Do You Accept Last-Minute Assignments?

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

  1. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2010

    Cerek, that's wonderful!!! Way to go!:)

    I am signed/signing up with 5 districts (8 schools or less) and I know for sure 2 of them use a person, 1 uses Subfinder, and I'm not sure about the other 2. I know the last 2 have a "substitute coordinator," so I bet they call...and this totally shocks me because they are both HUGE districts...packed with kids compared to the other districts! :confused:

    I'd better hurry up and get a call because I'm getting severely impatient!! Haha...I know it might not be until mid-September. I've been trying to get an account with Subfinder set up for the past few days for the last school district, and for some reason it is taking forever...hopefully they can help me resolve this TODAY! :)

    Does anyone else have Subfinder for their automated program? They said it could be so specific to meet our needs. They said before they had college kids who just came back on breaks and used it, and they also had one lady who ONLY wanted to sub for her daughter's classroom (she was a ret. teacher) & for certain days and it worked great for them.
     
  2. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Aug 13, 2010


    Great story! And congratulations!


    I am appreciate, though, that when I go to schools and I have to make last-minute adjustments (they have to switch subs or classes around because of many absences), they do always make sure the subs have a lunch break. Even if it's short, we'll get one. :lol:
     
  3. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Aug 13, 2010


    I don't use subfinder, but make sure you call the districts and find out exactly what system they use. You don't want to miss out on any jobs early on because you missed some type of registration opportunity!


    My advice for curious last-minuters is to at least always make sure you're free on Monday and Friday mornings! I usually had jobs for those days in advance, at least the night before, but I know they almost always needed a ton of subs on those days. I'm sure that's true for most districts.
     
  4. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 13, 2010

    Mizzkaren, my district has an automated subcalling system & an online system...& if they need to reach a sub right away, they'll still call in person if they have to, like how I was called by 2 people yesterday for the same assignment for today.
     
  5. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Aug 13, 2010

    MizzKaren, my district uses subfinder and it has a few glitches. For the most part it is fine and reliable and easy to navigate. The only problem is (back to last minute assignments lol) when you request a particular sub for the next day, if it is later than 5pm, the system will call them only once. If they don't answer, or get through, it automatically calls the next random sub. So, teachers often think they are getting one sub, and end up getting a different one. It also sucks when a sub and teacher both discuss the job, but subfinder screwed it up so the requested sub and the called sub both show up. :eek:

    It has its ups and downs.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 14, 2010

    Oh, I had a lunch break, I just didn't take anything WITH me to eat. The school is located about 16 miles from town, so it would have taken the entire break for me to drive to the nearest fast food place. We're a rural district, but this particular school is located WAY out in the country (as we say round here).

    Fortunately, there is a convenience store right next to the school, so I got a soda and pack of crackers there to hold me over.

    Next time, I took the extra 3 minutes to make a sandwich before leaving the house. ;)
     
  7. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2010

    MsMullenJr- I am thinking of setting it to "do not disturb" when I get it set up. I will be at my part time job until 6ish, so when it starts calling 5-10pm that would interfere with my schedule. I'd also love to know as many days in advance as possible! Have you ever just did the online version of it? I wonder if the requests would still mess up if it was that way...? Hmm...

    substitutesfw-I'm glad I'm only available on MWF for this reason! YEAH! More jobs! Hahaha

    Cerek-That sounds like a dilemma I would be caught in. I have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and I can't go more than 2 1/2 hours at the max without eating good carbs + protein. I always try to have snacks packed into my purse, but I hate when I forget!
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 14, 2010

    Speaking as a mom:

    Get some fairly weather resistant snacks, and keep them in your glove compartment for emergencies... maybe a small jar of peanut butter? Or a container of nuts? Maybe some of the small cheese and cracker packets? Some raisins??
     
  9. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    Aug 14, 2010

    Sandwiches, and maybe some fruit or nuts, are the best. :thumb:

    I'm not keen on cafeteria food.

