Monday, October 04, 2010

Day Two of Subbing......

I guess I haven't really addressed this whole adventure into this year's realm of substitute teaching. I know it's not necessarily the case in all of the states, but in Oregon, in order to sub, you need to have had a teaching degree. Because of this, substitute teaching probably pays higher than in other states where that is not the case. It also makes for a nice career choice, that allows you to work as little as you want to - but still technically "be employed" (and get summers off!) Prior to having my own classroom at Briggs Middle School, I subbed for about 3 years (by choice....I wasn't convinced I wanted my own classroom up until that point) - and then put in a few sub days here and there once both kids were around. It was quite minimal, as it's always been difficult to juggle the childcare issues to determine if it was really worth it (as getting called to sub can be extremely random).

Thanks to Lisa being willing to pick up Mikayla after school on the days I now get called, I am now "available" to sub on most days. (It's an automated system, so I can enter in if there's days I'm otherwise occupied). Ideally, it would be great to put in 1 or 2 days a week. It's good for me to feel like I'm contributing (vs. having a little too much time to just "spend"), it's a very gratifying job, and financially, well, it's always nice to put something "in" vs. always taking "out". However, unlike the early days when I had teachers eating out of my hands to request me.....nobody knows me now. My name and sub number have not been out there "circulating", and since most teachers that request a substitute usually have a certain one in mind (and can enter that sub's number upon making the request) - my job offers have been few and far between. In fact, I've been thankful to get the two jobs I have had. And speaking of those jobs....

Regarding that one two Fridays ago.....well, let's just say it was a bit of a train wreck. I went in a little more nervous than usual, as I knew two of the other fifth grade teachers. (I had recently met one of them - a friend of a friend - and had graduated high school with another one of fact, I just met his wife and week old baby at our reunion). I felt like I had something to prove going in. So, mustering the confidence of my "early years on the job", I walked in believing I could pull off whatever came my way. Except maybe ABSOLUTELY NO SUB NOTES. A full day with fifth graders - and no notes on what to do with them - except a response letter from the previous day's sub. (Which is another bad sign....being day 2 or 3 in a row of new subs....) So, while trying to calculate how many "gimmicks" I had in my bag of tricks to keep 5th graders occupied all day, I went down to the office to see if anything was left there for me. Nope, nothing. Really, in all my days of subbing, this had never happened to me. The other thing that had never happened.....going back to the classroom to find the teacher there, the one I was supposed to replace - expecting to teach her own class for the day. (Hence, the no sub notes) Yup, she was shocked to see me. Woah, talk about awkward. It turned out that when she realized the previous day's sub wasn't available, she decided to cancel a dr's appt. and go ahead and teach on that Friday - but the secretary never got that 411, and went ahead and scheduled another sub for her (that would be me). Lovely.

She went ahead and took the day off - and let me have the class. She was able to keep that appt. afterall - and gave me about 5 minutes worth of information on what to do with the kiddos. (Regarding math - she pointed to the 2 foot curriculum chart on the wall and said, "You might want to spend your lunch looking over that"....). The class was actually quite good, thankfully, otherwise it could have been a disaster. However, there was an educational assistant that stayed in the class ALL DAY, and felt it necessary to let the kids know when they weren't behaving for me like they normally do for the "real teacher". While I know her intentions were probably to help me out, it's really a very undermining thing to have happen. My authority is kind of zapped, and my hand is forced to step up the discipline when I'm really feeling like I do have control of the class and am quite comfortable with how things are going. The fact that the principal came in to watch me not once, but twice tells me she probably snitched on me too. No, not my best of days on the job.

The next job I "snagged" from the all-powerful automated sub system website was a first grade class last Wednesday at a different school. It wasn't an ideal day for me, nor grade for me (the younger ones take a lot of energy and patience....not my strengths) - but I was happy I "won" a job. An hour later, I received an automated phone call from "Subfinder" telling me that job had been canceled. That's never happened before either. They must have seen my name and immediately canceled the job so they could re-enter it later and get someone else! I'm [kind of] joking.....

So, last night, when a whole different school required a third grade teacher for today, I took it. Time to change the pattern and find a little success in this profession. And, lo and behold, it happened. Today was truly one of the best elementary experiences I've ever had. Great sub plans, excellent class - very respectful but also enthusiastic (the perfect combination). Praise the Lord. I needed a day like today to remember why I wanted to be a teacher when I "grew up".

With the kids having both Thursday and Friday off, I think that's it for the week for me. My house and tomorrow's dinner need some definite preparation before the ladies come over for our Tuesday night dinner-Bible Study-"Glee" experience. Wednesday has me meeting again with Katy, so I won't be actively seeking a job that day either.

So, there you go. That's my "working girl" update (if you can barely call it that). Hopefully, my network will start to grow, sub plans will be left behind, and the other adults that happen to be present in the classes will not turn out to be the most difficult behavior issue in the room!

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