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Archive for the ‘Occasional Teacher’


Optimism Vs. The Supply List: What I’ve Learned So Far 3

Posted on February 02, 2016 by Allison Dyjach

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek

Scenario 1: Wake up at 6:45am, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, pack up your bags, wait patiently. Stare at phone, stare at phone for longer, stare at phone while you still don’t get a phone call to teach. Check email in desperation. No jobs. Force yourself to continue on with the day while checking phone at 15-minute intervals. Continue attempts to be productive, checking that the volume on your phone is still on every hour. 1pm, no use checking anymore. Carry on with your day, go to bed, with hopes that tomorrow will be better.

Scenario 2: Wake up at 6:45am, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, pack up your bags, wait patiently. Phone rings, listen for job, accept job, rush around the house collecting your things. Hang out with kids all day, mingle with teachers and administrators, wander around school looking for the bathroom, encounter technological difficulties of some sort, have a great moment with a student, have a challenging moment with a student, remember why you fell in love with teaching. Bell rings, send them on their way, tidy classroom and go on your way. Carry on with your day, go to bed, with hopes that tomorrow will be even better.

Overhead of smartphone with pen

https://tribktla.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/table-thinkstockphotos-495842183.jpg

Every Tuesday and Friday since January, this has been my life. I was one of the fortunate ones that managed to get myself onto a supply list within a year of graduating teacher’s college, but due to a previous job commitment can only supply two days a week for the time being. When I tell my friends excitedly that I have been supply teaching, they ask about the schools I have been to, what I have had to teach, how the kids are, etc. I tell them about how good it feels to be in a classroom again, and a few funny anecdotes that seem to come with each job. Then, this next question always seems to come up: “So how do you know if you’re going to get a call or not?” I laugh and tell them the truth—you don’t. There is no way to know if I will receive one of those random calls each morning. I go on to tell my friends about my morning routine, how I wake up early and am ready to head out the door by 7:30am, in the event that I do get a phone call. I explain all of this to them, and then I am generally met with a look of disbelief. Compared to 99% of other jobs, it may seem ludicrous that I get dressed up and ready to go to a job that might not even exist that day. But, as I said, this is my life.

For the past four weeks I have experienced almost every emotion imaginable when it has come to my job prospects. The first day that I was available to supply and did not receive a call, I spent the majority of my morning listening to sad music and napping on the couch. In contrast, the second time I was left without a job, I read a book, completed a whole list of work for my current online course, applied to summer jobs, did laundry, cooked a healthy lunch, and several other productive and positive things. This is one of the great difficulties of being an occasional teacher. The days that you teach can make you feel on top of the world—feeling like you are making connections and impacting students and inching closer towards that dream of having your own classroom. But then, the days when you sit at home praying for the phone to ring and it simply doesn’t, it can make you feel a little bit, well, defeated.

 

So, advice time. Like I said, I am still very new to this. It has only been a month, so I would say I am still in the “honeymoon” phase where getting calls 50% of the time makes me jump for joy. But there are some things that I have learned already that seem to make a difference about whether I am going to spend the day napping on the couch, or running around the house actually getting work done:

  • Focus on the good. I know it’s hard to; I have days where optimism is not even on my radar (ie. the couch days). But, if you are on a supply list–guess what–that means that that a school
    44aa6dce773d6c97d0a4f568ad48b940

    This will hang in my classroom someday…

    board likes you. It means that you met with school board administrators in an interview and they thought you would be a good teacher. Your skills are valued and you have the opportunity to engage with students, even if it’s only for 6 hours of their entire lives. Remember why you got into teaching in the first place (hint, to spend time with kids!), so when you’re having a low day, you can think back to some of your favourite teaching moments to get yourself back into your “happy place.” Slowly but surely, you are making a difference in peoples’ lives, and supply teaching is the first step for all of that.

