Thursday, March 17, 2011

Substitute What?

Ah, substitute teaching: all the joys of regular teaching without the respect, money, benefits and vacation days. With just 60 college credits, you too can enjoy working for $75 per day, no paid sick days, no benefits, no actual communication from the schools (in regards to snow days, etc), no respect from teachers and students and administration and parents, and about a 30-70 chance that the teacher did not leave any plans to guide your day. There's a good chance that the plans are at least two months out of date, meaning that the students will be even more irritated because they're doing activities that they did before Christmas.

Can you tell that I'm not particularly excited about substitute teaching? Even after the exciting and informative substitute teaching seminar and information session? Granted, this particular district pays fairly well: $90 per day, with no chance of increase after the usual 40 days in one assignment. Do that math, folks. If you work 180 in the school year (assuming no snow or sick days, remembering that you get paid half for half days, even though half days are actually 2/3 days in terms of hours worked, then you are pulling home approximately $16,000 per year.

The estimated poverty line in the US for 2011 is $22,300, according to Wikipedia.

True, your day is over at 2:30 or 3:00, but you've also started working at 7:00 in the morning. That second job, which might run from 4 to 10 or 11, doesn't seem quite so attractive. Necessary, if you want those little luxuries of food, electricity and water, and a place to live, but not attractive.

Ah, please sign me up. That's something that I'm looking forward to doing. True, there's the potential for being hired out of your time as a substitute teacher. There is a non-zero chance that competently substitute teaching will positively impact your potential employment in the district. We all have heard the stories of people subbing for a few years in a district before finally landing their dream teaching job. Hopefully that'll be the case for my wife or myself.

I'm not optimistic. I'm more expecting doing a thankless, difficult job for little money while being teased with the potential probability of later full-time employment. At least while temping, the other workers don't try to make your life more miserable.


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