Do You Accept Last-Minute Assignments?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by substitutesftw, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Inspired by the "what are you doing differently" thread, one of the biggest things I will do differently is accept assignments posted the same morning I'm expected to work.

    For two years, I've avoided last minute jobs like the plague. :lol:

    If I don't have a job assigned by the time I go to bed that night, I'm not going to work the next day.

    First of all, I don't like getting up early in the morning as it is. Secondly, it's pretty much understood that, in most cases, those jobs will have poorly-assembled lesson plans, or none at all. They are last-minute, after all.

    But I'm changing my mind this year. I'm going to make it a point to accept as many last-minute jobs as possible.

    I don't know, I guess I'm a lot more comfortable and confident this year. The biggest factor is the sheer number of these jobs. I always see last-minute job postings, some asking for a sub well after the job has started. Mondays and Fridays are the biggest times I see these types of postings. Teachers like to extend their weekends. :lol: Tons of last-minute assignments are never filled.

    I figure I can wake up early around the time I would wake up if I had a job previously assigned, check for last-minute postings, and then get ready for work as usual if I find one. If not, I can go back to sleep. Facil.

    And no lesson plans don't scare me anymore. I'm pretty prepared for those scenarios and take things with me to work, just in case.

    I figure I can at least increase my work schedule by one extra day a week by accepting these jobs. Heck, why not? :cool:

    Do you accept last-minute assignments posted the morning you're supposed to sub? Do you normally have no lesson plans on those days?
     
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  3. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    I always accept last minute jobs...I would say 80% are day of..if Im lucky its at 5am otherwise it could be right up until school starts...I just get up at 7 always and am ready for an 8am start no matter what...if by chance (rarely) i dont work for the day, at least I didnt sleep the day away!

    I would say Ive only not had plans 2 times... Here teachers are supposed to have emergency plans in the office anyway. I would'nt sweat it.

    ****Fingers crossed I won't be subbing again this year***** I love it, but I need benefits!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The last minute ones are the most appreciated by teachers!! If a teacher calls in sick at the last minute, sometimes subs are pulled from a classroom where a teacher had a workshop and that teacher now goes back in the classroom instead of the workshop. Sometimes an administrator will sub for those last minute jobs if a sub can't be found...or sometimes the class whose teacher is out is split up among other classes...None of these are ideal. Yes! Please! Accept those last minute sub assignments!! Thank you!!
     
  5. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Wow, lucky! I've had no lesson plans on several occasions. :mellow:

    You two make good points.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    The thing about last min jobs is that just because they're last min, doesn't mean you need to rush like a mad person to get ready & drive like a bat out of hell. If I feel like tkg a last min job, which I usually don't, I tk my time getting ready & I get there when I get there. They're the ones in a pinch.

    Just remember not to rush & risk getting hurt or in a car accident because the school has no idea what you were doing when you 1st found out about the assignment, so don't be afraid to tk your time! :)
     
  7. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    Luckily (???!!!!! I'm NOT a morning person :/ )this year I will be so busy with student teaching on Tuesdays & Thursdays all day that the only time to do homework will be on nights, weekends, and early mornings M-F. My plan is to wake up at 5 everyday since I have to be either at the schools I'm subbing for or at my placements/college at the earliest at 7, so I will have at least 1-2 hours of time to do work in the mornings if I want to...which is OK because I am so much more clear-headed in the morning. If I don't have a sub assignment, I will just be up early on M, W, & F's to do extra homework! I don't think staying up til 2AM is going to work out with this plan though...HAHA.

    Ms. I, you make a great point! I highly believe in looking my best and getting there early to get comfortable, but I'm never comfortable in the long run when I have to rush! & like you said, if they asked you last minute, then they can be the ones rushing to find plans until you get there!
     
  8. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    I don't really feel that that is the appropriate work ethic for a substitute teacher. Its about the kids who need a teacher for the day, there is no reason to take your time getting ready, you should be up and ready to work if that is what you want your job to be. Just my opinion.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It seems to me that, if you turn down too much last minute work, you probably won't be getting all that much of the other type. Most certainly not in this economy, with hundreds of thousands of teachers across the country desperate to get an "in" with any district.

    Teachers and administrators aren't stupid. They know the subs they can count on.

    "Fair weather friends" aren't really friends at all.

    If you want the reputation as a sub they can depend on you, then it seems to me that you should BE a sub they can depend on.
     