  • That being said, starting out in the teaching world can be frustrating (for those of you reading around the globe, the teaching market in Ontario is a tricky one to navigate right now). Now this is the important part: it is okay to feel frustrated, and upset, and sad, and depressed, and really, really angry. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about being upset, so deal with these feelings in a way that works best for you. Talk with friends or family, write, create art, or work out. And remember, there is a difference between dealing with negative emotions and dwelling on them. It’s healthy to be sad about something, but if you find that the negativity is impacting other aspects of your life such as sleeping/eating habits, social life, or motivation, reach out for help so that you can get the support that you need.
  • Find productive ways to spend time on days off. At this very moment, I am writing this article because I did not receive a supply call today. Enroll in an online course or look into other professional development opportunities; use a day off to prep meals/lunches for the week; start that teaching blog you’ve always wanted to create; or use it to actually make some of the Pinterest teaching DIY’s you’ve been putting off. Just because you’re not “working” doesn’t mean you can’t get work done.
  • People will comment, and question, and try to give advice…take it all with a grain of salt. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they have a nephew or a cousin or their boyfriend’s best friend went to China or England to get a teaching job…I wouldn’t need a job anymore. I could also get rich from the amount of times people have told me “the teaching job market is so difficult right now!” or that it will be impossible for me to find a job. I am very aware of these things. I did not expect to land a full time teaching job the year after teacher’s college, but yes, I still want to be a teacher. I find that because teaching is such a widespread and public career, it can come with a lot of unwanted commentary. Many people will give you advice that is genuinely helpful; in cases like these, keep your ears open and take all of the advice you can get. But other times, comments can catch you off guard and make you doubt the decisions you have made (maybe you should have gone to China…). But, if you have a passion for teaching and you have dreams of having your own classroom in a school, then this is the route you have to take—don’t let others shake your confidence.
tumblr_m5xj3f8WPD1qastsxo1_500

Another favourite. Thank you, Pinterest.

Do these tips make me an expert? Not a chance. I don’t know everything, but what I do know is that I have a long road ahead of me when it comes to occasional teaching, long-term occasional placements, and part time contracts, so I want to do everything that I can to ensure that I am not in a state of burn out when the opportunity for a full time position does come knocking. Remaining optimistic, taking care of ourselves, and working as hard as possible are some of the only things that we can control when it comes to supply teaching. I’m sure all of you have seen one of those “Attitude is Everything!” posters in a classroom before. Well, those posters aren’t just for students. Attitude is everything and remaining positive in the face of uncertainty can help keep you focused and grounded. Each morning, one of those two scenarios will happen…and it’s up to you to make the most of whatever side the coin lands on.

 

We want to hear from YOU too! What did you do/are doing currently to remain positive during your first couple of months working as a supply teacher? Any advice to share with our readers? Leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter!

 

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Teaching a Combination Class: The Lounge: Episode 12 0

Posted on May 07, 2013 by Natasha

On today’s show, Andrew and Natasha join up for the long awaited return of The Lounge Podcast.  It has been a while, but as many of you know, life as a teacher is hard work…and can be quite busy too!  This episode features conversations about life as a combination/split grade teacher.  Listen in to hear about tips, tricks, must-do activities, and more!  Read the show notes below and don’t forget to download & subscribe to the podcast on iTunes today!

Photo via: Sanya Khetani, articles.businessinsider.com

SHOW NOTES
Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Teaching a Combination Class

Quick Tip for Tomorrow:
Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Inside/Outside Circles or Concentric Circles
  • Natasha: Food Bin

The Rookie Resource Bank:
Any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.

  • Andrew: Ontario Curriculum Unit Planners (link)
  • Natasha: Knowing What Counts Series (Anne Davies)

Quick Shout Outs

  1. We want to take a moment and thank everyone for continuing to support our site – we have reached over 10,000 visitors. Thank you !
  2. We hope you continue to watch for Natasha who is co-moderating the #ntchat with Lisa Dabbs – on Wednesday nights at 8:00pm EST
  3. Please join us and 248 others on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher
  4. We are also spending time gathering some great ideas for the classroom on Pinterest (http://bit.ly/rookiepins) – we are up to 2742 followers on our collab board – let us know if you’d like to contribute.
  5. If you believe in what we’re doing & want to support our team, we have buttons available – send us a FB message, tweet, or email and we will get one out to you ASAP!
  6. Watch for our Lounge Express Series – starting soon!

Like what you’ve heard? Have more questions? Contact us:

Andrew: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, or email me Andrew@TheRookieTeacher.ca, I am currently focusing on pinterest as my social media project

Natasha: I blog at TheRookieTeacher.ca, follow me on twitter @yoMsDunn, or email me Natasha@TheRookieTeacher.ca

RookieTeacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCA, Facebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

 

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Being a Rookie means Being Busy 1

Posted on May 03, 2012 by Natasha

3 février 1975 ...  flickr: Môsieur J. [version 7.0.1]

"3 février 1975 ..." || flickr.com: Môsieur J.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

When you’re a Rookie with your 1st class…you’re awfully busy!

<wait for it>

..BUT…

In my opinion – it’s a good thing.

