Rant against Source for Teachers ( Substitute company) and Qs

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by anna9868, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Jun 24, 2018

    Long time ago, I was working for a local CCIU unit. I went to many of their special education preschool classes, special education classes in schools, LG - life was great. Then, Someone Up There God Knows Who (I hate school politics and don't care who makes those decisions) decided that they need to save money, so they outsourced and hired this company called Source for Teachers. (I hear it's a pretty big company with at least other locations in NJ)

    I cannot begin to tell you what things this company got away with. I was lucky, I was spared SUPER terrible things up until now. However, listening to other employees of this copany I've heard stories of how they would appy there, and wait for months and months. The company would lose their documents, lie to them and do other kinds of either illegal things (imho) or simply so careless that they left a whole lot of frustrated employees unable to make money, sometimes for months and months.

    ok. Here is what happened to me. Funny, because since Nov 1 of last year , since I quit schools, I've been so sick many days, that I hardly worked 3-4 times. Besides, so many schools where I subbed hold so many painful memories that I specifically crossed them off my list, leaving just a few schools where I didn't have any negative experiences. (painful experiences for me is seeing how special needs kids are being treated either in a neglected way or using verbal or emotional abuse)

    So, this last time, May 8 I took an assignment in school, special education class. I come in, the secretary sends me to that class (I don't think I worked for this particular teacher before). When I get to the class the teacher and aides are surprised to see me. They say no one is missing and my services are not needed. OK, that happens once in a while. I come back to the office and tell them they need to send me somewhere else in school. The office tells me they have no place for me in school that day.

    Now, that IS surprising. In schools with multiple special education classrooms usually there is usually somewhere where a sub could be used.

    ok, from many years of subbing I learned not to argue. I leave the school. I sense that I need to call my company Source For Teachers, however, I'm so fed up with them, I don't want to hear their voices
    Besides, I THINK, there is a rule that if you pick up an assignment and not needed in that school (meaning, it's not your fault), you still get paid. However, don't quote me on this, though, I've worked for multiple Substitute companies before, so, maybe this wasn't their rule. Anyway, the next day I see that they canceled me out for that day anyway, so that means no one paid me.
    Wouldn't you feel like everything is OK at this point?

    well, a few days ago I get a letter from the Substitute company, stating that this school who didn't find me an alternative assignment, said they are not satisfied with me and don't wan to see me in their school any more.

    This did sound frustrating, however, I'm used even to that as well. Substitute teachers and aides in that company are usually treated like a piece of s***, so I'm just surprised how come I hear in so many schools that sooooo many subs jobs are left unfilled. Very easy, just put 2+2 together. If you hire a company that treats their employee like that, what else do you expect!!

    Anyway, the next day or so, I get 2 identical emails from that company, that sound pretty urgent, saying:
    =================
    According to my system, we sent you a (ESS) Employee Arbitration Agreement form on 6/7/2018 which still requires your attention. In order to expedite our processes, we're requesting that you complete the form online. Please click the link below to complete the form.
    =================
    I just signed it. I don't care about Source for Teachers any more. I should just quit, I'm so fed up with them.

    However, I would like to know, what does it all means, simply to know the whole truth. It sounded like a document that you sign saying you have no complaints against this company

    Question
    What do you think it really means?
    That they know they do illegal kinds of things, so they want to protect themselves against substitute teacher's complaints?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2018
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jun 24, 2018

    I have no advice for you, but it does sound like a mess.

    I work in a small district with one person who calls subs personally. My husband’s school uses an online system. Not sure which one. He has missed one day in the 2.5 years we have been together.

    Good luck.
     
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  4. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Jun 24, 2018

    thanks. And as I said, I have worked for 2 other substitute companies and they were pretty good companies, I have no complaints or bad stories ti share about them. (ok, I've been a substitute for many years. There probably was some instances of bad treatment, but nothing that really stayed in my mind for years, unlike Source for Teachers)

    You may ask, why did I continue working for that terrible Source for Teachers&
    2 things:
    1) I really like working with preschool special education classes, and they are the only company in our area that handle those.

    2) This is almost like a Monopoly company. Over the years they have eventually taken over soooo many districts around here that if you don't work for them, so many nice districts are out of your reach then.

    And that's also what puzzles me.
    If so many employees have such frustrating stories to share about this company, why do district after district keep switching to them? Don't they first find out who they are hiring?

    I know when I was looking for a regular aide position, I failed so many interviews, even though I was overqualified for most of them. So, the schools do seem have a rigorous system of finding the right aides for their children.

    Wouldn't you think they would do the same to hire a company to handle Substitute teachers and aides?
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 24, 2018

    I’ve never heard of them. The majority of districts near me (northern NJ) use Aesop.

