Teacher Assistant vs. Substituting

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by dola0072, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. dola0072

    dola0072 Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2008

    The school year is coming closer and closer. I have an opportunity to be a teacher assistant in a head start classroom. My goal is to be an elementary education teacher. The reason I am not getting hired is because of my experience. I recently graduated and have no "real" teacher experience. To gain experience is it more beneficial for me to take this teacher assistant position in the head start classroom or should I substitute? Could someone please give me advice. I just don't know what the schools will look at when they look at me next year for a position when it comes to experience. Thank you in advance.
     
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  3. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Jul 29, 2008

    Well, here's the thing. If you take the asst. position, it's a year-long commitment, right? Which means that if you get a call for an interview in, say, October, you can't take it, since you'll already be committed.

    If you do the sub. gig, then you can take a job whenever it comes along. Both will give you some experience (although many districts specifically say that you can't list subbing as experience).

    If you are 100% sure that you will stay in the asst. position for the entire school year, no matter who may call you when, then I say go for the asst. position. You will get a real feel for handling a classroom on a day-to-day basis, you might get some benefits, and you will definitely have experience to put on your resume.
     
  4. sunfishy

    sunfishy Rookie

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    I am currently a teacher assistant. I did this for the past year. It did get me a summer school teaching position, but not a long term job. When I interview at schools and do not receive a second interview I am told that there was another candidate with more teaching experience. This even happened at the school I worked at. They hired someone who had taught in a classroom for one year because she had more "teaching" experience.

    As far as subbing goes unless it's a long turn subbing position I would not bother. A girl I know has subbed in the school for three years and they turn her down at this school as well as others because she has no "real" experience. The teachers at my school do not view subbing as experience as you do not have to plan anything, you only implement it.

    I see many people on this forum suggest taking subbing or aid positions to help you get into the school system, but my district is known for not hiring from within. If you are definitely going to choose one of the two and want to stay in a school system then take the aid position. It may help you get a job in the sense that you are seeing experienced teachers at work and you can draw on these experiences during interviews. The more you see and take part in the easier it is to answer interview questions. Good luck to you in finding a job.
     
  5. tiffanys

    tiffanys Companion

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    Jul 29, 2008

    My opinion is you should stick with the head start---from my understanding you still plan lesson plans as opposed to subbing where you work off someone else's plans.

    Good luck in your choice- let us know.
     
  6. gazing_iscariot

    gazing_iscariot Rookie

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    I both subbed (for a few months) and am currently a teacher's assistant (I was one last year, and as I haven't found a job for the up coming year, I'm headed back again) and it hasn't helped me in any way to acquire a teaching position.

    I've actually given up, this is my second year looking for a teaching position and I guess because I have no experience and am ACP no one wants to hire me. I've been applying for other jobs outside of teaching, and am desperate to find another job. I expected this teaching assistant position to be temporary and a lead into a teaching position. It pays so low and we're just not going to make it another year otherwise.

    I'm so upset about this I don't even know. Sorry to derail and go off on my own stuff.
     
  7. tiffanys

    tiffanys Companion

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    Jul 29, 2008

    where are you located gazing?
     
  8. gazing_iscariot

    gazing_iscariot Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2008

    Texas, DFW area.
     
  9. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jul 29, 2008


    no, tell us more... what's an ACP mean?
     
  10. gazing_iscariot

    gazing_iscariot Rookie

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    ACP - Alternative Certification Program - I graduated w/ my BA in English, and minored in History instead of Education, so I didn't student teach. I enrolled in ITeachTexas after graduation and immediately started subbing, then got my teacher's aide position. Because I didn't student teach or major/minor in education, I don't have any real classroom "experience" even though I've been both a sub and teacher's aide and my certification is probationary, and conditional on getting a teaching position and teaching for a year (called an internship) and after that one year I would have my actual certification.
    I keep being told it's probably because I'm in an ACP instead of going the traditional route and doing student teaching.
     
  11. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Ok, this has been going around a lot, but I'll give you my take.

    I started as an aide. It was the best job I ever had, and truthfully, I would do it forever, if it paid more.

    But when I got my degree, I started subbing. Now, subbing does two things: In IL, you are putting money in your teacher retirement fund, and you are getting exposure in a variety of places. Aides in IL have their own retirement system, and it is transferable to the teacher fund! But the advantage of being an aide is that you have steady pay, and benefits.

    What I have noticed is that schools deliberately avoid hiring subs, not because they don't think they have experience, but rather they don't want to lose good subs! That is so mean, when you think about it! They would rather hire somebody fresh out of college than you or I, even if you have been there forever. You know kids, system, everything. But that is it, you KNOW it so well, they don't want to risk losing you.

    So, here is what I did!

    1. Sign up for as many districts as you can. That way, you have more chances of learning about different things, and more money.

    2. If you are hurting for money, take the aide job. You have steady income, benefits, and ....

    3. Tell them you are willing to be an in-house sub!

    This works out for everyone. You are certified to teach. You take an aide job. But if a teacher calls off, or they have emergency meeting, trainings, workshops, you can be the sub! They will tell payroll to give you extra due pay, or you will not get paid for the day as a sub. No bad reflection on your attendance, because you are still there.

    I did this and it was great! Until one day, I looked at my aide check and my sub check, and I said, "I need to be teaching! This is ridiculous!"

    I earned more for 3 days of subbing than I did for 2 weeks of being an aide!

    The real trick is to sub outside your dream district, while keeping resumes and applications flowing to the ones you want. Although it seems that people are more likely to hire folks they know, they would take you as an aide over you working as a sub! :confused: You can get by without an aide, but not without a sub!

    Finally, in a twisted sort of way, it's like dating.

    Don't sub for the district where you really want to work. Why should they buy the cow, when they are already getting the milk at a cheaper rate? ;)
     
  12. TemperanceFaith

    TemperanceFaith Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2008

    I am starting a position as a teaching assistant this September. I am hoping that it is, in the words of the Principal that hired me "A stepping stone to bigger things within the school and district" hearing that was encouraging. But I am also not naive, and know that this does not guarantee me a teaching position in that school or that district. That still has to be earned fair and square by me.

    But for now, the salary is fine. I am more excited about the medical benefits because mine have been non existence for almost a year.

    Plus, we have been living on no income from me, so anything I bring in is a bonus at this point.
     
  13. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Jul 29, 2008

    Master has it right! Why should they buy the cow when they can get the milk for free? Subbing is more money and you will learn from it. I did it for two years while I was earning my masters'. My mistake was only going to a couple of schools. I should have gone to many, many, many different schools. This way no one school would become dependent upon me.

    The district that I subbed in did not give me one single interview last year. I got hired in a district where I knew absolutely nobody and had never set foot in a single school there.

    For a new grad, subbing may be helpful. We are now really entering the prime time for hiring. If you haven't found something by September that's when I would start looking at aide work. This really all depends on whether your district will hire subs. Many of us here will say subbing isn't the door opening it once was.
     
  14. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    See, the problem comes when we are over qualified for the job, and they know it, and they think they are getting 2 for 1.

    We can't hide our candle under a bed. We are smart, and doggonit, we will let everyone know. Face it. WE talk way too much!

    There is nothing worse than being an aide in the room and watching a catsophrophe about to happen, and you speak up, save the world, and make the teacher look stupid.

    From that point on, only two things happen:

    One, they use you like a sponge
    Or two, they hate your guts, and try to make you look bad.

    I say, play dumb. It is the only way to survive, and keep your paycheck.

    If you are an aide, stay an aide. If you are a sub, be a sub. But unless you want to sub at your school, while you are an aide...don't let them take advantage of you!!!

    Otherwise, they will say, "Can you sit in my class for a minute, and will be gone for 1/2 hour, or the rest of the day!" They will be in parent meetings, talking on the phone, attending a workshop, or leaving early!

    And you just lost 1/2 day's pay as a sub. :unsure:

    One teacher tried to get me to type a memo for her while I covered for the secretary during lunch. I said, "I'm only here to answer the phones." She glared at me. Well you can type too, can't you?

    My mom told me, "When you stop being a secretary, you stop typing!"

    Getting brownie points will not get you a dream teaching job. It just means the princpal knows she can use you for anything. She is waving that carrot in front of you, and you keep chasing it.

    I often felt like Mogli in Jungle Book. Once I had the fire, I knew I could no longer live with the animals...I had to go back to Man's world!
     
  15. TemperanceFaith

    TemperanceFaith Comrade

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    Master, you seem like you have been through a lot of negative.

    My nature is to be the one who gets everything done. I am a master multitasker, and am always the person with my hand up to volunteer and lead things. True, I have had some thankless positions; my time as a PTA President was tough...you had a lot of people criticizing but no one else wanted to do the work.

    Still, there is no way I can not be who I am. I know from the start of this position, I am going to give all of myself. I know this might get me taken advantage of, it might make me become an indispensable assistant rather than gain me a teaching position. But I won't be able to not be any different. About the one thing I do know how to do is keep my mouth shut. 42 years of life on this earth and being occasionally burned has taught me that valuable lesson. I don't gossip, I don't play office politics, and I don't kiss ass. I just work really hard and give my all. I won't hang out in the teacher's lounge and get covered in toxins, I will not share my personal life other than very general information...in short, I will not give them anything to poke holes in. But I will work my ass off.
     
  16. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    good point! No brown nosing!
     
  17. dola0072

    dola0072 Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2008

    Since I am elementary will this head start teachers aide position give me more experience than subbing since it is head start. My ultimate goal is to be an elementary teacher. I don't know what to do. Your comments are helpful keep them coming.
     
