August 31, 2013

A Very Frustrating Week

Last Sunday, I wrote that I had some AMAZING news that I wanted to share with you guys.  However, it turns out that my amazing news aren't so amazing anymore.  Let me start at the beginning.

As most of you know, I'm a substitute teacher.  Although I have been doing this for 6 years now, it's not what I want to do with my life.  I desperately want my own classroom, but the teaching jobs in Ontario are slim to none right now, which makes it very difficult to find even a long term contract, let alone a permanent position.

My amazing news, you ask?  Friday afternoon, while I was grocery shopping, I got the call I was waiting for all summer.  I was offered a long term contract, in a grade 4 and 5 split class.  I was caught by surprise, and didn't quite understand what they were offering me, so I had to ask her to repeat herself.  This late in the summer, I thought for sure all the positions had already been assigned!  I was literally jumping up and down in the grocery store as I hurried to call my best friend (more about her later) to tell her the good news.  My mind started spinning with everything that I had to do to get ready for this position.  I only had 5 days to do it!

It was the longest weekend of my life.  We had made plans to go to camp with some friends that we hadn't seen in years and it was very hard for me to take off my teacher hat and not stress over everything that I had to do to get ready for the first day back (September 3).

On Monday morning, I made the 1.5 hr drive to my new school and met with the principal.  I spent the entire afternoon in the classroom, cleaning and organizing all the resources.  I hadn't brought anything to set up the classroom yet, but planned on going shopping for all of that on Tuesday.  Five hours of sweat and dust later, I was satisfied and started on the drive home, excited about setting up "my" classroom and planning for the first week.  On my drive home, I got a phone call on my cell phone from the school board and my heart just sank.  I had this feeling that something was wrong.

Sure enough.  They made a mistake.  The government of Ontario has recently implemented new regulations for fair hiring practices.  When it comes to a long term contract, teachers are hired based on seniority. Human resources accidentally gave me the position when someone who is higher up in seniority had also applied and they had to offer it to her.  I was devastated.

Summer is always the WORST time of the year for me. It's when I feel the most pressure and when I get the most discouraged when I still don't have a position come September.  This year, I tried not to let it stress me out too much.  In April, I had actually decided that if I don't get at least a long term contract this school year, I was going to pursue another career.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I mean, how much longer can I take the frustration of always being called at the last minute?  Of not knowing where I'll be each day?  Of making stupid mistakes because I'm trying to remember 12 different school schedules? Of being treated as less important by staff because I'm "only a substitute teacher"?  Of being tested to the extreme on a daily basis by students who think they can get away with murder because I'm not their regular classroom teacher?  Of being taken advantage of and given the worst classes and assignments just because I can handle it?  Enough is enough.  At least that's how I've been feeling.

I understand completely how this happened, and I don't blame anyone for the mistake.  That's exactly what it is.  A mistake.  We are only human, even the people who work in the human resources department of our school boards.  I have to be grateful that I didn't spend any money or any more time decorating the classroom.  I've heard stories of teachers setting up and being completely ready for the first day, only to get "bumped" out of the job at the very last minute.  I have to hope that something even better will come out of this.

So what do I do now?  Now that school starts in a few days and I still don't have a position?  Now that I've told myself that I'll take a leave of absence for a year and move on to a more stable, secure job?

I sit by the phone and wait for the phone calls to come in for daily subbing jobs. For the seventh year in a row.  I breathe in and out, tell myself that I'm a great teacher and that this isn't personal.  I put on a happy face and walk into the next school, the next classroom and pretend that I love being a substitute teacher.  I look at the brighter sides of things and am grateful that I can "teach" almost every day in the school year, even if it is as a sub teacher.

Why?  Because teaching is what I'm meant to do and I can't picture myself doing anything else.
Waiting for my "forever classroom" is all I can do.



14 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness that is absolutely horrible! It's heartbreaking.
    Are you tied to Ontario? I live in TX and although jobs are not plentiful...you could easily get a job down here!!
    Deniece

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    1. Moving is not an option right now, no. I've been told that I could probably also get a job in southern Ontario, but I'm terrified of moving and ending up in the same boat I'm in now. I've already moved my family from Ontario to Alberta for my job, and I just can't do that to them again. I do a lot of sub teaching, so money isn't even the issue. It's bigger than that. I want to teach. But, I won't sacrifice my family's sanity for my own. ;)

      Thanks for your comment!

