Friday, August 09, 2013

Getting Ready for a New School Year as a Sub

The "Back to School" sales have started and I have started thinking about the upcoming school year.  I have already done a few of the practical things.  I bought a large pack of pencils, some eraser tops, a package of loose leaf paper, some dry erase markers, a ruler, and, yes, a bit reluctantly, stickers.  Even with a teacher discount that came to almost $40 - nearly half of a day's pay.  And it certainly won't be all I spend out of my own money.  Printer paper, needed for printing up emergency lessons, printer ink, notebooks to organize lesson ideas, books for extra read-a-loud times.  Sometimes I wonder if I would save money by just retiring from subbing.  Gas is getting to be so expensive; school-appropriate clothes are, too. 

Then there are the legal things.  I have already told the three school districts that I subbed for last year that I would be returning, but I may take one of those districts off of my list.  The main road that I need to use to get there is always congested, but will be a whole lot worse this year, due to construction.  The alternate road that I could use, I won't use in the winter, because it is scary to me then - strong cross winds on slippery and steep highways make me nervous.  I have also applied to sub in an additional neighboring district.  I need several districts, in case they decide to limit subs to fewer than 30 hours, in order to avoid having to offer us health insurance.  I would actually like to sub in fewer districts, not more, so I could get to know some of the schools, teachers, secretaries, and most of all kids better, but I am cutting down on the grade levels and subjects that I will sub for, so I might need at least three school districts, in order to stay reasonably busy. 

And, I am steeling myself to keep my self-esteem in tact, in spite of not being able to earn anywhere near a reasonable salary.  Even if I sub EVERY school day, 180 X around $95 ==> around $17,100, which doesn't even come close to something one could live on here.  And, this year, I will have to buy my own health insurance, since my husband is retiring and moving to Medicare and I am not quite old enough for that. 

And there are lots of other things I need to think of too:  how to organize my emergency lesson plans, where can I find new things to interest kids in the odd times here and there that come up unexpectedly - an assembly is cancelled; the materials for a planned lesson aren't available; the lesson that a teacher had planned isn't enough to fill the time slot.  I look for things all year long, actually, but now I need to be able to have them available right at hand. 

And, most importantly, I need to think about the kids I will meet and teach.  What can I offer them in a single day that will help make their lives better?  How can I be more than just a place holder for a day?  And will I get to see any of the kids I taught last year again this year?  There are a few I would love to see again. 

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