Yeah, alright not really. More like babysitting – or the more apt “child-minding” as the British call it. Also known as substitute “teaching”. I got my substitute teacher’s license on April 24th (although I applied right after finishing student teaching it took several weeks longer than I’d expected) and was called in for my first job the very next morning! They needed someone immediately! I rushed in to the high school and signed in and asked the secretary what class I would be covering. She mumbled something and hurried me down the hall. I juggled folders and my purse and lunch box and tried to catch up with her, “I’m sorry,” I said, “I didn’t get that. What class is it again?” She paused next to the classroom door and said, “Biology.” She opened the door and ushered me inside, blocking the doorway with her body. “And they’re dissecting fetal pigs.” I grinned.
She clutched the edge of the door and eyed my expression in befuddlement. “Oh good,” I re plied, “I was afraid I’d be teaching calculus! No problem – I’m a science teacher!” And substitute teaching was off to a good start. Mind you since then I have had to teach math – but it was in the 6th grade classroom and after a quick refresher I managed to cover the lesson on multiplying and dividing mixed numbers without any issues.
I’ve now substituted at the elementary, intermediate, junior high and high school. For a full day I’m paid $61 before taxes, for a half-day $41. I’ve been averaging 2 days a week since I begun. It’s not good pay, even for a babysitter, and it’s frequently boring work (as the teachers prepare worksheets for the kids to do or just have subs show videos). But it’s getting my foot in the door and I do get plenty of opportunity to work on classroom management skills as most students seem to feel the substitutes are fair game for any sort of misbehavior. I don’t think students will be saying I’m “too nice” for much longer! The other down side is that by the end of a day substituting I really don’t want to see or talk to children and I really don’t want to help with homework! If I land a real teaching job next fall I’ll have to figure out how to address this so my own kids don’t suffer.
Landing a teaching job is a little bit closer now – I’ve completed the Transition to Teaching program and am only a few steps away from obtaining my regular license as a 5th-12th grade science instructor. There’s no graduation ceremony or even certificate, just submission of the last class assignment, so it feels a little anticlimactic at best.
Next week I’ll take the required pedagogy test and if I pass I will apply for my license and pay the fee as soon as my substitute teaching paycheck comes in. Of course there’s still job hunting (yes, I’ve been applying but haven’t had ANY response – a lot of the jobs ask for “Highly Effective” teachers which is not a first year, not yet evaluated, teacher) but I’m one (big) step closer.