When I started subbing, I took pretty much took any assignment that was offered. After all, the school district paid the same daily rate for all schools and any grade levels. School district officials like to pretend that everything is equal but reality is quite different.
Some schools have no problems filling substitute positions while others go begging for anyone willing to show up for an assignment. The reason for this disparity pretty much comes down to one reason.
School culture at some schools is very low on classroom behavior. It's mentally exhausting trying to accomplish anything on a lesson plan.
Three or four of the eighteen in this district keep me regularly busy enough to avoid an expected disaster elsewhere. Substitute teacher daily pay should be a sliding scale based on the degree of difficulty to remain sane by the end of the day.
That said, after 9+ years subbing, every now and again, I get curious to see if anything has changed around the district.
Last Wednesday night I saw three online postings for roving substitutes at a notoriously poor performing school in the district. This school is at the top of my scale for the stress inflicted. That alone is usually be enough for me to pass on it, but this assignment is only four hours instead of the usual six.
Half-day assignments are listed as 3.5 hrs. Anything over is considered a "full day". This meant that today would be a shorter day with full pay and probably not too much time in any single classroom.
Starting this year, the school changed from a standard subjects-based curriculum to a new projects-based curriculum. All but six of last year's teachers had been rotated out to other schools and replaced with high achieving, volunteer teachers from other parts of the district. The incoming teachers had to apply, interview and train for each position.
I was curious to see if the changes made any difference on my current negative bias.
Thursday morning was a mad house checking in at the school office. There were 15 subs checking in that morning. Each of us were called in as "roving subs" to cover two hours for two teachers spread over all grade levels that day. The regular teachers were in training seminars for the new teaching curriculum.
I had one 3rd grade assignment and one Kinder assignment to re-evaluate this current working environment.
At the end of the day, as the mob of substitutes were leaving the building, the ones I talked with were all pretty much in agreement about classroom behavior.
They still don't pay us enough to work here.