    I recall some of your posts from years ago where you had other difficulties and conflicts while subbing. Do you think these troubles are due to something inherent in the districts near you or something else?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  6. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Hmm, as far as I know, Aesop is not a company, it's an online system. All companies I worked for use Aesop. (unless it's a coincidence and some company decided to call itself Aesop!)
    =============

    I'll tell you the truth. I think my main conflicts and difficulties of working in schools was that I had the wrong goals and believes. Such as:

    1) unlike most substitute teachers, I subbed because I really like working with children. Not because I wanted eventually to get a regular position in school

    2) for me #1 in any type of work with children is that I'm always on the side of children. I can always understand why children behave or think in a certain way, And I almost never understand why adults behave in a way that's often not understanding , not sympathetic or even cruel towards children . Now, I almost never say that outloud, and I try to be courteous to adults. However, many adults in the school system, I think, felt that I wasn't on "their" side.
    I guess, it is more about substitute aides position that substitute teaching.
     
  7. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jun 24, 2018

    I can’t address your subbing issues, but I would caution anyone against signing a form when they don’t know what it is about.

    As to your special ed comments - I am lucky to teach in a district with outstanding services in these areas, and we have students open enrolled to our district because of the reputation.
     
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  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 24, 2018

    Aesop (now Frontline Education) is a company that offers a variety of solutions to schools. One of those is substitute management. If all the ‘companies’ you work for use Aesop, wouldn’t it be easier to simply get on school sub lists and use just Aesop which would cut out the ‘middleman’?


    Subs work for a multitude of reasons. Some reasons are to get a foot in the door, for extra income, avocation, resume building, community mindedness, etc.
    Certainly subbing because one likes working with kids is admirable. Regardless, it seems you either have incredible bad luck or there’s another reason why subbing doesn’t work out for you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jun 24, 2018

    I'm no fan of Source 4 Teachers, and I don't even sub. They make money by paying subs, including long term subs, a fraction of what the sub would have made dealing directly with the school/district. When they take over, salaries drop, with the missing money becoming their revenue stream. I became well versed in how they operate when my son was looking for a job right out of school. I can't comment on OP's specific rant, but don't get me started on what they have done to the income of subs and new teachers forced to work for them. They have gobbled up more school districts every year "saving" the districts from having to find their own subs, pay their own rate. I will leave it at that, grateful that my son no longer needs to deal with them. I do, however, feel for those who have no recourse.
     
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  10. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2018

    I'm not a huge fan of outsourcing for many of the reasons already stated. That said, the arbitration agreement is proof of the valuable layer of legal protection that company provides to the school district. It is not an admission of guilt. Just a horrible symptom of the litigation tendancies of today. (And, no, I don't sign blank checks even if I'm extremely unlikely to ever bother suing an entity.)
     
  11. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    as Vickilin pointed out correctly, there is no option of "no middleman" any more. I don't believe I know of ANY school, public or charter in my area within 40 min distance of my house who still hires their own substitute. They've all gone the path of "Let's save money by outsourcing our subs"

    What puzzles me, though, is how come I heard from regular teachers and aides in so many schools I've subbed that it is so hard to find subs. Of course, people drop out of subbing! Who wants to work under such conditions where you are treated almost like an indentured servant.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 24, 2018

    It’s hard to find GOOD subs. Especially if they arent being paid well.
    I dont know of any district near me (NE Bergen county, NJ) who ‘outsources’ subs. Everyone uses Aesop or calls from their own sub list.
     
  13. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Jun 24, 2018

    I am in NJ as well. More central. My district hires its own subs, and uses Aesop, but the district of the town I live in outsources. I actuallly see they have a Source4Teachers sign/ad posted outside both the high school and one of the elementary schools.

    The district I work for tried to outsource for both aides and subs, but there was big public outcry at the board meeting where they tried to slip it in, and it didn't get approved.
     
  14. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Jun 24, 2018

    My district is going the opposite direction this year -- they had outsourced sub hiring and decided this past year that they wouldn't be renewing their contract with the outside company. I'm a little nervous; we had a hard enough time finding subs with the outside company (which seemed to be at least better than the other company in the area that hires sub teachers). I'm hoping that moving it back into the district will help, but I have a feeling we're going to have an even bigger shortage of subs this year.

    I've subbed for a local district on two separate occasions; the first year I was a district employee, the second year I was an employee of an outside company. I got so many more jobs the first year. When they outsourced, they also switched to Aesop instead of SmartFind Express. Aesop is horrible from a sub perspective -- jobs seem to just not show up, teachers can't request specific subs (you can assign subs, but it seems that no one does because you have to check with the sub on your own first), and the jobs that do show up sometimes disappear in the middle of trying to respond. I never had that problem with SmartFind. Honestly, I don't know if the lack of jobs was because of the company or because of Aesop, but outsourcing sub hiring seems to just be a pain no matter what.
     
