Substitute Teaching a Way In?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Nab, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Apr 7, 2017

    I have literally been looking for an ELA job for the past six months and have only had five interviews. Looking around nearby school districts, it doesn't seem like there will be many jobs for the Fall. So, I went and applied to be a substitute teacher in the school district that I live in. I was emailed today and told that I was one of twenty to apply for substitute teaching. I needed to stop by the school board for a background check and attend a Substitute Teacher Orientation on April 26th. (BTW: I wonder how long the Orientation will last?)

    Looking at the district website, this substitute teacher position will start in the Fall of 2017. I'm hoping to be able to either use this as a fall back position or as a way in the door of this very clicky school district. The way this school district works in regard to substitute teachers is this: the school board keeps one hundred substitute teacher records on file during each school year, principals pick which substitutes they want working at their school (about 10-20 teachers per school; some substitute teachers are on more than one list), and than the teachers pick the substitutes they want from the list their school has. It's a weird way, and most substitute teachers in the district are retired teachers from the district, so they always get the jobs first. But, I've noticed a few others that substitute a lot in certain schools. (A former neighbor with three alternative certifications in Social Studies, Business, and ELA substitutes at least three times a week at the high school her daughter teaches at.)

    So, I'm wondering - is substitute teaching a good way into a school district? As anyone ever substitute for a semester or two and than gotten a job in that same school district? Also, if you have substituted, how long did the orientation last? I have a family wedding at 1:00 pm the day of the orientation and the orientation starts at 10:30 am. I cam make the reception, at the very least, if the orientation is no longer than two hours.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Apr 7, 2017

    It can be. It's not very usual that a sub will be hired at the exact school, but you are visible to a lot of people, and principals talk, so you might be recommended to another school. A huge value in my opinion is the experience. You can put it on your resume and you will have things to talk about in an interview.
    Often day to day subbing leads to long term subbing (even better experience and even more things to talk about in an interview) and long term subbing can lead to a position at the school.

    We had a sub, who was then given an emergency credential and worked for us for a whole year. She left but it was her choice, she still had to finish up her classes and study for all kinds of tests and I guess it was hard for her + work.

    I was subbing in juvenile hall (2 locations) and in 4-5 months the principal created a position for me, and I was offered a 9 month long term sub contract. It would have gone longer, possibly hired as a teacher, but a new superintendent who was trying to save money, got rid of LTS positions (more money and benefits) and put on a hiring freeze. I still don't think they hired anyone, 3-4 years later.
    I ended up leaving and moving 6 hours away and got my first job and I know my experience at the hall was crucial. I'm still here, 4 years later.
     
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  4. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Apr 7, 2017

    It can be, but it really depends upon the district. I did sub in my district and my school before getting a job there, but I know of many other subs who wanted to get in and weren't able to. I think, however, that building connections, whether through subbing or by other means, does help.
     
  5. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Apr 7, 2017

    I've gone ahead and scheduled a background check for Tuesday. I looked online and the orientations are usually from 8:30-12:30. The one on April 26th weirdly starts at 10:30. But, it also says that if you have a certification, you don't have to take a assessment test - so maybe I get to come in two hours late and skip the test. If it gets out at 12:30, that would be great. Weirdly, they have another substitute orientation on May 31st. I do wonder if we have to go to both; a four to eight hour orientation seems overly long. . .but, whatever.
     
  6. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Apr 8, 2017

    It can be, but it isn't a 1 to 1 correlation. It will give you some experience that you can use.

    I hated subbing and saw it as the ultimate failure in teaching...but experience is good in almost all cases.
     
  7. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Apr 8, 2017

    I was hired while subbing my position. And the recommendations I had from long-term sub jobs clinched the deal.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Here, it's pretty much the only way in.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Apr 10, 2017

    OP, either buy in 100% or get out of the pool. You are already dissatisfied with orientation, something that is geared to make you more successful. I get that you are a graduate of a teacher program, but trust me, that is not the same as being in one or more different classrooms/subjects in a single day and then doing it all over the next day with someone else's classrooms. Just being blunt, but you seem to see subbing as the quickest way to a job, when, in fact, it may be a great way to learn enough of "real life" teaching/classroom management skills to make you deserving of a full time position. What you learn may or may not get you into the school of your dreams, but it may very well convince some employer that you are a new teacher worth taking a chance on.