    What I have learned is to eat breakfast. I got out of the habit of eating breakfast during college, but I've found it absolutely necessary when I'm subbing. If not, I'll be like this until lunch: :yawn:
     
  10. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2010

    Aliceacc, Yes, that is exactly what I do! I usually have a box of cereal bars in there. Thanks for reminding me to stock up there again...!

    substitutesfw, I ALWAYS eat breakfast. I CANNOT function without breakfast. I have passed out 4 times first thing in the morning. 3 of those 4 times I had done absolutely nothing but get up, go to the bathroom, and walk to the kitchen for breakfast! You would think I had been starving myself all night before and had been running a marathon instead of sleeping! The other of those times I had gotten up and taken a shower and the heat from it had really worn me out and on top of my low blood sugar so I passed out. The best breakfast I have found for myself is a cup of milk (protein) & a good-sized bowl of honey bunches of oats cereal (not total sugar).

    When I was pregnant it was the worst. ;( When I had the six-hour glucose test done when I was in the 6th grade (it's not fun...you have to fast and they take your blood 7 times over 6 hours) they had told me not to go past 2 1/2 hours without eating a good carb. & protein combo., but when I was pregnant I was good to go an hour and a half!

    The best weather-resistant and bag-resistant snacks I have found are cereal/granola bars. There are so many delicious ones out there that don't have a ton of calories but they do have a very good source of protein to keep blood sugar up! :thumb:
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Aug 15, 2010

    Speaking of breakfast, I have a bad habit of not eating breakfast & I've had this habit for yrs. If it's a non-work day, I might eat breakfast.
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Aug 15, 2010

    The day I was called to do the morning sub, I consider making a sandwich before leaving, but decided "Nah, I'll be coming back through town around lunch time, so I'll just get something on the way home." :rolleyes:

    When the 2nd teacher asked if I could cover the afternoon shift, I thought "Sure. I can just grab something in the cafeteria." (I prolly could have, but chose not to).

    So missing a decent lunch was totally my own fault and it's something I've made sure to avoid since then.

    *Breakfast bars are a great idea*
     
  13. mizzkaren

    mizzkaren Rookie

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    Haha, thanks Cerek! There are so many delicious ones out there! I love the Chex Mix ones...yummmm...
     
  14. sunshine*inc

    sunshine*inc Cohort

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    Aug 16, 2010

    I usually take last minute calls. I spend most of my time subbing at the same school; they'll call me directly and ask me to come in. I did nearly all of my observations for my credential program at this school and managed to get jobs in the school parking lot on days I had initially planned to observe. I am very flexible with my school and vice versa. Most of next year I'll be student teaching so I won't be available to sub as much.
     
  15. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Aug 23, 2010

    I look at being a substitute teacher as my job. So, I get up every morning and get ready to go to work - even if I don't have a job lined up for the day.
    If something does pop up on Aesop, I'm ready to go!
    If nothing is available for the day, I'm ready to run errands, work around the house, or whatever needs to be done.
     
  16. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Aug 23, 2010

    I don't mind last minute jobs but I hate not knowing what grade I am going into. On Aesop, often it will say "Teacher Vacancy" instead of a name or subject/grade. I like to bring some grade-appropriate activities and that is hard to do if I don't know if I am teaching K or 5!
     
  17. waffles

    waffles Companion

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    Aug 23, 2010

    From what I've seen, those are usually long term subs or someone else that isn't really in the school's system. Why they don't make a note all the time and tell you what it is is beyond me.
     
  18. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    I always wondered about that! Good to know!
     
  19. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    Aug 24, 2010

    That is a big part in subbing. I mean, that kind of flexibility. This past academic year, I got most calls in the morning. As the district try to save money, they just wait until they absolutely must have a sub, I guess.
     
