Substitute teaching or getting a job as an aide- which is better?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Peachyness, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    My hubsand says that it's career suicide if I try to get a job as an aide. The city where I want to live in do not really hire many teachers. In addition, with this wonderful budget cut and pink slips going on, I'm having a very hard time finding elementary school openings in my dream town. So..... I got a call today from a school nearby my dream town. It's for a para-educator position in a special ed classroom.

    Is this something I should pursue. Pay is pretty lousy and would make more subbing. But I do not like the idea of subbing. I tried it and it wasn't terrible, but I need consistency and routine.

    What do you guys think?
     
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  3. sub&mom

    sub&mom Companion

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    Apr 9, 2008

    I've stuggled with this many many times. I've subbed for 5 years, and I've been offered this position several times. I've always turned it down for various reasons...and last year from Spring Break to the end of the year I did a LTS postition as a special ed para and I was able to truly test the waters, and I HATED it!!! I really decided that it was the worst, least respected job in the school. And I felt it....

    They offered me the position full time, but when 3 days in I was looking at the calendar for just how many days there were to the end of the year...seeing if I could put up with it that long. It was easy to turn it down. Now my response to the offer is, "No thank you, I like to take that position in small doses!"
     
  4. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    I was an instructional aide before I got my first teaching position. That's how I got my interview. I was told that I should aide/sub in the districts I am applying to in order to be considered for a teaching position. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to go that route at this point.

    Is this a district you want to work in, or is it a job while you bide your time for another district? If you want work in this district, I would find out how often they hire from within. Most schools I am aware of generally hire from within, but I have heard of a few who keep their aides/subs in their positions. But, with the CA budget cuts I am sure they are going to see teachers in more aide positions and will look to these areas to fill in openings as they come along.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Apr 9, 2008

    I agree with sub&mom. I would go the subbing route if you don't get a full time position.
     
  6. Tutor

    Tutor Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2008

    I hated subbing. I'd take the para job.
     
  7. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2008

    Like you can see from reading all of the above posts...It depends on you. Some like subbing, some hate it. Some like being a para, some hate it. I didn't mind subbing....it was money for me when I was out of college on breaks and was able to use that money for books or gas. I guess it really comes down to which do you prefer, and how bad do you need the money. If you need the money, then I'd say sub because you say there's more money in it. If you don't need the money, do what you'd be more comfortable or happy with.
     
  8. awaxler

    awaxler Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2008

    There are pros and cons to both...

    Subbing

    Pros...
    By substituting you get to know many schools and will know which one you would rather work at. You will get to know many administrators and teachers who can help you get a job either at their school or write recommendations and place phone calls to get you in at another school. You will also get to work with many different grade levels and therefore get to know which age group you like best.

    Just remember, if you are going this route you must think of everyday as a job interview...dress the part, be professional, and MAKE CONTACTS.

    Cons...

    Substituting is not teaching. Most teachers will leave some type of busy work for the students when they have a sub...or a movie. The reason is that the teacher doesn't usually know who the sub is going to be and it is quite difficult to leave extensive lesson plans for a sub.

    The other problem is discipline...substituting can be quite difficult in terms of classroom management. The worst part is just because you are not a good substitute does not mean that you will not be a good teacher...unfortunately, if you are not a good substitute you may very likely get an undeserved bad reputation as a teacher who does not have classroom management skills...therefore, while you decided to substitute to help you get a job it may actually backfire. Likewise...I have seen many good substitutes NOT do well as classroom teachers.

    Aide

    Pros...
    You are getting valuable teaching experience. The contacts you do make are much better.

    Cons...
    You are only in one school and usually only one grade level/subject and therefore will not be able to make as many contacts or see different schools etc.
     
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  9. sub&mom

    sub&mom Companion

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    Apr 9, 2008

    in my experience, additional cons to the aide, is that you are most often an aide to several teachers who all ask many things of you. One does not know of what you are doing for the other, so the work is at times very heavy.

    Most aides in our district do not have a "home base" to lay their hat, so to speak. They float between teachers classes, and they can borrow a closet in the special ed room to put their things. Everything you need must be brought from room to room. This left me feeling unsettled and disorganized.