  10. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Right! :thumb:

    There's no reason to tk your time getting ready?! Fine, if you want to rush around like a chicken w/ its head cut off, be my guest & if you want to be dressed & ready at 7am M-F whether you know you're going to work or not, that's great! I mean if we don't know we're going to work on a certain day, most of us are going to go do something else that day or get ready to do something else. But, I'm not saying I'm going to show up halfway into the day or anything.

    For all the schools know, I just got home from a jog & didn't eat breakfast yet & live over 30 min away. I'm not going to suddenly rush around & risk my safety to be there at 7:30 rather than 8:00 for example. The few times I've done last min jobs, the school was just grateful I was able to do it at such the last minute in which I tell them I got there as soon as I could...which is true.
    :)
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    If you're just starting out, the more last minute jobs you accept, the more chance you might be requested or called first for jobs head of time. Years ago when I subbed we had a woman calling the subs for work. Her name was Debbie and she was such a nice woman (well i never met her but she sounded nice LOL). Well, when I first started she called me in the morning for some assignments and I always took them. Then, when an assignment would come up for 3 days the next week or something like that, she would call me. She said she knew I was reliable so she wanted to give me first pick. I know she had a ton of subs she could have called for the 10 schools in the district but she remembered ME because I was easy to work with and reliable when I started out.
     
  12. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    That may be true in some districts, but in mine, I do a very good job of getting referrals and repeat-classrooms. I can probably work 3-4 days a week from previously assigned jobs, most of which are referrals.

    Most of the jobs that come in are at least a day in advance, usually longer. I guess that has made me used to having prior notice about jobs and a little leery of last-minute jobs. There are a lot available here (especially on Mondays and Fridays), but they are not the most common job. If a district functions on a lot of those types of jobs, then I think the subs will be a bit more comfortable with those assignments.

    I am dependable, but I also like to plan ahead. From experience, I often have to work with no lesson plans. If schools demanded emergency lesson plans from their teachers, I think it would help subs want to take those last-minute jobs. I think that's probably the biggest disadvantage of accepting them.
     
  13. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    While I agree w/ TecherNY, most districts aren't that personalized w/ an actual live person doing the calling anymore. It's an automated system or online, so if one person can't do it, it's onto the next. But I'm sure there's still some kind of record kept of how often the same person accepted jobs moreso than others.
     
  14. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    We have an automated system. It's interesting that they may keep record, but I don't think it has a negative effect, not any that I've noticed. I work quite often and I decline jobs all the time since I only sub elementary-middle (so if a job for HS is offered, I automatically decline). Our system is first come, first served. :unsure:

    As I said, building a reputation at the schools where I actually do sub is the key to me landing more jobs, as opposed to what I decline on our system. I have an excellent relationship with the elementary teachers and get assignments from them all the time, mostly from the same few schools. :dunno:

    I don't know if I agree that I've looked unreliable all this time by not taking those last-minute jobs, but it's something to ponder. Regardless, I'm sure I'll look more reliable now that I will make it a point to accept those kind as often as I can. Thanks for the opinions! :thumb:
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    When I subbed, I was up every morning, knew what I would wear if I was called to work, and had a salad or sandwich ready in the fridge to take for lunch (if I didn't get called, I needed lunch anyway). If I did get a call, all I needed to do was do my make-up (5 minutes), put on the clothes that were ready (2 minutes, tops), put my lunch into my bag. I could easily be out the door in 20 minutes. For me, I looked on subbing as my full-time job, which meant that I needed to be ready and available.
     
  16. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I find this attitude extremely selfish. You have no idea why a teacher is asking for a sub in the mornig. Sometimes it is a sick child, or an emergency. We had a teacher 2 years ago who found out 15 minutes before school that her father died.

    Last year my partner had heart issues in the morning (during class) and had to be rushed out. I kept her class until the sub was ble to come in. Luckily there was a great sub available that day and she was there faster than I expected. I was the one dealing with class, and I appreciated the sub coming in so quickly and professioanlly.

    I am not saying speed, or burn your face with a curling iron from rushing, but taking your time and letting the school scramble til you get there?!?!? WOW.,

    Seriously, for your sake, I hope the teachers you sub for are not on here reading your posts.
     
  17. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Well, msmullenjr, that's why I hardly ever & these days never accept last min jobs in the 1st place. First, I see if I even feel like getting ready. Usually, my mind's already in the mode to do something else for the day. I'm not saying stay on the computer for another hr or anything before getting ready. If people aren't going to feel like getting ready as soon as they're called, they should just decline the job so the next sub can be called. :)

    These days, I don't hv to tk last min assignments because I've been blessed to get long-term jobs that last a few mos or the entire school yr. In fact, I've gained a great reputation throughout the SLP dept at my dist. The secretary has actually called me to see what my avability will be for the upcoming yr. But normally, a couple wks bef the yr begins, I email her my availability & have always gotten long-term jobs.
     