  20. myownwoman

    myownwoman Habitué

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    It helps if you live close to a good number of the schools. This way you don't have to be in such a hurry when you accept last minute assignments.
     
  21. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    I'm surprised by some of the vitriol on here! When I subbed I never took last minute calls. Infact, I set it up on the automated system so that I would only book calls in the evening on-line and I was never called at all. Teachers could request me using the system.

    Why did I never take last minute calls? I was new to the area and didn't know the schools. I am not a morning person and did not want to make a bad impression, but also, I am more comfortable and happy when I have advanced knowledge.

    I think there is too much pressure in education for teachers to sacrifice far too much for their jobs. I never felt that I was doing a disservice by choosing not to cover for someone at the last minute. I almost always worked 4 days a week this way and was hired permanently at a school where I subbed.
     
  22. Jenstc2003

    Jenstc2003 Companion

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    I spent two years subbing while I was getting my MA- and I NEVER refused a position that I was comfortable taking just because it was a last minute. I made a point of calling the school and letting them know if it was a very last minute assignment (less than an hour before the assignment started) that I would be in as soon as I could get there. I never would rush and I rarely ever got ready for work without knowing I had work. I had certain days that I would get up at 5A or earlier just to catch jobs for that day, but I usually waited to get ready to go until after I had work arranged. When I knew I needed to work, I would even call in to see if something came up in the middle of the night. Finally in my last semester working there, I started getting most of my work lined up ahead of time, which was MUCH easier.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We sub internally, so I'm an outsider looking in on this discussion.

    But wouldn't having subs who won't take last minute jobs ADD to the pressure of a teacher who wakes up to a sick child?
     
  24. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    I think substitutes are also teachers and deserve to make the decision that's best for them.

    I never felt guilty for not taking last minute jobs. I'm sure there were other people hired who did take these calls, but I wasn't willing to do that and I think that's OK.
     
  25. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Aug 28, 2010

    On days I don't have a job booked, I still get up at 6am in case the system calls with an offer ... but I do prefer having jobs booked in advance.
     
  26. Pookie

    Pookie Rookie

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    Subbing is my job, I do accept last minute calls, I get ready as quickly as I can and I notify the school that i will be late because i was just called. If someone doesn't want to get ready quickly then they should not take the assignment. I always figure out the night before what i will take for lunch if I do work, that way I can quickly grab it. I think it is poor work ethic for someone to take a job and then take their time getting there. Its not the school's fault, emergencies come up. I always get compliments from the schools when I take a last minute assignment. They usually tell me that they are impressed I was able to get there so quickly and they request me in the future because of it. I don't really see it as doing them a favor, in this economy I need as much money as I can make and feel fortunate to be working at all. I know a lot of subs that aren't.
     
  27. Subber

    Subber Companion

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    I think that the rule is that you have an hour from the call to get to the site.
     
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I think that is a good guideline--quicker if you can, but not longer.
     
  29. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    The schools usually understand it might take you a little longer to get ready and make it there if they call at the last minute, but I think it's reasonable for them to expect you to start getting ready as soon as you hang up the phone. If they call in an emergency and you take 2-3 hours to get there, you've either made a sick teacher stay at school that much longer or forced the school to cover the classes with other staff until you decided to arrive.

    Even though I have a teaching position now, I still accept last minute assignments. I got a call at 5:30am the first week of Sept. from another school needing a bus driver RIGHT NOW! Taking my time to get ready and get there was not an option, because that meant several kids would either be very late or miss school altogether. So I took a quick shower, brushed my teeth and hair (skipped shaving), threw on some clothes and headed to the school. I was at the bus garage within 30 minutes of getting the call.

    Just last week, my own school asked me to cover for a driver shortly before dismissal. I went to his bus, only to discover another driver had not arrived either. The first driver was still at school, but was scheduled to drive one of our sport teams to practice. They called him back to his bus and switched me to the other bus. The second driver showed up literally JUST before I pulled out of the parking lot. He had been held up at his other job. I got off the bus and came back in the school.