      Renee

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear this! :(
    ((hugs!!))
    Hang in there friend!
    Jivey
    ideas by jivey
    Follow Me On Facebook! :)

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    1. Thanks for your support Jivey! If it weren't for this great community of teacher bloggers that I have met in the last year, I can honestly say that I don't think I'd be hanging on right now. I can 'teach' through all of your classrooms. :P

      Renee

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  3. Renee,
    I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and get you the BEST JOB EVER! You deserve it, your determination and positive attitude would be an asset to ANY school. They would be lucky to get you. Hang in there, things have to get better. You have friends out here rooting for you!
    Sidney
    Teachingisagift

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    1. Thanks Sidney. It means so much to me. :')

      Renee

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  4. Let me just say in my world, where our school is only able to secure TWO subs for our list...subs are like rock stars, and days are sure miserable without them! Best of luck to you and your dreams, but know how valuable what you are doing is!

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    1. Thank you! :) I know the majority of teachers appreciate subs.

      Renee

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  5. I agree with Deanna! Good subs are rock stars! I hope you know how valuable you are to the teachers and students in those classes. Don't give up on your dream, but do realize that substitute teachers are very important. I'm sending you hugs and positive thoughts!

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  6. As a classroom teacher, I have always appreciated a great sub. You are hard to come by. I know that's not what you really want to hear, but it is the truth. We started school 2 weeks ago (3 if you count our week) and we have what's called the ten day count. Not sure if you have that in Canada. So on Thursday, teachers who already set up, already had their classes and have already been teaching those classes (nevermind bonding), were told they were being switched to another grade level. So on my team, a 3rd grade teacher was put back into 1st - mind you, she was moved at the end of last year to 3rd! So she packed everything last year, moved into another building, only to move back this weekend. Another 1st grade teacher was put in Kindergarten in another room. Sometimes teachers are sent to other schools after the ten day count. My wish for you is that you will get your forever classroom because you clearly have a heart for teaching.

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    1. With the boards I work with, they have until October (we start the first week of September) to shuffle things around. When I had my long term contract, there was talk of splitting up some grades and losing a teacher (which would have been me!) completely for that year. I could have been teaching for a month, then find myself without a position at all. That would've been the absolute worst! I have to still be grateful that things aren't as bad as they could be. I'm lucky to even be on the substitute teacher list! There are a lot of young teachers who can't even get a sub job.

      Renee

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  7. Hi there,
    As another Ontario teacher I feel for you! I was really hoping that you would get something this year because it is an especially difficult time in Ontario with the new hiring practices. At my board, for each position they need to interview the 5 most senior people with the qualifications sought after for each position. Though this was great for me with my qualifications, it makes it especially difficult for other teachers. I imagine this is the case in elementary where they have a much larger pool. If you are considering moving "down south" be sure to do the research on the board. You may potentially end up in a worse situation: my board has interviews for supply teachers (list 1) and from there to be considered for an LTO position you must have been with the board for 10 months (really that's a year in teacher time) and must have supplied 20 days (that's list 2). That may not seem like a lot of days, but there are so many supply teachers that many of them do not reach that number of days until June, if at all. From there, to get permanent work you must be on list 2 and have completed an LTO position. At the shortest length it will still be 2 years, if all the stars align.

    You know I wish you all the best! Keep doing the amazing things that you are doing and get yourself noticed. Talk to the principals of the schools you are in, make sure they know you and make them want you. Show off your materials. Your time will come, and when it does let me know if you want to practice interview questions (I've interviewed 5 times this year in my own board, and it has led me to a permanent contract). If you got the position (though it was taken away) you know they like you so they'll want to hire you again :)
    Good luck!!
    Michelle
    Mrs. Brosseau's Binder - Math & Science Teaching with a Twist

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I appreciate your encouraging words! :) You described the hiring process so well. And we're not considering moving. I've already moved my family across the country for my job once, then had to come back to Ontario because we couldn't make ends meet. I'm not about to move them again, for my own selfish reasons. For now, all I can do is be patient, and be grateful that I'm at least working.

      Renee

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  8. Wow Renee,
    I just came across your blog and resources and read a bit of your story! I can't believe how hard you are finding it to get permanent or LTO!...and you have French qualifications?
    Personally I graduated in 2011, was able to get on the supply list right away, and did a full year LTO 2011-2012. It was the best opportunity of my life, and I absolutely loved it!! I worked so hard and was very fortunate there was a permanent position opening up the following year, and I got it! This is now my 3rd year teaching at the same school - and it is amazing! If I didn't get permanent last year I know I would be waiting probably 5 years based on these new hiring regulations. I am also in Southern Ontario - primary.
    Based on what I have seen on your blog you are obviously an amazing teacher! Thank you for sharing your resources and expertise, keep at it, and I know it will happen soon for you! I hope that a re-org/primary compliance day at end of sept you get something!

    Caitlin

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