  18. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Well I certainly would prefer that to I tk my time getting ready & I get there when I get there. They're the ones in a pinch..
     
  19. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Absolutely!!! I worked 168 days last year in a very desirable district for a reason! And we are automated but they use a person too.

    One of my good friends only worked 48 days, so its not like they were short on subs but the fact that they weren't going to waste a phone call in the AM on someone who may say no when they knew I would say yes.
     
  20. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    ^Good point!

    Even if you already have a good reputation with the district, I'm sure taking last-minute jobs make you look even more impressive and reliable. This is important to me because I would like to work as a regular teacher for my job. Since I am a full-time sub, even though I get most of my work in advance and through referrals, it's still a good measure to take. There's certainly no reason why I should avoid those jobs, but I suppose it's a matter of preference.
     
  21. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I don't think taking last minute jobs matter or makes you look any more qualified or professional. It's about how well you do when you take a job..whether it's a job you signed up for a week ago or a month ago or one you just got called for an hour ago.
     
  22. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    It may not make you look more qualified, but I disagree it doesn't make you look more professional. I work in a rural district that is not automated. ALL calls are made by a person, usually the secretary or (less often) the teacher. Accepting a last minute assignment absolutely makes you look more reliable to the school. I've only subbed for 2 years (and spent 1 half of last year doing my ST), but I've already gained a significant reputation with several of the schools because they know I WILL come when they call me (if I'm not already subbing somewhere else) and I WILL get there as quick as I can.

    My very first sub assignment was for a teacher who found out about a family emergency right after arriving at school. She had to go home, pack, fly out of state and be with her sister who had just become tragically ill (and ended up passing away).

    I've gotten calls to cover an elementary school teacher whose daughter became suddenly ill and a HS teacher who woke up VERY ill one morning, but came to school until a sub could arrive. That school is a 25 minute drive from my house and I managed to get there less than 45 minutes after getting the call. You can be assured the teacher was EXTREMELY grateful that I didn't decide to take my time because I woke up in the mood to not work that day.

    I also got asked to sub at (literally) the last minute at my ST school one day last year. I had been called to drive a bus that morning and we had a fairly heavy snow (for OUR area anyway). I only picked up 5 kids total on the entire route, so I went to the office to let them know I HAD gone to all the stops, but these were the only kids that came out. As soon as I walked into the office, the secretary gasped and excitedly asked if I could sub that day because one of the 6th grade teachers couldn't make it to school due to the snow. This was about 15 minutes before classes began. I told her I wasn't really dressed for subbing (I had worn jeans and a heavy sweatshirt for driving), but I would be glad to sub if they didn't mind how I looked. They, of course, didn't care at all about how I was dressed. The secretary was just relieved she wouldn't have to make any more frantic calls trying to find a sub.

    So I ended up with a full day of subbing PLUS driving the bus in the morning and afternoon.

    Does that make me look more professional? Yes, I feel that it does. It shows I am extremely reliable and reliability is a big part of being professional. It also shows the schools that I take teaching very seriously and I'm willing to do whatever the school needs in any given situation. That not only goes a long way when they need subs in the future, it will also go a long way with the P when positions come open in the school system.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I know that, in schools in my school board, we highly value those subs who we can count in "in a pinch", if they aren't booked already. Our system is automated, but there are several times during the year when we are short subs--either jobs aren't picked up or a sub is needed last minute due to family emergency, illness or a car accident--twice last year we had teachers involved in serious accidents on their way in to work. In many schools the "scrambling" that goes on when a class is without a sub is, literally, that. Classes are doubled up, Resource teachers are pulled away from supporting their students to cover a class, the library is shut down, Reading Recovery or ESL classes are cancelled. We have a list of 5 subs who our secretary knows will be in a classroom within half an hour of getting a call from us if they aren't already booked--their commitment is valued and rewarded.
     
  24. waffles

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    Last minute jobs aren't always as last minute as they seem. A lot of the time it seemed like the teacher called the school/subbing agency instead of putting it in the computer herself because there were nice lesson plans left for me. One time the last minute job was the day after a snow day. The teacher had plans for the day we all missed so I just had to remember to take them to a different special class.
     
  25. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    My mom's been known to call a "last minute sub" once or twice becase she had to be gone the day backing up to a holiday, when they aren't allowed to take a personal day... but my brother was graduating from boot camp or something equally significant... so she HAD to call in "sick" the morning of even though she knew she'd be gone (and, thus, had plans ready).
     