  18. MuggleBug

    MuggleBug Companion

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    Jul 30, 2008

    It also depends on what you prefer. I know I like knowing where I'll be every day and had a wonderful experience working as an aide - I even got the chance to sub a few times when they were short teacher subs. I'd often step into the teacher role when the teacher I worked with was called out for meetings or caught up with a student. I participated in the school activities, even those that occurred after school hours. This was at a middle school, so unless I taught 6th grade (if I still lived there), I wouldn't get a teaching job there anyway, but for recommendations it's good to make yourself visible and get to know all the staff.

    I didn't enjoy subbing as much because I didn't like not knowing where I was going to be each day, or even if I was going to work at all. The only time I really loved it when I was at the school I student taught at because all (okay, most of) the kids were so great that there wasn't any particular class that I groaned when I found out I was filling in for that teacher. One of the schools had such weird ways of doing everything that it was a bit like a nut house at times. Subbing is definitely good for networking, for sure, and gaining experience with classroom management.

    So pretty much it all comes down to personal preference. Maybe money is a factor so you might want to consider that. My job as a para paid more/day than a sub but some districts pay their subs more than their paras. I think either way you can make yourself shine! Good luck whatever you decide. :)
     
  19. dola0072

    dola0072 Rookie

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    UPDATE!!!!!!!

    I went to the two interviews today for what I thought were teacher assistant positions. One was for a teacher assistant but one was for a teaching position in a 3 year old classroom. I am so excited about the teaching position but not so excited about the teaching assistant. For the teaching position I would be co teaching and my benifits are okay. I would be getting paid more as a teacher assistant actually. The reason I am not excited about the teacher assistant position is because she was talking about changing dipers and basically doing whatever the teacher tells me to do. I have no say in lessons or anything. I went to school to be a teacher so that is my ultimate goal. Thank you for all the advice. Now I am just waiting to hear back from both of them. I have to decide wether or not I want to sub as well. So much to think about. :unsure:
     
  20. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Best of Luck on the teaching position - what an unexpected break that would be!!!! I'm in the same dilemma, but decided to sub for financial reasons ... and the district recommended subbing over taking an aid position as a better path to a full time job. It's that theory that if a job opens up where you're subbing the principal will see you as a teacher - not just an aid. We'll see if this theory proves to be true ...
     
  21. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Being involved more all depends on the school, and the staff. In most cases...aides are considered part of the teaching team, and you sit down with the teacher and go over things together. The aide is expected to help write lessons, and lead certain lessons as well. In the general scheme of things (at the preschool level), only the staff should know who is who. Except when parents have questions, the aide knows to respectfully direct the parents to the teacher, and let them know they will be happy to answer any other questions, except those which are directly under the teacher's control.

    As far as changing diapers, that is one of the reasons I avoid pre-k programs with infants and toddlers. when they are short staffed, they will throw you in any room. And I prefer not to have a room full of screaming 2s! :eek:

    In special ed early childhood, the aide is almost exclusively used for changing diapers and transporting the children in walkers/wheelchairs. Something you really want to seriously consider. :unsure: That is very hard on a person. Usually, there are two aides, and the other aide interacts and works more with the teacher and the class. If you are the one-on-one aide, you are pretty much with this one child all day. You have to stay very close, and the other kids want to talk, play and work with you, but you can never let your child out of your site, not for a second! They don't understand that, no matter how often you tell them.

    You may be tempted to get books and read to them, which is always good. But if your little one wonders off, or slips from out of his chair, you have to stop what you are doing and grab him! So honestly, you really can't get to into instructional things, unless you are working directly with your child and a small group. If he can't cooperate, you must stop and calm him down.

    And subbing, I like the excitement, but I had some really doozies too! Once school was quantum learning, where every 50 minutes, the entire building got up and moved to another room. It was like musical chairs to me! All the kids had tubs, and carried their stuff with them. The teachers had little carts. You could not keep anything on the board, and you had nothing in the desks. When the bell rang, you had to change classes. It was a new building, and the philosophy was keeping children engaged, and total physical response..all kinds of stuff. they had pillows on the floor, carpeting in the rooms. A real non-traditional setting.

    Drove me nuts!!! The second time they called me, I knew what to expect! ;)
     
  22. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    I have been a sub, an aide and a teacher. One did not lead to the other in my experience.
    I was never hired as a teacher because I subbed or was an assistant. I was always looked over.

    Personally, I would take a aides job over a sub. You know everyday where you are going to be and what your job is. I hated being thrust out of sleep and sent to a classroom that had no sub plans. It was horrid. A long term sub position would be okay, though.

    Basically, it comes down to personal preference.

    I have also taught for headstart and it was an okay job. Really depends on the site and the supervisor.

    Good luck.
     

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