Becoming a Substitute

The process for becoming a substitute teacher is different for every school district.

My school district is unique in that it is HUGE. While many districts have around 3 to 15 schools, mine has around 120 schools with over 82,000 students spread out over an entire county. What this means for substituting is that the county must have a huge reservoir of sub teachers across the district to meet their needs.

That also means that substitutes are in demand at almost every school. It also means that the county is motivated to move the process as quickly as possible.

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Substitute Teaching: Week One

I’ll post on another day about the process of becoming a substitute teacher in my particular district. The only thing you really need to understand for this post is that there is basically no substitute training. The only “training” is legal requirements and watching a video about classroom management.

None of these things prepared me for my first day of substituting.

Parenthood

The only thing that really prepared me at all was: parenthood. I elected to sub at schools my children attend. That means that I already had a level of familiarity with the staff, the facilities, & the student body. This was especially important since they attend two very different schools. One is a typical elementary school. The other is an education center for kids with severe disabilities.

Teacher Assistant Subbing

I decided to start out as a Teacher Assistant (TA) sub to get my feet wet. Many schools have some sort of Para or TA that also needs substitutes. These positions can help you get used to a new school and classroom setting. It can also slowly introduce you to other staff around the school.

The positions typically pay a little less but lack the responsibility of a full teacher. Another challenge, is that TA positions are sometimes for special needs classrooms, which makes the pay seem too low for the required work. Sometimes it is, but those classes need subs just as much as the others do!

Special Education

Special education can be very intimidating. As a parent to a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder Level 3 (ASD3), which is the end of the spectrum which requires significant support, this was not a deterrent for me. The other deterrent is often the lack of teacher sub needs. A classroom may have 1 teacher with 2-4 assistants, and that assistant job pay is less desirable.Many subs go into special education (SpEd) settings with unreasonable expectations. I didn’t have this barrier.

Unfortunately, I found little to no resources anywhere on special needs/special education substituting. I’ll update more on this topic later.

If you want to sub SpEd, here are some quick tips:
1. Nobody needs your pity. Don’t waste your time (or theirs) feeling sad about their disabilities or needs.
2. Don’t be intimidated by bodily functions. Some kids drool, some need help toileting or changing diapers, & some need help feeding.
3. If you need help, just ask. Usually, the staff will guide you through everything, but don’t just stand around, ask where you should help.

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Ready for Autumn

I am ready for autumn. I’d love to pretend it’s because I love the changing of leaves (really, I think it’s depressing to see them all wither up and die) or because I enjoy cooler weather and shorter hours of sunlight (who doesn’t enjoy seasonal affective disorder). Really, I am just ready for the boys to go back to school!

Seriously, September…get here already!

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Work and Money: An Update

I have been working from home since January now and thought it was time for an update on that.

Unexpected Part-Timer

About a month ago, I was asked by my former company to work remotely for them (temporarily) while another admin was out on medical leave.  So, for the past 4 week, I have occasionally been reviewing/editing reports for them in the interim.  Depending on how long she is out, I will likely be helping them for another few weeks.  It’s a good way to get some extra money in my pocket this spring since I don’t know how much freelance work I will have time for once summer vacation kicks in around mid-June.

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The Intentionally Unemployed

Today marked my last day at the office.  I am now intentionally unemployed.  Considering I have been working almost 18 years straight, stopping work feels somewhat unnatural.

Even though I cleaned out my desk and turned in my key, it still feels a bit unreal to me.

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Quitting My Day Job: How to Make Money Working Out of Your Own Home

One question I’ve been asked is “What will you do all day when your kids are in school?”

Um, work.

A Different Kind of Work

Yes, I still plan to work. It’s just going to be a different KIND of work.

Unpaid work, for the most part, but for a couple years now, I have done freelance work in my meager spare time.  More spare time means more freelance time possible.

Most of MY freelance work is editing and writing academic papers.  It’s amazing how many people will pay you money to format their references into APA-format, correct their grammar, or ghostwrite their memoirs because they don’t have the time or skill to do so.

How to Make Money From Out of Your Own Home

Pretty much, I’ve learned that if you can do something not everyone else can (whether it’s sewing a costume, playing the oboe, dying hair, being home midday to care for pets, or creating spreadsheets) it is instantly a marketable skill.  The trick is finding people who need your skillset and are willing to pay a reasonable fee for it.

Here are ten websites to consider using for marketing your unique skills and talents online:

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