So I’m just going to say it… This girl isn’t meant for teaching on call.
Don’t get me wrong – I think I’m pretty good at it, I definitely enjoy the everyday aspects of the job and I am so thankful that I was able to get on a list so quickly in a tough city to find work. I just can’t emotionally handle TOCing… I get stressed, angry, upset, exhausted, and anxious when I don’t have work booked. The same things happen when I get a call the morning of to work. I appreciate the work and always say yes but I just have so much trouble with the unknown of it all – Being prone to anxiety isn’t helpful either. And besides the unknown of it all, after having had a taste of full time work this fall I just don’t find the on call work as satisfying.
But the TOC life does have its benefits – Leaving at the end of the day without piles of marking being a major one. Very little planning and prep, getting home when the sun is still out, seeing a variety of different grades/schools/teachers, etc. So my saying when people ask me about my work is that, for me, TOCing is “less job satisfaction but more life satisfaction.”
And this was great in December! I worked a ton and had lots of time to work out and visit with friends and family! January has been a different story – I’ve worked a lot already (first week back!) but I’ve felt a bit more disheartened about the situation. I am really missing the hard work and job satisfaction piece… I may even be missing the marking? I know, I know you all have hours of marking that I could do for you 😉 but I think what I miss is making my own assignments up and seeing how students bring them to life. I absolutely love seeing my ideas turn into something else when given to a student.
Today I decided I needed to do something about my spirits. I spent some time planning classes that I will probably teach someday (yes I admit it daily – I’m a teacher nerd!) and made year plans and lists of things that I would want to do in my classroom. Now I have been taking notes all along like this since practicum but this was more of an intense sit down and make some concrete plans. I pretended that I was guaranteed a class next fall in a middle school that I’d like to be at and I just sat down and worked. I even typed them up and emailed them to myself so I can actually use them at some point…
It was so much fun – especially since I didn’t have any of the regular pressures of time that come along with actually having a class.
Lately I’ve been really interested in a couple of different approaches to teaching different subjects (mainly centers-based courses, self-directed studies, interactive subject notebooks, and project-based learning) so that is what I spent most of my time on, just trying to think through the logistics of these. Now I’m hoping that I will come across some more excellent examples of these approaches in my TOC work.
Re-framing my point of view has really helped me to look at the bigger picture today. Now I can really see all the benefits I have as a substitute teacher and I’m excited to take advantage of this time because hopefully it will make it easier when I do get my first full time contract.
Any other subs out there? How do you stay engaged in the teaching profession when you are working on call?