  26. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    I totally and completely understand the need to have last-minute subs. Stuff happens. I once was in a car wreck on my way the way to work myself (fortunately, it was early and minor enough so that I was only a few minutes late).


    What I don't understand is how often there are no lesson plans. I can't stress enough to value of emergency lesson plans!

    Having a few extra days worth of listed activities or assignments is really appreciated by others when you have an unexpected day off. I know on the times I've had no lesson plans, it could be a pretty stressful day. Other staff members are rushing around trying to help me out with materials for the class. It could all be mitigated by doing a couple of extra lessons in the year. It at least gives other staff members some breathing room for a couple of days to get some "real" lessons prepared if the teacher will be out more than a day or two. I just think it's part of being prepared. :)
     
  27. SciTeacherNY

    SciTeacherNY Companion

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    When I was subbing, I would accept any job, if they called at 6:30 for 7:30, I would do everything in my power to get there on time. The woman who did the calling, usually would tell me not to rush as for the first few minutes of class, they could usually get a hall monitor to watch the students.

    99% of the time there were plans no matter when I got called. I assume they were required to have emergency plans. At my current school, we are not required to have emergency plans, but I have a bunch of scholastic science magazines that I would have the students read and summarize.
     
  28. Miss Snix

    Miss Snix Companion

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    Majority of my subbing work is 'last min' calls. Most the private schools here usually plan ahead if possible and book the night before but the company all the state schools have to go through usually don't call to book until that morning and usually call between 6-7am. Thankfully I am not expected to get to the schools until around 8.30am with most schools starting around 8.45/9am
     
  29. fratermus

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    I try to stay booked well ahead of time to avoid having to make the "take it or not" decision.

    I've had a handful of truly bad (objectively bad) subbing experiences, and all of those accepting last-minute assignments.
     
  30. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Cerek,
    My district uses an automated system where I choose my jobs online ahead of time. If I get a last minute (human) call, it is totally understood that I am already booked or have made other plans for the day because human phone calls are rare and sporadic here.

    I couldn't be more honored and humbled with the accolades, references, referrals and repeat job requests I get from various teachers. So turning down lots of last minute jobs, usually because I am already booked, hasn't hurt me or anyone's school.

    It just depends on the system, but I'm glad I read this thread because my top choice district doesn't use an online system so it seems I would only normally get human last minute calls, so I would have to make adjustments to their system and be prepared.
     
  31. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Not all human calls are last minute. Most of my assignments come anywhere from 1-7 days in advance (sometimes longer). It is also understood if I am already booked or have something else planned when I do get a last-minute call, but if I make a habit of NOT accepting last-minute calls, then I will eventually get less advance calls as well. There are PLENTY of out of work right now, including many experienced teachers, that will be happy to come in when called. And, unfortunately, our district seems to keep adding even more names to the sub roster every 6 months.

    Last Spring, I worked three part-time jobs; subbing, 21st Century tutor and desk clerk at a local hotel on weekends. I also did substitute bus driving, so there were some times I was called and could not accept the assignment, but if I wasn't working somewhere else, then I took the assignment no matter when I was called.
     
  32. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    If you're already booked, then there's nothing you can do. I had to turn some teachers down the entire year. I subbed for them one or two times and they kept calling me back all year, even when I had my own classroom.
    I had to turn them because either I had my own class or I was already booked. I don't see how that made me less reliable. My life was busy but I was just as dedicated as anyone else.

    So I think if you do an outstanding job with teachers you will become their first choice and they will keep trying to get you back in their class, that's just been my experience.

    As for with the school secretary, that's different and I'm sure your name would move to bottom of the list. Again, you just can't help it if you're already booked.
     
  33. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I've already agreed that you can't accept a last-minute assignment if you've already booked another and never implied that made a sub appear less reliable.

    What I did state is that not accepting an assignment because you hadn't been called ahead of time and you decided when you woke up you just didn't feel like subbing today...THAT will make you look unreliable if you do it often enough.

    There are a LOT of subs in my district and ALL calls are made by either the secretary or teacher. If one sub tells them "No" 2 or 3 times, there's a good chance the secretary won't call them back anymore.

    If I'm already working that day, I make it a point to thank them for calling me and explain I am already booked for that day, but will be HAPPY to work for any other time. I've often worked TWO assignments in the same day (half days each)...sometimes at two different schools.
     
  34. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    I will accept any last minute assignments if it is at a school I enjoy working in. Or a teacher I have subbed for previously. I will have no second thoughts.
     
