If you’ve been reading my previous posts, then you’ll know I had a Substitute Orientation last Friday. I promised I’d write about it today. I went into it not fully sure if it was an actual orientation or if I still had an interview process to go through. Well, apparently it was an actual orientation! They do not do interviews, per se. They go over the application and your references with a fine tooth comb and if you pass muster, you’re in, for the orientation that is. You still have to pass the fingerprinting/criminal background check. That should be a piece of cake for me. I haven’t even had a traffic ticket for over twenty years.
I’m hoping that the fingerprinting I did for the pre-school is still on file so that I can save myself the $47 it will cost if I do have to go through it again. Hey, $47 is $47; that’s a half a week’s groceries if I’m shopping, only a week if hubby shops. That’s more than half of what my daily sub rate will be once I start getting assignments. Yep, subbing does not make you rich, but it will cover most of the bills and make our savings go farther.
The orientation was from 8:30 to 2. Hmm, we all wondered, does that mean they’ll be feeding us lunch or starving us? We had a 30 minute break at 11 at which they offered an assortment of store bought pastries along with a choice coffee or water. With the late break, we worked through lunch time and some of us who had fewer questions filling out the forms were able to leave shortly after 1:30.
The Substitute Coordinator had two speakers lined up for us. The first spoke about Special Education, different types of disabilities, the resources available to help the teachers help the students, the fact that our district practices Inclusion as much as possible so that students with disabilities can be included with the general education students, some of the accommodations and modifications made for students with disabilities, and the need to keep student information private and confidential.
The second speaker was the Director of the Safety. He’s the head security officer. His experience includes twenty years in the service, almost all in security, everything from MP, to West Point security, to part of the security detail that escorted Saddam Hussein to his first trial. He was an engaging speaker weaving a couple of personal stories (nothing more about Saddam) into his speech on how the district keeps the students safe and what our role as substitutes would be. He is new to the district and spoke of how impressed he is with how well the students respond to the drills and how few fights and skirmishes occur on our campuses. We seem to have a fairly well behaved student body. I’m glad to hear that.
The rest of the time was spent on filling out forms, I-9, W-4, direct deposit, savings plan this and substitute teacher that, EOE ethnicity survey, emergency contact form, handbook receipt form and so on and so forth. She showed us a power point presentation instructing us on how to pick up assignments online and described the automated phone system for filling teacher absences. To remain a substitute for the following year without having to go through the whole application process again one must sub for at least 30 days during the school year. I’m sure I’ll hit that mark.
Our group was comprised of 60 to 70 people, mostly women, mostly aged 40 and above. This was the second orientation this month and they’ll do it again in the spring. I don’t know if there is a high turnover rate among subs or if our teachers are out a lot, but it sure seems like a large pool of substitutes to add to an already established supply.
Last Wednesday I was out dress shopping for my son’s wedding next month when the director of the preschool I used to work at called and asked me to sub the following day in the Butterfly class (2 years olds). I did and had a blast. The class size has grown from 8 to 12 since they enlarged the children’s wing of the church. I impressed myself that I memorized all of their names. I am usually really bad at remembering names, but I made a point of using their names over and over until I had them down pat.
The hours are only from 9 to 2. I’m not even sure what my pay rate is, $9 an hour, $10 at the most, so it’s not much money, but the director and teachers are wonderful people. During the course of the day, the director came into the classroom with a sticky note scribbled with 4 solid dates and another 4 possible dates in October for which she needs or may need a sub. She wanted to check with me before I get busy subbing for the school district. I told her I would always put the preschool’s needs before the school district’s.
How could I not? She gave me a job when my hair was just beginning to grow out during chemo in 2008. I was in the bandana wearing phase and my skin still had a grayish cast to it. She knew that the kids wouldn’t judge my appearance. I hadn’t held a job for almost 25 years having been a stay at home mom, but she knew that I was a good fit for the preschool. She understood when I resigned after three years so that I could pursue an Associate’s degree. She was happy to have me on her sub list and has consistently let me know that if I wanted to return and have my own classroom I just had to say the word. She did not hold it against me when I told her that I needed more hours and more flexibility than the preschool could provide, but would be happy to stay on her sub list and help if I could.
And so, I guess you could say I’m working again, part-time for now with the preschool subbing, but soon enough I’ll be picking up assignments for the district and working as little or as much as I want (if I beat the other subs to the jobs, that is.) This will help tide us over until hubby can find work in homebuilding. An old co-worker of his just got rehired from the company that they took a voluntary layoff package from. Hubby is waiting to hear how that goes. There might be a chance he can get back on, too. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Enough for today, tomorrow is Education!
A pretty picture to brighten your day!