Thursday, November 22, 2018

Second Day of Work!

Two days after my first day, I got a morning call for "Instrumental Music" at a school in the next city over. I was pumped! I had put together my lunch the night before, my bag was ready, I was in the zone. I looked up the school's website and read about it. Smaller, older school with a high number of transient students. Okay, I can cope with that.

I get there and get sent to a portable. Fine for a shy person like me. I don't remember the exact schedule, but at one point I had to go to the neighbouring portable to pick up a grade 6 class. I was to remind them to bring their class laptops (the grade above them, also working on the same assignment, had board-issued Chromebooks). I remind them, I see them, we walk back to the portable. I hand out the sheets and explain the assignment, and get

"Do you have a pencil?" x 25.

What the?

"You didn't remind us to bring a pencil!"

Are you kidding me?!

My response?

"I didn't remind you to put on shoes either but you figured that one out."

Grade 6's, and they were surprised they might need a pencil.

Apparently though, I did not learn my lesson. Later in the afternoon I had to go upstairs (man, this was a hodgepodge school. Bizarre layout due to many additions) and bring down a grade 4 class. We got to the portable, I got them doing their work, and same thing! No one had a pencil. Someone went back to their classroom and their teacher found them a box of pencils so they wouldn't have to go through all the desks.

Unsharpened pencils.

We found two pencil sharpeners (one was mine but I think I left it there). However, do you know how much work actually got done in the 30 minute period?  That 30 minutes has to include travel time.   They were working on labelling a picture of a ukulele. They had nothing to tell them what any part was though, just the part names to write on a sticky note and stick on to the picture. Sticky notes do not stay sticky all that long and many of them looked less done by the end of class than before they came in.

A kid in one of the morning classes started talking to me about his love of music and playing drums/bass/piano. He seemed to be a bit of a metal head loner and asked if he could still come in at lunch like he normally does. I said sure. We had a great chat while he played a bit. I didn't know most of the bands he talked about but I could see his enthusiasm and that he needed that interaction. And it meant I didn't have to go sit in the staff room alone.

I had a last period prep, so I was ready to go when the bell rang. Of course, I waited a few minutes so I didn't look so eager to get out of there. I went to the office to return the key and chatted with the secretary for a few minutes. I noticed a very large binder (4") labelled "Court Orders and Permissions". I had never seen that before. I know you have to list the people allowed to pick up your child, but other than kindergarten, kids are usually just let outside. There might be a teacher on duty at the doors to keep an eye on things, or in a kiss and ride, but they don't have any way of checking the legality of every pick up. It really saddened me and I went home, very grateful to not be included in a binder like that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

First Day of Work!

As soon as my info had gotten entered into the Board's programs, I started getting a few calls. The first was an advance call, for secondary school instrumental music!! How funny, that less than a year after being told I didn't have enough experience to be hired to the secondary panel, I get my first job and its secondary. AND instrumental music. I hadn't done secondary music since Feb 1995. I don't even know where my baton is. I was frightened. It was also a school I had never been too, very large and scary.

I got there early, and thankfully the office was great, the plans were great, and there was another music teacher to help fill me in. The teacher had left details for both a music sub and a non music sub. By golly though, I was a music sub! The first class was grade 9. They were incredibly silent. It was still fairly early in September, and I think they were still in shock. I got to experience a high school prep period, 75 minutes. And then there was a grade 11 class. That was fun, especially the student who told me they were way more advanced than anyone else in the school band, because of taking lessons for so long. Then another grade 9 class. Again they were very quiet!

I easily survived my first day back! Though it wasn't really 'back' since I had actually never done secondary supply before! I almost felt bad for earning my pay. Where was the mischief, the foul mouths, the crazy happenings I heard from other OTs?!

Oh, I spoke too soon.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What's Happening?

I know this blog doesn't get the same love as my other blog. Having a better phone now, and posting to Facebook, has done away with a lot of the things I would have written here about. I'd really like to get back to posting here on a regular basis, especially after all the changes from the past year!

What changes? My job! I wrote about it on my knitting blog, but I'll fill you in here too.

Near the end of June 2017, I finally submitted my application to the local school board for supply teaching (officially called "occasional teacher" here, it's also known as substitute teacher). I had heard it could take a while before hearing anything. Then October came and right before we were leaving for our cruise, I applied to two daycare jobs. They weren't really a good fit for me/my family but I was actually offered both jobs. I turned them down. I had a sense that there was something better out there.