  35. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    MsMullenJr, I am not saying I care whether or not they are prepared until I get there. :rolleyes: Obviously I am not a selfish person because if I was selfish, I would not be going in to help out at a school on a last minute request since I am also in school full-time student teaching at the same time and every extra minute for homework is valuable. I was not saying I don't care whether or not schools are scrambling until I get there, but I do see where you can read what I said and take it that way. When I said I would accept a last minute job if I was given one when I was not already booked and I believe I shouldn't be rushing to get there since they are the ones who called last minute and can rush, I simply meant I won't be getting there without quickly putting myself together. Yes, I will hurry but I won't show up unpresentable and/or unprepared, and/or drive wrecklessly because since they called me last minute (for whatever emergency reason), I know they will understand if I take my time (wisely and carefully quickly, of course). :) In a previous post, I had also said that even though I'm not a morning person I will be up at least by 5:00 so that I have enough time to get myself ready just in case I am called to sub. If I'm not called then I will use my time for homework so I can always be available to sub as much as possible, but if I am called I will be ready so I can say, "yes I will be there as soon as I can," get my bag together, and drive the speed limit there. :thumb:

    I definitely believe that the more a person is flexible, the more they are wanted by other people. People appreciate flexibility and reliability. Reliability (in my opinion) is a trait professional people have, and so is flexibility because it shows 1) you are doing whatever it takes for other people on a moment's notice, and 2) you are so prepared and organized you can handle it all.

    I'll definitely be taking LMA as I mentioned earlier. I don't think anything wrong can come out of them other than me not using that time for me to get schoolwork done, (and I won't say yes to sub if I know I will need the time for homework) and me having to keep up on my flexibility.

    I know schools have to highly appreciate subs who come in as quickly as they can. So many things happen unexpectedly, because we can't fit all of our lives in a planner! I plan on "rolling with the punches this year." If I accept a LMA and there isn't a lesson plan, it will be me using my creativity to help a class out and that classroom teacher and school in no doubt will appreciate that. :)
     
  36. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I didn't get home until a tad after 4:30 today to have 2 phone messages asking me to sub tomorrow. I've subbed at the school & for this SLP for a couple of yrs, so I still called back & still got the assignment!
     
  37. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2010

    That's wonderful Ms. I. I hope you have a enjoyable time at the school.
     
  38. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Ms. I, that's fantastic! I am excited for you! :D You will have to let us know in the "How Was Your Day?" thread how it goes!!!
     
  39. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 13, 2010

    Thanks myownwoman & mizzkaren! :) This will be my 1st day subbing this school yr & I wasn't expecting it. I know how the whole procedure works at tomorrow's job, so I have no worries.

    Whenever your 1st days are, I hope it's great!
     
  40. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 13, 2010

    A couple of times last year, I accepted back-to-back last minute assignments.

    The first came when I was called to sub half a day for a HS teacher. The secretary called me around 7:30am and told me to just get there as soon as I could. It took about 45 minutes mainly because it was a 25 minute drive to the school.

    Since I was only subbing half a day, I decided not to pack a lunch.

    When I arrived at the office to sign in, another teacher (that I knew from church) said "Oh, Cerek, Hi....would you be able to sub for me in my afternoon classes? I have an appointment after lunch." I said "Sure. No problem."

    I thought I might get something to eat from the cafeteria between the two assignments, but it didn't work out that way. Then I went to my 21st Century After School job straight from the HS (I did get a snack there).

    Did it make for a long day? Yes, it did.
    Would I do it again? Of course. Actually, I did do it again just a couple of weeks later, but I made sure to pack a lunch this time.

    So what benefit did I get from this (other than two half days of subbing instead of one)? The principal at the HS is the one who called me yesterday offering me a teaching job this year because he saw first hand how reliable I am.
     
  41. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    Aug 13, 2010

    Wow! Long thread! This school year I will accept and not accept last minute calls.
    First off I am a stay at home mom and part time sub at the moment.
    My husband has changed his work schedule for me so I always have Wed. open to sub. On this day I can take last minute calls.
    My mother also schedules a day a week for me but she lives 40 mins away. So on that day (which varies depending on HER work schedule) I can only take pre- planned or evening before calls. No last min calls in the morning.
    Last year I chose only to work for a few schools who understood my needs. They were schools that very very familiar with me already from when I was teaching and a friend who is a VP. I still didn't get to work as much as I would have liked but that's the price I pay for limited availability on my part.

    Here in my county all calls are made by a person. I had many occasions when I was teaching to need a last min call to a sub. I think Mondays are the worst because things happen over the weekend or you feel sick on Friday and hope to be better by Monday etc.
     

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