Subbing, Job-hunting & Enjoying the Summer
I was a substitute teacher for the last few months of the 2010-2011 school year. In one of my MAT classes during the spring, we commented on our teaching experience. I said, “I’ve been subbing for a few months, which I believe counts as double experience.” A few people laughed and nodded in agreement. One of my classmates offered me triple experience if I would take over his classroom! Sounds good to me!
In theory, subbing is a good place to start when looking for a teaching position. Prior to becoming a teacher I worked as an administrative assistant. Whenever I needed a job, I would work as a temp, which would usually lead to a permanent position. This strategy usually worked, especially in a slow economy when there were not abundant jobs. For some reason, the temp market always thrived. The same could be said of subbing. I have very few connections in the teaching profession, so subbing is a good way to contact future employers and potentially land a position.
Subbing can be an easy job at times. I subbed several times for an Alternative Education teacher and loved it. The students were great and my job involved spending a few minutes occasionally helping them with class assignments, but generally I was not teaching as much as supervising students. Cindy, the instructional assistant, did most of the hard work.
Subbing can be a tough gig too. In one classroom I taught freshman biology in the last class of the day in sharp contrast to the AP Biology classes I had taught earlier in the day. Those students were self-motivated, studious and quietly working on their assignments the entire class period. Not so with freshman biology. I asked one student at least ten times to please work on the assignment and quit talking. During the last half of class, the students were supposed to watch a video. Perfect! Between my technology skills and the malfunctioning projector, the video did not show up on the screen no matter what I did to make it work. After finally throwing in the towel and getting another teacher involved, we finally got the video to work. The students spent about 15 minutes watching and then thankfully the bell rang signaling the end to their (and my) day.
In spite of the advantages and disadvantages of substitute teaching, I want my own classroom. I want to teach the same students every day. I apply for every job available on edzapp, the main teaching job website in Oregon. I have applied for 12 teaching jobs since the middle of June. Other than a couple, “thank you for your interest, but we have filled the position” emails, I have yet to get an interview. I am trying to keep my chin up this summer and remain positive knowing that when school starts, I will be busy since I have expanded the districts I will be subbing for.
I have some ideas for ways to stay positive while counting down to the new school year:
- Stay on top of current teaching jobs by checking out teaching job websites. I live in Oregon and most of the school districts in the state use edzapp for education jobs. I look every day. I also pay attention when others offer job hunting tips. It seems like everyone shares tips for finding teaching jobs.
- Keep busy! The fact is, it is summer and I am not working. I am lucky because I have a place to live and do not have to worry about the necessities of life. I tend to get bored however. I feel I should be busier or be doing something other than spending my day on the computer looking for work or chatting with friends.
- Circulate and communicate. I try to have coffee with friends at least once a week. Not only is it a good time to catch up, it also serves to contact friends of friends who might be able to help you find a job. I usually tell anyone who will listen that I am a teacher looking for a teaching job. Someone usually knows someone else who is a teacher or is affiliated with a school.
- Take up a hobby. I like to read and write and I have a garden. I try to devote a little time each day to these interests. We have to make time to do something unrelated to job hunting.
- Try to enjoy the summer. Take a hike and enjoy the sunshine. It relaxes me to be outside. Sometimes I take my coffee outside and just look around and enjoy the singing birds and the breeze blowing through the trees.
Remember, sometimes when you are not looking for something, it shows up right in front of you! Good luck!