On Nov 13 I received an email asking if I'd like to interview for the secondary supply list. Duh! Yeah! Had the interview on Nov 24, and on Tuesday Nov 28 while signing in for lunch supervision job, I got a phone call telling me I wasn't successful (not enough experience--very true for the secondary position, but the interviewers implied that I was also being considered for elementary), but I could be added to the "Emergency Supply Roster". I could not reapply for the  daily list for 12 months.

What's that? It's different in each board, but here, you get assigned to one school (you can suggest schools or an area you'd prefer). In the morning, after 7am, if there are any unfilled jobs at your school, you get called. You can also be called during the day, for the afternoon. In this board, you must be a certified teacher, and you are paid the same rate as the other supply teachers. Towards the end of the school year, you are guaranteed another interview, usually with the administration (principal and vice principal of your school) and are almost always successful at getting on the daily list.

I went to my sign up session (where you fill in your info for human resources and provide the criminal reference check) on Friday Dec 1. For my suggested schools,  I put down the one I was working as a lunch supervisor at. On the Monday afternoon, I got confirmation that would be my school! I had planned to go in for lunch supervision the next day and "introduce" myself as the new emergency supply. But on Tuesday morning I got a call from the secretary asking if I could work that afternoon!

I had no "teacher bag" prepared, no tricks or plans, nothing! She gave me the choice of a 2/3 English, or a grade 6 French Immersion. Well, I took the English one LOL.

Work was really steady most weeks. One FI teacher was having a serious house issue and I got to know her class really well--many of the kids came to the school in grade 1 when FI starts, so I didn't know them in kindie. Then there was another FI class who's teacher had gone on leave, and they couldn't find anyone to replace them. That poor class struggled for several months. Because there was a shortage of French teachers, many of my days were in FI classes. I really enjoyed my days, and it was fun getting to know the teachers as co-workers. Many were surprised I was actually a certified teacher and had been working as a lunch supervisor. Due to government regulations, the hiring process is really ...regulated and there's a process to go through from daily supply to long term occasional (LTO), to eventually permanent. In the last few years, the process was taking up to 7-10 years for most non-French teachers. If I hadn't been doing lunch supervision, I wouldn't have had the references to even apply for supply work.

Towards the end of the school year, it really slowed down. These weeks, I really wished I could select my own jobs. And I hated on some days I'd get the call and I'd have to say "no". I finally got my interview on the second last day of school.

I didn't hear anything until August 14! It felt like forever. I had to go for another sign up session, but not until Aug 27. In the meantime, I applied for a 0.6 LTO which included junior and senior music. I had an interview on Aug 24. What this meant was you'd be working 60% of the week, which could be 3 full days, or 2 full days and two half days, or 1 full day and four half days...and at the interview, they didn't know exactly what the schedule would be until they hired the person. And school started on Sept  4. They said they'd let me know either way, but actually they never did (unless I missed a call, but they could have emailed). It really was more of a job than I wanted to start with, but still a good opportunity to interview!

At our sign up session we were told it would be about two weeks to receive our email address (which we already had since most of us had been emergency supplies) and get entered into the system, which we already were sort of, due to being emergency supplies. However, after two weeks, we were still waiting. We thought it would be a quick and easy transfer. There had been a massive hiring spree at the end of the summer and they were extremely behind. Through a FB group, I found out there was a LTO opening at the school I had been emergency supply. The posting was closing in a couple days. I emailed HR and said "It'd be a shame if I can't apply to an internal job that I'm qualified for because of administrative delays". I got my info the next day. I applied to the job (it was still in the internal employee listing process--the other job had gone "external")...but never heard anything!! I know who got it though and I'm happy for her. But jealous still LOL!

Finally, I got my first call. It was an advance call, and high school MUSIC!! Holy Smokes. Just throw me right in there!

Some weeks have been good, with 2 days, usually booked in advance or the night before. I've only had one "day of" call--mainly because I realize I can't cope with the anxiety of the phone in the morning. Some weeks have been quite slow. One week I had a half day.

Other FB group members say this has been an extremely slow year. There used to be lots of jobs posted in the evening to "shop" from. Now, everything is assigned through the call out procedure and nothing makes it to the job board. Hopefully it picks up soon! I've had some great days, and some not-so-great days and I hope to write more about my experiences. Right now, I have to go wrap Lucy's birthday presents! She turns 16 today!!!!