I’ll cut to the chase: I got a long-term sub job! (Score!) And I’m teaching English! (Double score!) Through a series of events, an English teacher at a local high school (who doubles as one of the school’s counselors) decided to take a leave of absence and the school needed someone to take over her two periods of 10th grade ELA from now until the end of the semester (which is Jan 20th).
Over the next three weeks, I’ll be walking the classes through the process of writing a research paper. The prompt for the paper asks students to combine research about a historical event with an interview from a person who lived through that particular event.
Although I only work for half of the day, it’s a really good deal. I get to report to work around 11:45, which means I don’t have to pack a lunch (see “Thanksgiving Leftovers” to understand why this is such a big deal for me). Plus, my wife and I don’t have to worry about finding child-care for the whole day. I also get to take my 4-year old to afternoon pre-school on my way to work, which yields some interesting conversations (“Dad, can we listen to loud music?”).
This is a really good opportunity for me to get some recognition in a very good school district (it was names as “One of the Nation’s 100 Best High Schools” according to US News & World Report – a magazine that is only seen in doctor’s offices). Between the two classes, I have 58 students – which is an extremely manageable workload. The job also allows me to have some consistency with students. Seeing the same students every day makes classroom management a lot easier, too.
However, there are a few drawbacks to the job:
1) THE PAY: Since I’m still technically an employee of SGEP, I get paid at their ½ day rate ($35 / half day, pre-tax) and I won’t get any extra compensation for going to staff meetings, grading papers at home, and writing lesson plans.
2) WORK OVER CHRISTMAS BREAK: As I stated earlier, I’m leading these 10th graders through the process of writing a research paper. The paper is due Dec. 16th, the last day before Christmas break. That means I’ll have to grade those research papers (which are 3.5 – 5 pages each) over the break…again, for no pay.
3) PEOPLE QUESTIONING MY CREDENTIALS (still!): I went to the school right before Thanksgiving to introduce myself to the two classes, and on my way to the class, another teacher asked me, “You’re certified, RIGHT?” I wanted to say, “Yes, I’m certified; CERTIFIED TO OUT-TEACH YOU BECAUSE I WORKED IN DETROIT, LADY!” But, I just nodded and said, “Of course.”
The positive aspects of the job (consistent work, consistent students, going in at 11:45, working in a great district) far outweigh the negative aspects and I’m really excited to actually TEACH.
In closing, I met the two classes last week and all I can say is this: I’m certain that working with these students will yield a lot of material for this site.