    And I do have to say that while I know that many times subs in middle and high school are left to babysit, once you get a reputation in your district that you actually can and will teach the students, you are left with lesson plans to "teach". Now, at the elementary level, I've never once been left babysitting plans in all of my 5 years experience. You, as a sub, are expected to teach the lesson plans in full.
     
  10. MarshNConsMom

    MarshNConsMom Rookie

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    Apr 9, 2008

    And this is where it really varies by districts. I'm a spec ed para in 6th grade. I stay with one teacher during math and language arts and then WE go to the collaboration classes of math and science.

    I have been very fortunate in that the teachers I work with respect my opinions and look to me to add to the lessons in any way I can. I also have a small resource room I share with another para. Sometimes I use the room to help students finish their tests, other times it's used because one of my disruptive kids needs to be removed from the classroom.

    I've been told by my principal that should a science position open, I would be offered the job. Of course he could just be saying that because there aren't any anticipated openings in the fall ;)

    Had I not had the logistics of daycare to worry about with subbing (last minute dropoffs and such) I might have tried subbing this year. Yes, the pay is more but I wouldn't be guaranteed a job everyday and I'd receive no benefits. At least with being a para I have the option to decline benefits, which puts $175 a month into a health savings account paid by the county.

    I will say that from my experience as a para that I sure respect Special Education teachers a heck of a lot more (not that I didn't before, just more so now).
     
  11. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Apr 9, 2008

    Ack!!!! Thanks for the responses! But I still don't know what to do. You are all right, both has its pros and cons. So, what to do? I asked this at work today and I got pretty much similar answers. Some said, go for it, and others say sub. BLEH!
     
  12. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Apr 9, 2008

    I don't know what to tell you except that subbing isn't always consistant no matter how good you are. You can't fully control it. If money is a deciding factor consider this: If you figure you will make X amount of money if you sub everyday, I would definitely cut that down by 30% to be on the safe side. Then compare that to the aide position.

    Then I would put your career aside for a minute and look at which one you want to do. Maybe it will be the same one that pays the most.

    I don't think one is going to hurt you more than the other when it comes to getting another job. You can come up with valid reasons why you chose one over the other.
     
  13. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 9, 2008

    If you have been a successful teacher for any length of time, you will probably have trouble being an aide. While in some places aides are teaching partners, in many, many places, aides are assigned to follow other teacher's lessons, make copies, do bulletin boards (designed by others, and will be critiqued by others), bus duty, lunch duty, filling in during meeting duty (with busy work, not actually expected to teach anything, and not given the opportunity.) That really is the definition of an aide -- to be a helper. You will want to teach, but many teachers will be threatened by that, rather than seeing it as something helpful.

    If you are like many experienced teachers, you have your beliefs about what works with students, what is good teaching, and how to best reach students. Now imagine yourself as an aide split between 4 teachers. You run from class to class. You have no place to put your coat or purse. You have a few supplies stashed in one or two of the rooms, but only nothing to call your own.

    One teacher yells at and belittles the students. One teacher asks you to teach from lesson plans that include out-dated methods of teaching, or using methods that are just plain not effective with your group -- but she refuses to let you change -- and remember SHE is in charge! One teacher leaves the classroom to "go to the bathroom" or "run to the copy room" the second you get there, and doesn't return until 2 minutes before you are supposed to move on to your next class. She leaves the students bookwork, and doesn't want you to "disturb them" with real teaching. You might have one teacher who will let you do what you already know how to do, teach a small group. If you "rock the boat" your work life will just get more difficult. Teachers don't like for aides to judge them. (Actually, I don't know anyone who likes for someone to judge them.)

    Then there are the students -- some will love you, but you will only be with them for a short while each day. Some will actually have the nerve to say to you, "I don't have to listen to you! You aren' the REAL teacher!) Some parents will even give you this attitude. Hopefully, the teacher in charge will back you up, but it doesn't always happen.

    Just realize what you could potentially be getting in for. If it were me, as certified teacher, I'd rather get a job outside of education than be an aide. That's just me -- you'll have to decide for yourself.

    It might be a fine way for a newbie to get some experience or to get her foot in the door -- but if you've been teaching for a bit, you may have a tougher time than you'd imagine being "second banana." I know me... and I would
     
  14. mom2sands

    mom2sands Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2008

    Subs with degrees make more than aides. Of course your hours aren't guaranteed and there are no benefits, so I guess it depends on your needs. Some aides do so much for so little, but then there are those who do as little as possible, especially when a sub is there. I had a really lax aide who popped in and out of the room the entire day and it was inclusion to boot! On the other hand, I've had aides that I couldn't have made it through the day without! Most are worth so much more than they make.
     
