2010-2011 school year: day eighty four

My thanks to my readers for indulging me last week with all the not-teaching posts!

7 Responses to “2010-2011 school year: day eighty four”

  1. Agreed! I’ve done a lot of substituting and I completely agree. It would also help with teachers being more respectful to substitutes because they don’t understand it at all. I can treated so rudely sometimes.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Yes, I’ve definitely worked with my share of snarky teachers who didn’t care/respect me as a sub. To be fair to the teachers though, I have also seen my fair share of subs whose primary consideration seems to be how much of the newspaper they can read in a period.

      I’d love to see the very nature of how schools employ subs changed from the ground up- it should be more of an apprenticeship than an afterthought. Like I said, I really feel as though I learned how to be a teacher through my years of substitute teaching… but I was also lucky enough to have good mentors through that time.

  2. Subbing before you find a job is pretty common where I live (a small city in Canada) – people often sub for three years before finding anything, and at least a year. The only people who get jobs right out of the gate are the ones willing to relocate to the north, or abroad. The current student enrolment in our district is about 12,500 kids, with about 800 teachers…and about the same number of substitutes.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Lately (especially in this economy) I’ve found more and more teachers who are subbing and feel it is some kind of punishment for not finding a job right out of college. I wish it was more common and accepted here in the US. I think students get better teachers when the person in front of the classroom has had a variety of experiences across a wide spectrum of what the job of “teacher” entails.

      Of course, for this to be a viable part of a teacher’s career, subs would have to be paid a living wage. I can tell you, at least in the three states where I have been a sub, that is not something that happens.

  3. It’s funny, I don’t mind subbing – I didn’t feel ready to teach full-time right out of the gate, especially since I was in a condensed three-semester education program (on top of my BA and MA, not in place of). I want to get as much experience as possible with different age groups, subjects, schools, etc. before I get into my own classroom. I want to experiment with different styles of classroom management. I like having a fresh chance to make a first impression with a new group of kids.

    I make a decent wage – $192 a day – but it’s hard to get days booked. Individual teachers or principals/VPs call you, and it’s entirely based on relationships you’ve established during your practicum, or from going from school to school shaking hands and handing out business cards like a door-to-door salesman. I volunteered at my old middle school (teaching Latin, which no school in my province offers) and the VP is my old gr. 7 English teacher, but I can’t seem to catch him in the office and he hasn’t responded to the notes I’ve left him, so I don’t get called to teach at that school. The three weeks I taught gr. 10 algebra in English and French at my old high school were great, if not my specialty, but I only got that assignment because the woman had taught me gr. 8 math 15 years ago, and I happened to be standing in a hallway talking to another teacher when she happened to need someone (because her knee surgery got moved up); since then, I worked one day a week for two weeks, then nothing last week, and nothing so far this week, with nothing booked for the future.

    There are things about it that I love – the pay is decent, you’ve got a lot of freedom, there’s less “work” involved – not much planning (even when I’ve done 2-3 week hauls, the other teacher usually still plans what they want me to do), less marking than a normal teacher, don’t have to go to meetings or do report cards, the high school I’ve been working at is a short walk from my apartment, I love getting to know new kids (even if memorizing 100 names each time I get a new assignment sucks), and I learn something new every time. But the uncertainty blows. Everytime I get a dry spell, I think “I need to crawl back to Staples and ask them for my part-time job back, even though I’d rather die than get back up on that cherry-picker to get furniture down, or work at the copy centre and print theses for people I know”, and then I land a sweet multi-week assignment that takes up enough of my time that a PT job isn’t necessary. And being home all day is great, except it means I have to play housewife and do all the chores myself.

    Oh, and my district is so bloated with subs that you have to have worked 50 days before they’ll put you on the long-term supply list. But on the other hand, at least we’re in the teacher’s union now, and I’ll be making over $200 a day by September.

  4. I am doing a Masters project related to substitute teaching as a result of my experience as a sub. I agree that the system needs to be improved from the ground up!

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Excellent to hear. It’s a shame that we have so many young people interested in being teachers who sometimes don’t even step foot into a classroom until they are a few years deep into their education courses!

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