It means you’ve done at least 3 things:

  1. You worked really hard to get a Long Term Occasional or Permanent job (university, more university, AQ courses, resume building, interview prep, volunteering, networking, etc…)
  2. You’re working really hard to engage students in rich learning tasks, foster a love of lifetime learning, build community in your classroom, motivate students to be leaders and collaborate in a variety of subject areas, and reflecting on your practices as a teacher (this lesson worked, this one could have used ____, next time I’ll probably leave out _____, etc…)
  3. You’re maintaining your reputation, building new professional learning networks, and getting involved in your school community

So, if things are a little slow around TheRookieTeacher.ca … you know why… we’re busy little beavers.

We would love to hear your stories…How do you find the new workload? How are you preparing for a new job? Let us know in the comment section below.

ps. please feel free to pass this blog post along to your friends/family members who haven’t seen you in a while (maybe they’ll better understand life as a new teacher)

<See you in The Lounge>

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Occasional Teacher Mini Series: Planning/Prep Coverage: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 7 7

Posted on February 20, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

Welcome to our Occasional Teacher Mini Series.  On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss Life as Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes.  It’s no secret that as rookies, most of us will begin our careers as a supply teacher, 0.## contracts, planning, rotary, long term occasional teacher, etc. Chances are that you will begin your permanent (or LTO) in a part-time contract with prep coverage, even .18, is better than nothing!  Listen in to hear Andrew share his experiences as a French Teacher, including: his classroom management strategies, the routines he built, and how he manages assessment and evaluation for ~200 students.

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Life as a Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Magazine Boxes (for yourself, for students who require accommodation, and to keep your students organized). As a bonus, you can have students decorate them (according to The Arts: Visual Arts curriculum). There are many DIY magazine box projects on Pinterest.com.
  • NatashaPermanent 4-corner sheets (put them in page protectors with butterfly clips for easy transportability)
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
  • AndrewIndex Cards on a Ring (assessment/evaluation strategies, observation notes, handy to pass off to someone else). Option: colour code them!
  • Natasha: CDs (or websites) that come with resource/text books – USE THEM!  Often contain lesson plans, printables, assessment/evaluation strategies
Quick Shout Outs
  1. New Teacher Chat <#ntchat> on Wednesdays at 8:00pm EST on twitter > twebevent.com/ntchat [using this website saves you from having to add the hashtag to each post]
  2. Thank you to all the guest bloggers who have submitted an article to the site – we really appreciate your support and willingness to share your stories and experiences
photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss So, you’re the new one, eh?

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Occasional Teacher Mini Series: The Supply Teacher: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 6 0

Posted on February 05, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

Welcome to our Occasional Teacher Mini Series.  On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss The Supply Teacher. It’s no secret that as rookies, most of us will begin our careers as a supply teacher, long term occasional teacher, 0.## contracts, planning, rotary, etc. That’s why Natasha and Andrew discuss supply teaching tips, routines, and networking, we look into the classroom teacher’s perspective, and finish off with a bag ‘o tricks for the occasional teacher.

Roscoe Considers Recording a Podcast

photo: zoomer, flickrcc.net

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Occasional Teacher Mini Series: The Supply Teacher

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Conferencing Notes (Supply): Create a sheet that works for you that shows the classroom teacher who you helped, gave advice to etc.
  • Natasha: Mix up seating arrangements with colour strips
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
  • Andrew: Centralized Digitized Media Services from your school board
  • Natasha: iTunes playlist
shout!

photo: suneko, flickrcc.net

Quick Shout Outs

  1. Any feedback you can give us for TheRookieTeacher.ca or The Lounge Podcast would be greatly appreciated > it’s as simple as commenting on the blog, sending us a tweet, posting to the FB page, or emailing us
  2. #ntchat on Wednesdays at 8:00pm EST on twitter > Natasha recommends using twebevent.com/ntchat
  3. Also check out our friends at CampHacker.org and the CampHacker podcast – camp directors are a lot like teachers

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss Life as Rotary (Planning) Teacher: When you only have 40 minutes…

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BEd Alternatives: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 5 5

Posted on January 16, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

On this episode, four RookieTeachers discuss Bachelor of Education Alternatives: How are you using your BEd outside the classroom? With special guests Rebecca Jess and Rob Kempson, Natasha and Andrew investigate how Bachelor of Education graduates spend their time working outside of the classroom.  Listen in to learn how Rob manages his time between Occasional Teaching and working in the drama communities in Toronto and how Rebecca’s interest in the arts and summer camping has led her to a full time job as a Summer Camp Director.

