My New Life as a Substitute Teacher
One year and 5 months ago (May/2003), my old job as a computer programmer ended. Contrary to management’s promises, the entire department was outsourced to India.
A combination of a lack of manual skills in construction, house painting or professional athletics in any form had me facing the classic dilemma: “What can I do for income if there are no computer programming jobs available?”
Well, that might be a little too strong a statement. There ARE jobs but at this point I don’t want to relocate out of the area and I don’t speak the language to where my old job migrated (India).
So with the mindset that it might be another year or more before the job market in my field returns to the previous levels where everyone is employed, I began my search for something else to do.
Almost every teacher I know said the same thing. “You are really good with kids, why not substitute teach?” Well, I can readily think of a few reasons “why not” like “Do I have any qualifications to do this?”
Don’t teachers have to have advanced degrees in everything from child development to combat battle tactics to do their job?
Well it turns out that while an actual teacher needs all that stuff, a “Credentialed Substitute Teacher” needs only:
1. A college degree
2. A passing score on the state mandated California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST).
3. TB immunization test.
4. Fingerprints and criminal background check through the state of Calif.
So with all the required test and paperwork firmly in hand I apply for my “Substitute Teacher Credential” and submit my application to three of the local school districts near home.
The following is my journal of “My life as a Substitute Teacher”.
Entry: 03-Sept-2004 - Stop, Abort, Reboot…..
Got my first assignment call this morning at 8:30am to report at 8:15am at a local Elementary school if I want it.
I had just rolled out of bed, hadn’t showered or shaved yet and I’m already 15 minutes late for the start of class!! I had to decline the assignment because it would be at least an hour before I got there.
Great start on my new career, eh? I guess I need to start rolling out of bed at 6:00am and be ready for that next call.