In 2011, I decided to put my English degree to use (or so I had hoped) by getting a substitute teaching permit. And, oh, how easy did people make it sound, “just get your substitute teaching permit”, “why don’t you just substitute teach?”…
After failing the writing portion of the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), I had to pay ($70-$130) to re-take the whole thing. One word of advice, when they ask you to write about a charismatic person do NOT write about Charlie Sheen and back it up by evidence of his likeability despite his cheating womanizing ways. The answer they are looking for would probably be J.F.K., for example, or any otherwise popularly known historical figure… writing is so subjective… I re-took it. And I passed.
After that, I paid $69.00 for a Live Scan which is for a dual fingerprint background check by the FBI and Department of Justice. Then, I applied for the 30-day Emergency Substitute Teaching permit for another $86.00. At that time I asked myself, “self, can you really see yourself substitute teaching?” and as I imagined myself in front of an elementary level class, and slowly shrunk into a Cheerio-sized person, hiding, and covering my head underneath the desk as I respectively got booed in my mind’s imagination in said situation.
I did not put to use that permit.
In 2013, I boarded an airplane to teach in China. I was overseas until 2015 and though I had only planned to teach in China, taught in Hong Kong, and Japan as well. I had a very rich experience teaching overseas. I did not have summers off for three consecutive years and so I finally figured that I had four years total of teaching experience considering that I taught for three summers straight.
When I returned in 2015, I got a job at an international college teaching English as a Second Language to college-level students, where I worked for about a year and a half before getting laid-off due to low-student enrollment. I have not taught in exactly one year in four days from now (9/5/2017).
Meanwhile, I have had three financial disasters, I am still undergoing one. I got unemployment benefits, worked seasonally at Staples, and then became a Life-Insurance agent. The company I worked for did not pay me so I have a case with the Department of Labor that is currently undergoing review and the first conference is set for next month.
In the meantime, I renewed that substitute teaching permit… after finally getting it renewed $106 later…
When I got my Life Insurance agent license in the interim, in between then and now, I did not throw my hands up in the air at each and every step, crying, moaning and groaning, fed up at each step, the first obstacle, the whole way through. Quite to the contrary, the day I passed my test with the California Department of Insurance was the proudest I have ever been of myself in my entire life. I studied hard, and I worked even harder. I was fascinated by the field, and it sparked my interest on many levels, so I felt that I had finally found my purpose. However, until the case comes to a conclusion I do not want to seek a Life Insurance agent position.
I do not want to substitute teach, but I will.
The problem is this, there are too many obstacles. Every document has to be in a PDF, I have Word.
I do not have THREE letters of recommendation, in fact, I do not even have ONE.
I have a resume, but not in PDF format.
By the time I get to a job that I can actually apply to because it only requires a resume, my substitute teaching permit, and a negative TB test, it has been an hour. An hour of reading job description, and job requirements, after job description and job requirements to get to a page where I cannot upload the document in Word format, at which point I throw my hands up in the air and yell in frustration, “I have no desire whatsoever to substitute teach, NONE WHATSOEVER, ABSOLUTELY NONE!”
And it IS upsetting, because for not even wanting to stupid substitute teach, even now with 4 unpleasant, dreadful years of teaching experience under my belt, the hamster wheel of Edjoin.org paired with the San Diego Unified School District maze which also appears to be a dead-end to NOWHERE is frustrating. I spin my wheels, waste my time, and at the end of the day get nowhere near any closer today than I was yesterday in the run-around of the wicked web which has me going in circles in the same damn search request for a substitute teaching position. Fed up? