I recognize other subs, if not by name, by sight fairly often after a year or two on the job. So when he entered the staff lounge at lunch time and I hadn’t seen him before, I assumed that he must be relatively new.
I invited him to share the table as we exchanged the customary first time meeting introductions. It turns out that we have very similar histories in how we both arrived in the role of a substitute teacher.
We are about the same age; both came from computer programming backgrounds and ended our careers in much the same manner. The only difference was, his was a layoff five years ago while mine was seven.
I was a bit surprised to find out, since I hadn’t seen him before, that he’s been on the subbing list for this school district for most of those five years and yet we hadn’t run across each other until now.
I originally enrolled in three districts when I first started and quickly reduced that to only a single one after a couple years. I assumed incorrectly that he must have been working other districts and just recently signed for this one.
In comparing “assignment frequency”, he was surprised to hear that I’m averaging 2-3 days a week in this single district we both share while he is having problems getting 2 days a week despite working for four separate districts. Next year, his plan is to enroll in one additional elementary district that has a reputation (not a good one) but has a higher pay rate to increase his assignment chances.
With several newer-hired subs and last year’s change in assignment procedure priorities to favor unemployed teachers, I’m surprised that I’m still working about the same frequency as normal but at fewer schools.
His parting comment: “Doesn’t seem to make any sense…must be a popularity contest.”