  15. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Jun 25, 2018

    that's good to know. Yea, I've had a few teachers request me though Aesop, I remember one teacher had a few preferred subs including me, and I tried to a few times to pick up her assignment with no luck. It looked like you have to be guarding your email (or Aesop account) every minute in order not to miss that request. Ridiculous!
     
  16. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    well, I definitely feel better now knowing that Source4Teachers turns out to do such lousy job not just in our districts. My hope is that, eventually, districts will figure out that saving money on subs is not such a good idea
     
  17. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Going back to my original story of how I was accused of failing an assignment even though it was the school's fault, I told the story to my husband and he wondered why don't I email and tell them my side of the story.

    He is right, except that this is not the first time I'm accused without my fault and thrown out of school. (not by this company) And I noticed, telling your side makes little difference. I guess I lost faith in the Truth. The subs seem to be sort of slaves and no one wants to hear their side of the story. Again, this is all through outsourced companies. I'm sure if I worked for a district I would've had a different experience
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2018

    From your past history, it seems you’ve had trouble at many schools.
     
  19. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    I posted a message about Source4Teachers on the substitute forum on this board and then noticed this thread. First some background and then I will attempt to address some common misconceptions. I had been subbing for a number of years when Source4Teachers moved into a neighboring county school district and then my local school district outsourced to them. I counted on their website that between my county and my neighboring counties, they have 16 school districts. There are at least three other outsourcing companies in the region (Western PA).

    Source4Teachers (S4T) also known as ESS | Source4Teachers uses the software application formerly known as Aesop, and now referred to as Absence Management. I sub for 10 districts, all use Aesop, but only three are outsourced to Source4Teachers.

    The Aesop application has a lot of capabilities but most districts don't use it intelligently or taken advantage of all of its functions. One of my districts won't allow a principal to put me into a job they want me to take. It has to first be make available to everyone. In other districts, the secretary will tell me she has a job available if I'm interested.

    Regarding Source4Teachers, I have had one call from them in the 3-4 years I have worked for their organization. The only difference between a S4T school and the others is I have to swipe in and out their laptop application, and they don't make a pension contribution for me. There is a shortage of subs in this area and I have never heard of them blacklisting a sub. I know of one sub who works for them who has been banned by 3-4 other districts.

    A negative, and this is a big one they don't publicize, is they will charge their client school district a finder's fee if one of their subs is hired by the school district. I don't know how much it is but I would guess between 10 and 20% of the first year salary. So just suppose the starting salary is $45K, the finder's fee could be $9K. It could make you wonder why you weren't a finalist or didn't get the job when you were a finalist.

    So why do school districts use firms like S4T? The big reason a few years ago was Obamacare. When Obamacare passed, many school districts were concerned they would have to include subs on their health insurance. Many reacted by outsourcing, reducing the hours subs worked, or limiting the number of days a week that a sub could work in that district. It also meant they did not have to track clearances and other documentation for subs.
     
  20. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    wow, this is interesting, especially about Obamacare! thanks for so much information

    by the way, in our area S4T also installed computers in many school to swipe in and out. However, they almost never work, and the secretary would just wave you in saying, "don't worry about that." As a sub it did make me feel nervous many times whether I would get paid or not (especially, after the stories of other subs employeed by S4T)
     
  21. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    It is always best if you can swipe or type your ID and password. If not a time sheet must be filled out and faxed to the S4T office, or you will probably not get paid since they S4T has no record you showed up.
     
  22. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    that's the logical way of thinking, I know. Yet, when you are in the office, and the computers where you swipe/type your ID doesn't work and the secretary tells you there is no timesheet, just go, it makes you quite nervous. I remember calling more than once after the work day was over to just make sure people at S4T knew I worked and get paid.

    that's a shame, now that I think about it! not only you get paid so little, but you also have to worry all the time if you even get paid at all. I'm so glad I don't work in schools any more!
     
  23. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Districts in my area cooperate to share subs so that subs can work 5 days per week, but not be guaranteed the right to receive benefits. It works here, and we have few sub issues.
     
  24. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    Limiting sub days was due to a misunderstanding of the Affordable Care Act by some districts. Some districts made no changes. One of the districts I work for said subs could be on the district's health insurance plan but would have to pay 100% of the premium. There was absolutely no reason for districts to hurt themselves by not allowing subs to work five days a week.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  25. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    In looking at some of the contracts that Pittsburgh area school districts have signed with Source4Teachers and Kelly Educational Staffing, the districts are paying the outsourcing company between $122.40 and $131/day for each sub who typically makes $90. The only savings to the district (other than administrative) is the district contribution to the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) Fund, which would be approximate $6.75/day.

