating, but as the weeks go by, I'm sure my body and frame of mind will adapt.

This free time has given me a lot of opportunty to search the web! Here are some great resources (teaching and otherwise) that I have stumbled upon:
  • Two Writing Teachers: inspired teaching strategies that focus on how to successfully bring writing into the classroom
  • Cool Cat Teacher Blog: A wide spectrum of engaging material, from the newest research to proven methods and ideas
  • Education Week – Politics K-12: The most current news and analysis in national education
  • This Is Indexed: Venn-Diagramming the social world on an index card. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-wrenching, always interesting. (Also great to throw into your Bag of Tricks!) Here is one of my favorites:
  • Reflection Of Me: Highly entertaining, because a picture is worth a thousand words.

I invite you to contribute by sending in questions, personal stories, thoughts, and articles about substitute teaching. Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure how your district has it set up, but our Aesop system is a little more complex than you have indicated. For example, as a teacher I have the ability to either 1) make arrangements outside of Aesop, 2) Request a specific sub in Aesop, or 3) Let the system decide.

    One and two are pretty self explanatory, but number three can become confusing. If I choose to let the system select a sub, it first begins calling what is called my "Favorite Five" subs. If none of those subs are available, it then moves to my building "Favorite" list, then to the district list.

    Also, it is worth noting all those other subs that may have been eager at first, but are now being picky, in my system if you turn down jobs you get bumped to the bottom of the list. So your work is rewarded, although the best way is to get put into a "Favorite Five" as almost all of my colleagues have the same people listed.

    Lastly, as you have probably discovered, subs with teacher certificates are often more desirable than those without.