  15. MilitaryPara22

    MilitaryPara22 Rookie

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    I was in the same boat... but I took the para position in a resource classroom. Why? It's stable, it's great experience and often you're given as much responbility as the teacher. Also, when the teacher is absent, you will most likely be the one subbing for the class; after all, You know the procedures and the material covered. The pay isn't the greatest, but you will qualify for benifits and spread out your paycheck over 12 months and get another job during the summer. Also, you will have the opportunity to build relationships with administration an other teachers, not to mention the kids! When the next year rolls around, they will remember you and everyone loves to promote from within.
    I didn't bother with subbing, bc I've seen how subs are treated. And like an earlier poster noted, you don't teach. You are given busy work and a lot of grief from the students.
    If you want the stability and full-time, take the para position. Taking the sub would be career suicide!!
     
  16. MaddieMommy

    MaddieMommy Rookie

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    Apr 11, 2008

    I would tell you to follow your heart. If you don't prefer subbing,than I wouldn't do it. You will perform better on the job if you enjoy it more.
     
  17. swbts_ali

    swbts_ali Rookie

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    I began substituting for a school district in the fall of 2006. In November I was offered a full-time aide position, and while it didn't pay quite as much, I absolutely loved my children and wouldn't trade that experience for anything. After that school year, I quit working to attend graduate school. On Sunday night (this week), I emailed my old boss to ask if she knew of any positions coming open at the school. By 8:00 am Monday morning I had a teaching job for this fall! While subbing does allow you to make many contacts, I know that the hard work I put into to my duties while working as an aide are what got me this job. Just to give you something to think about... good luck with your decision!
     
  18. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I've also been weighing these options as a new teacher, in order to get my foot in. Being fairly new, I apreciate all the advice you guys consistently offer. I think in my case, money will be a big factor. The way things are looking, I can't give myself the luxury of not having steady income. On the other hand, I don't want to do something that in the long run is going to hurt me professionally. It sounds like either one can be valuable experience that can help with the ultimate goal of obtaining a full time teaching job.
     
  19. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Congrats, ali, on the job!
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I think I'd sub...more pay, more exposure to districts and grade levels. Paras are not always regarded as highly as subs...:(
     
  21. swbts_ali

    swbts_ali Rookie

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    I honestly think how highly you are regarded as a para depends on how well you do your job. I knew going into my aide job that it was seen as a "lesser" job, but within a couple of months was being asked if I wanted to teach by team leaders of each grade at my school in hopes that I would fill the openings they were going to have. And I think you have to really have a heart for the children that need an aide as well.
     
  22. glen

    glen Companion

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    One more thing to consider... Subbing would allow you to continue to look for a teaching job into the fall. Sometimes, jobs open up late in the summer or early in the fall, or maybe an LTS for a maternity leave. If you can live with the slow weeks in subbing, I would lean that way.
     
  23. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Great story swbts_ali!! Congrats again:):2up:
     
  24. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Apr 22, 2008

    We have different types of aide positions at my school. We have grade level aides that perform specific duties for the grade - monitoring classes while the teacher has guided reading or one-on-one tutoring or they may pull small groups for the teacher and focus on specific skills. We also have special education aides that are assigned to work with one or two (half-day) students and stay with that student all day. Some aides are floating aides and give breaks to the special ed aides or assist in the learning lab. They are all different and many of the aide positions are almost as sought after as a teaching position!

    On a side note - we rarely have ANYONE show up for substitute aide positions. If you sub, make sure you look into substituting for aides too! Ours pays less, but if you don't have a regular sub job scheduled, I would take it.
     
  25. Grace

    Grace Companion

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    Apr 23, 2008

    You have to pick which one you think you would enjoy more. In my experience (which isn't long, mind you) I've noticed that para-professionals tend to get hired more quickly for full time teaching jobs than do substitute teachers. I think this is simply because they have the opportunity to show how they would work and manage the same class for an extended period of time. One of the special ed aides told me today that it's like a year-long interview! (Which could be a pro or a con....)

    Let us know what you decide!
     

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