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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Got called at 8:30am to do a 7:30am Kindergarten in the South County area this morning.

I returned the call to the office to say I could'nt get there until 09:00am if they still wanted me.
"Sure, no problem" was the response.

I had 20 little munchkins. All really pretty good kids. Didn't lose any of them this time.

Even had the "THE PRINCIPAL" of the school drop in to see how things were going. I guess I was doing "ok" because he didn't fire me. I guess he hadn't heard about my losing 4 kids at the last school down the road where I was last Thurs.

The teacher I was subbing for showed up for the last 15 mins of the class. I let her take over the last activity of the day. She has a much better command of the kids than I do. This was an easy day for a change.

So........I get to "work" an hour and a half after the start of the school day, work 3 1/2 hours (till 12:30am) for "full day credit" and my employer actually says "Thank you so much!!" when I leave.

You know, I could get used to this job if it wasn't for the low pay and the uncertain work schedual.

....Mark

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Well, this part-time subbing job is proving to be a little hit-n-miss.

I was called yesterday to sub for a 1/2 day 4th grade class only to have the teacher cancel when I got there. She had to change her Dr's appt to today. Asked if I could do the sub job for the next day.

Got a call from the school 2hrs before I was supposed to show up today saying she's canceling out again.

It's not really a big deal but it's also a good thing I didn't get any other full time sub calls this morning that I would have had to turn down because I was already committed to this one.


Oh, well. Might be a good day to list more stuff on eBay.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I got called to a late Thurs morning assignment in the south county school district to sub for a grade 1-2 combo class. Nineteen kids and no aid to help out.

Best I can say is that I survived.

Some of these kids are MUCH larger (physically) than the kindergarten kids. Two of the bruisers in this class must have topped 100lbs each. Of course, these were the kids that gave me the most problems too.

I also had a kid with the spiderman underwear. The only reason I knew was that he was so skinny, his pants kept falling down at recess.

The girls seems to give the most cooperation and attention. The boys on the other hand, quickly learned they could push the limits when they thought I wasn't looking.

I had a moment of panic after recess when only 15 kids lined up to go back to class. I LOST 4 KIDS?

Of course 2 of them were the "bruiser brothers". I mentioned this to another teacher and she said not to worry that "..They will eventually show up".

I can see my defense attorney arguing at the trial now. "But judge, the other teacher said it was 'ok' to lose a few kids at school......."

They did eventually show up, thankfully and I did finish the day without losing anymore.

(This day was so stressful, that I turned down a Kindergarten assignment for Friday so I could recover.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Marginally Attached To The Economy...

Economy data point update:

I attempted to register as a teaching sub in an additional district yesterday.

I say "Attempted", because they said they could only "hold" my application. It seems that they have a freeze on registering new subs due to the volume of applications.

Turns out that I'm not the only one that thought this might be a way to get off the "Marginally attached to the economy" list.



Saturday, September 18, 2004

I taught my very first substitute teaching job yesterday. I was assigned to teach 14 Kindergarteners at the school just about a 1/2 mile up the road from where we live. Kinda scary going in the very FIRST time, but after all how bad could it be? Right?.

When I arrived at the school and said I was there for the Kindergarten class, I got a few curious looks. Even more with weird little smiles added after they found out that this was the first I was subbing for ANY class. I got the feeling that they knew something I didn't.

It was a split team teaching Kindergarten where the morning class lady and the afternoon class lady overlap and help each other out.

I was subbing for the afternoon lady so I got "trained" while watching how she did it in the morning while helping her out. Then she let me fly solo for the afternoon class. She would have normally left eariler but I guess she felt sorry for me and stayed for the whole time to keep an eye on things (and probably me).

They were all pretty good kids and eager to please. Only a few stubborn little guys but not too much. Don't think I damaged any of them too much. My teaching "coach" said I did pretty good for the first and with a Kindergarten class. Whoo Hoo! I didn't flunk!

I only have to do this three more times before I break even for all the govt' required fees for licensing, TB tests and finger printing just to be qualified to do this.

...Mark

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Lots of stuff happening this week.

Our first Grandchild (girl named Paige) was born Monday morning so most of the week was doing "baby prep" stuff for the parents.

Got my first sub-teaching job for tomorrow morning in a Kindergarten class. This should be interesting. If I'm alive tomorrow, I'll be posting the experience here.


Friday, September 03, 2004

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.
Well, my personal economy is still sucky. The news reports an improved movement in the unemployment rate so I thought I'd check to see if I'm still alive. You see it's been 1 yr and 5 months since the layoff.

Good news! According to the govt, I'm not unemployed!! ??? I'm just "marginally attached".

From: http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm"...Persons Not in the Labor Force

(Household Survey Data)

The number of persons who were marginally attached to the labor force was
1.6 million in August, about the same as a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals wanted and were available to work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted
as unemployed, however, because they did not actively search for work in the
4 weeks preceding the survey. There were 534,000 discouraged workers in
August, also about the same as a year earlier. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, were not currently looking for work specifically
because they believed no jobs were available for them. The other 1.1 million
marginally attached had not searched for work for reasons such as school or
family responsibilities. (See table A-13.)....."