    My AP was extremely appreciative that I was willing to do whatever needed to be done to help the school and the kids.
     
  30. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I took a last-minute assignment from my own school last week, to help cover for my teammate. She was out last week because her husband was in the hospital. On the day she was supposed to return to work, she wasn't able to make it and the AP called to see if I could sub for her until lunch.

    I got the call at 6:00am while still asleep in bed and was at the school by 7:00am. Considering the fact it is a 15 minute drive to the school and I took time to hit the McD drive-through on the way, I was pretty impressed with my time. :)
     
  31. midwesttchr

    midwesttchr Rookie

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    This year, I've been fortunate to be called ahead of time for most of my assignments - whether that's 2 weeks in advance or the night before. Every so often, I am called the morning of by 6AM. This is still just fine with me, as the schools I sub at are, at max, 10 minutes away. That's the time I get up at when I already have an assignment.

    A couple times, I've been called in either right before school starts or after. The latest was 8:40. I had eaten breakfast but not showered. Nonetheless, by 9:15, I was in the building - showered, dress, brushed.

    My theory on last-minute calls, for me, is simple. Do it. It's the best time to show the school how flexible and accountable you are. Although it's inconvenient to feel that I have a day off and suddenly don't, and to feel rushed, it pays off in the long run. I dislike feeling unprepared, since these very late calls usually mean I get in smack dab in the middle of a lesson with no time to prepare. Nonetheless, eventually I tend to find my stride, and even if I don't, it's only for a day. Choosing school needs over my own always pays off though, both in reputation and well, literally. :)
     
  32. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Oct 25, 2010

    Pays off meaning you think it makes them more likely to call you? Or pays off in terms of if you want a regular teaching job? I would agree with the former (though, those of us in the automated sub calling system thing... maybe it's different)... but in terms of hiring? I don't know if it matters. It's a hassle for sure.

    I got called this morning for an 8:00am-1:00pm assignment at a continuation HS (i.e. "bad" kids) at 7:30am. I turned it down. HS is not my feeling first of all. I find HS to be depressing, the attitude kids seem to drone around every period with, etc. This attitude is multiplied in the continuation school. Everyone is apathetic.
     
  33. substitutesftw

    substitutesftw Companion

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    The funny thing is, I started this thread with every intention of accepting last-minute assignments. But as of yet, I haven't needed to do so. I've accepted all of my assignments no later than the night before the job, and I haven't had to get up without expecting a job (except today, but I elected not to work today in order to get some business done). I've gotten tons of assignments from my favorite schools just by working, running into other teachers and getting jobs for them when they ask, or getting repeat assignments.


    I'm pretty sure when it gets closer to winter break, and just after the new semester starts, jobs will start running low and I'll have to get some last-minutes ones.
     
  34. midwesttchr

    midwesttchr Rookie

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    Currently, I just mean it makes them more likely to call you, as it adds to the rep of a reliable sub. I'm already called almost every day (38 out of 42 days of school so far), so accepting last-minute assignments in my situation only helps the consistency. My school district has a sub caller, so it feels very personal when accepting and rejecting assignments.

    In terms of getting a teaching job? I'm sure it's only a small factor, if any, BUT it certainly can't hurt.

    I sub only K-5, as I have similar reasons as you - plus some of my own - for avoiding anything older. :whistle:
     
  35. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 25, 2010

    And yet - it happens. I was called directly by the principal of my school and Directer of Personnel for my current teaching job because of the job I had done for both of them as a substitute - including accepting many last-minute assignments. You can check out the full story here.

    Will it always lead to a permanent job? No, not always. First, you must actually be licensed and seeking a full-time job and establish a good relationship with the school(s) of your choice. If you do that, then there is a chance your name will be moved to the top of the list when an opening becomes available. Maybe it won't, but a slim chance is still better than no chance.
     

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