Rob Kempson and Rebecca Jess

Guest: Rob Kempson and Rebecca Jess

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Bachelor of Education Alternatives: How are you using your BEd outside the classroom?

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Procedural Writing using Origami
  • Rob: Super Sonic Simon Says
  • Rebecca: Grabbing Attention with Jingles (i.e., Sleep Country; Justin Bieber’s song Baby)
  • Natasha: WallWisher.com
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
Quick Shout Outs
  1. Happy New Year! 2012 is going to be a great year for TheRookieTeacher.ca.  Stay tuned, we have LOTS of amazing things planned.
  2. We reached our goal of 100 Likes (and counting) on Facebook.  Thank you for helping us spread the word about our page.  Please continue to share and post questions.
  3. Don’t forget about the great discussions happening on Twitter.  Edutopia with Lisa Dabbs host the #ntchat every Wednesday night from 8-9pm EST on twitter.

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCA, Facebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks again so much to our guests:

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss Life as a Prep/Rotary/”drop in” Teacher: When you only have 40-60 minutes.

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Preferred Lists: Are you listed? 10

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Michelle

Given the number of inquiries and misconceptions about OT [occasional teacher] opportunities, it is my hope this post will help to provide some clarity in relation to the preferred lists in Ontario school boards.

113:365 - Casterings Director by Nomadic Lass, flickrCC

Photo by Nomadic Lass, flickrCC.net

What is a preferred list, you might ask? In some boards, OTs can request to be added to a school’s list for “guaranteed” supply opportunities, placing them in priority sequence. In order to be added, they must have previous placement or work experience at the school. The purpose is simple – quality classroom consistency. Rather than sending requests through the internal callout system, teachers, administrators, and school secretaries may book specific OTs in advance. These lists, however, can be difficult to gain access to and often invoke the “it’s all in who you know” argument among those who have yet to be placed on a preferred list.

Preferred lists, however, are highly dependent on the OT locals’ collective agreement. In many cases, school boards have disposed of these internal preferred or emergency supply lists in favour of an automated system, which call out in a rotational, alphabetical or qualifications-based order. The following school boards have confirmed they do not offer internal preferred lists:

  • Limestone District School Board
  • Durham Catholic District School Board
  • Greater Essex County District School Board
  • Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board
  • Simcoe County District School Board
  • Bluewater District School Board
  • Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board

In York Region District School Board and in Peel District School Board, the number of teaching staff at each school determines the percentage of OTs listed – 15% of elementary staff and 10% of secondary staff can be placed on the preferred list. The school must submit the names of these preferred OTs to the board office, who are then given priority in the call out system. If you are successful in gaining access to these preferred lists, you are, however, limited to 2 schools, and will be removed if offered an LTO or permanent position.

In the District School Board of Niagara, school administrators may input jobs though the SEMS system directly to the preferred OT. Unlike YRDSB, there is no formal application process, rather it occurs through word of mouth.

While Avon-Maitland District School Board discourages the use of preferred lists given it can “tie up” the call out system, principals are entitled to setting up their own independent of the HR system.

In Wellington Catholic District School Board, while teachers may not request OTs, both school administrators and the secretaries may request a supply teacher. However, the board operates a fair call out procedure in that if one OT receives more calls than others, it can be limited. Similar to WCDSB, teachers and administrators in the Trillium Lakeheads District School Board can place [up to three] requests for specific OTs. However, if they are unavailable, the call is rerouted to the dispatcher, as opposed to an automated call out system.

The Waterloo District School Board and Halton District School Board make allowances for preferred lists, based on the recommendations of permanent teachers.

The question then remains, how do I get on to a preferred list?

Avengers by Dunechaser, flickrCC.net

photo by: Dunechaser, flickrCC.net

  • Make yourself known when you are in the school – introduce yourself to the staff and administrators! Lend a hand wherever needed. Socialize in the staff room. Leave contact information!
  • Carefully FOLLOW the lesson plans left by the permanent teacher!
  • DO leave a note or send an informative email to follow up after the day. DON’T leave a novel!
  • Ask about preferred lists and the procedures. Upon request, send your resume to the school administrator and show your interest in returning to their school!
  • Be sincere in all intentions – the school secretary and administrators do not wish to be bribed with chocolates, cards, and candies!

Are you on a preferred list? If so, what was your experience – please share! Regardless, I would love to hear your thoughts on preferred lists. Let’s help to minimize these misconceptions and educate one another in our journeys as “rookie teachers”!

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