    You might see if there is an alternate orientation date, but I know districts that hold orientation in the spring and once in the fall. Miss those, and you don't work there. Orientations are packed with useful information that you will need on a daily basis, geared to help you be successful. Our orientations last all day, so yours seems reasonable. If you wait until May, you won't sub a single day this year. If that is fine with you, and you don't mind taking the chance that they will replace you with another applicant, go for it.
     
  10. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Apr 11, 2017

    I'm not dissatisfied with the orientation. I have taught before, and I understand the orientations can take a long while. When I attend my new teacher orientation in the Fall of 2016, it was two days - 16 hours long. We didn't learn anything important; mostly it was about insurance and several things I had just learned in my senior classes. But, it was fine. I'm more upset that the orientation takes place on the same day as a family wedding - which I won't be able to attend. Which is really sad, because it may be the last time I see my sister, her husband, and their daughter for a long while - they are moving overseas and won't be able to return to the States for at least two years.

    I actually have had "real life" teaching experience. You may not have seen it, but I posted several long posts about my terrible experience this last Fall. I was hired and taught for seven weeks in a DISASTER of a school and school district. I was one of several new hires (I believe 8 new teachers) that was hired for the 2016-2017 school year. One teacher left before me. Another five left after me. Only one new hire finished the school year.

    It really was an insane school - the teacher before me (who had my students when they were 7th graders) ended up having a nervous break down and divorcing her husband. Another teacher, who had taught the same students, left the school crying - because the students told her that her son killed himself to get away from her. I ended up having a seizure in the classroom - and NO ONE came to check on me. I think that in that time period, as short as it was, I had an amazing crash course in real world teaching.
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Apr 11, 2017

    I am sorry you had a lousy new teacher experience, but subbing is different from having your own class, and the goals will be very different in many ways. As I stated in my first post, if the end of May date works for you, be honest with HR. My experience as a sub tells me that you will simply not be allowed to work until orientation is completed. You do run the risk of being replaced with another applicant, but perhaps you can get a feel for that when you speak to HR.

    Your maiden voyage into teaching was anything but typical of real world teaching. It sounds like you need the time in a more normal teaching environment to regain composure and trust the system. While not perfect, perhaps, most districts are not disasters. I wish you well, and hope this will work out for you. It is unfortunate that the orientation lands on a date that doesn't work for you, but maybe the later date will. Enjoy the wedding.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  12. IloveSF

    IloveSF Rookie

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    Apr 12, 2017

    I've been to one orientation, and it was an hour at most? We filled out forms, learned about the district, etc. I was already subbing in another district at the time, so subbing in and of itself was nothing new to me, but it was to several in attendance. It's painless.

    On the other hand, subbing doesn't work that way around here, so I have no idea if it's good for you or not. Can't hurt. That's really the only reason I still do it. To be honest, I hate subbing. Not because I've had difficult classes or something, just the walking into a new situation every single day stresses me out. I don't mind at all when I get to go back to a class I've already been in and know the routines of, but the new every day thing... Maybe if teachers were better or more universal when they create their plans. I get tired of plans that are the bare minimum. It's okay to go into detail about class routines, etc. I shouldn't have to ask the kids about everything. That stresses me out too. I have met some great kids and picked up a lot of good tricks though.

    Anyway, I have yet to even be acknowledged in the district I sub in (I've now turned in 4 apps, 2 of those jobs going to internal candidates), but I've never really had luck on my side anyway. And, at least around here, ELA jobs don't open very often, or when they do, it's early and internal candidates take them all.
     
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  13. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Apr 26, 2017

    @IloveSF - Your area has the same problem my area has. ELA jobs rarely open up in the four school districts that are within a hour of me. And, if they do open up. . .well, the jobs always go to internal candidates or someone that someone at the school knows. When I finished schooling in the Spring of 2016, there were 25 women getting a Secondary English certificate. 20 of them are now teaching at their old high schools, 3 moved to another state, and 1 went for her masters. I'm the only one unemployed. I have to admit it was very shocking that so many people just went back to their old high school for their job. Especially as several of them getting the job at their old school forced some teachers into early retirement.

    I actually ended up not going to the orientation - which was four hours with a thirty minute lunch break - because I have food poisoning. (So, I missed this and the family wedding.) I spoke with the woman in charge, and she said I could attend the orientation in May.
     

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