    Around three years ago, districts were moving to these outsourcing companies because of the Affordable Care Act. Today they are signing contracts because the outsourcing firms are promising a higher fill rate because they say they have a larger pool of subs and actively recruit. What has actually occurred is some of the subs have stopped working for districts who no longer make the retirement contribution. Some of the people I have talked to are former teachers who stopped teaching to raise a family, etc. They said it wasn't worth it if they are not getting the contribution to the pension fund.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 26, 2018

    Were subs getting benefits before the AHA?

    Our ‘full time’ paras used to sign away benefits as a condition of employment. They were mostly ok with that- most of them just wanted the hours and had other health care through spouses. Now under AHA, their hours are limited.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  27. Nietzsche

    Nietzsche Companion

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    No. Some districts do pay benefits for long term subs, however, but many do not. Here is an article that explains the way districts were thinking a few years ago. http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/y...alleymore/6608598-74/district-districts-hours
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Didn’t you say in your OP:
    “well, a few days ago I get a letter from the Substitute company, stating that this school who didn't find me an alternative assignment, said they are not satisfied with me and don't wan to see me in their school any more.”

    So when did you stop working in schools?
     
  29. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    I was a regular aide in the last 2 years. Then I quit in November. After 9 years of continuous working in school it was hard to just cold turkey tear myself away from schools. So, I was hoping to continue substituting once in a while. However, after 3-4 times of subbing over a period of 6 months, and now after getting that nasty accusation and letters, now I DONE for good.
     
  30. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    well, money is tight and I'm at the point of my life where I just want to work occasionally at subbing, until I figure out that maybe I don't need subbing any more. So, I did go back and work one day this week.

    Here is how my assignment for Source4Teachers looked
    7:45 - 3:30 IU Transitional Work Program, TCHS Brandywine

    I have never worked for this particular program, but was curious to see what it is. The location was unclear, so the first thing I did on the morning of my job was to go to the CCIU building where supposedly they know about all the different programs that take place. CCIU secretary had NO idea what "Transitional Work Program" is, where it is, he simply sent me to a rep from Source4Teacher.

    The woman who worked there didn't know about the program either. So she sent me to what it said on the assignment, the Technical High school

    At Technical High school I scanned my id, and only then found out that this was the wrong place. Again. Where the program took place they didn't know. They called, found out and wrote and address for me.

    It was in a rather big shopping mall which I knew but not intimately. It took me a good 20 minutes of driving in circles to figure out that the address was not really helpful in finding the place. HOwever, I did get there. Just to find out that the real program started at 9 am instead of 7:45
    =========================
    Lessons I learned from that position:
    - try not to take jobs at unknown places. might take too long to figure out where they are

    - Source4teachers doesn't value personal time of their subs at all. They couldn't care less that I spent 1.5 hours that I won't get paid just to look where their position is. They don't care about the mistakes they make on their job descriptions even if everything there is wrong. time, place.

    - Back to the Rant that I wrote in the beginning of the thread, I was going to argue with them about wrongly accusing me and closing the school for me even though it wasn't my fault..... I figured it didn't pay.... who cares that I was wrongly abused! they don't care. The school doesn't know me personally, so they don't care either...... so, I don't care as well, I just want to get paid for what I worked, that's all!
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Done for good seems to have lasted three weeks :rolleyes: and once again there was a problem.
    Knowing that your sub placement system is somewhat unreliable, have you considered always confirming before heading to the job each day you work?
     
  32. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Jul 21, 2018

    A few months while I was going through tough period of illness
    yes, I thought I was done for good, until our money ran out, so I had to come back to work

    I don't give a damn about problems with Source4Teachers any more. They treat their employees this way, I'm learning to treat them like that as well. As long as they pay me. I only make sure I call them at the end of the day to make sure they registered my work. These people sometimes don't know themselves where the job is located, so there is no use calling them. Like this time, this Transition program was at a new location, and they had very vague idea when they told me where to go. I had to drive around a bit and then ask to find out exactly where it was.
     
  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Jul 21, 2018

    Hey, look at this way: At least you get paid!

    I’m of the mindset that as long as I’m making the amount of money I want, I don’t care how crappy the job is. The money more than makes up for it.

    I’m lucky in that I have both a wonderful workplace AND a competitive salary. But, so long as I have the latter I don’t mind if the former is lacking. As long as the bills are paid and I have money leftover for savings, retirement, and entertainment, then I’m good to go!
     

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