I was hired by the WRDSB, or Waterloo Region District School Board in October 2010 and began my first year as an “Occasional Teacher” – covering for full-time teachers. I wish I had blogged throughout the school year, but was too busy calling Subfinder for jobs! I ended up working a fair amount this year, and as I am expecting baby #2 in October, I will be doing more of the same this year. However, it was very hard watching some very interesting LTO opportunities pass me by. Looking forward to applying next year.
I have taken several workshops during this time and hope to update this blog with the latest research and resources throughout the year, including interview tips, assessment, junior math, and technical resources!
Part of my LTO this year was covering for a medical leave. Fortunately for them, they came back early and are doing well. Unfortunately for me, that means OTing in the afternoons again after several years of LTOs.
What can I tell you about the experience?
- Teachers assume you are familiar with the school and the grade. I teach 7/8 in the mornings. Recently, I have been in some kindergarten classrooms. While I was supervising an hour of outdoor play time (which I didn’t dress for – 20 minutes of duty I could handle, but an hour was COLD!!!), but I was unsure if I could let the students go in to pee by themselves. Not a big deal. I also forget that students don’t bring me the attendance! In 7/8, I trust that some student will plop the attendance folder in my hand.
- Nutrition breaks are AWKWARD! I hate sitting silently at a table listening quietly to other teachers’ conversations. Some teachers are good at giving eye contact to let you know you can participate. Others give you impatient glares if you try to insert yourself into their “private” conversation. So, returning to a school over and over again means you get to talk during lunch, which is nice! Even a simple, “Who are you in for?” makes me feel a little more welcome.
- Duty isn’t self-explanitory. Please include the little details, like WHERE on the playground you are covering, or which rooms are included in the “Junior hall”, or even what the rules are. For example, kindergartens often aren’t allowed to talk when eating. I often forget that fact as an intermediate teacher.
- I have several teachers put down that I have duty when I don’t. Since I often drive to the school during what would be my own planning time or lunch, I don’t always get a break during the day. The teachers who are supposed to do duty are very quick to let me finish their duty for them. As an OT, I just grin and say “ok” but secretly, I would love to eat lunch and sit down for a moment, too.
- Marking. If you leave marking for us to do during planning time, please make sure you leave a teacher copy from which to use as a template. I once had a teacher leave me piles upon piles of marking for a 3-day assignment. I could not make heads or tails of their math test, and essays, well, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be looking for. Multiple choice,…well, sure I can handle that.
- Principals and VPs. Sorry, but I may introduce myself to you or hand you my card.Yes, I know you are very busy, but no, I don’t want to supply forever so it would be really helpful if you knew my name and face. Call me!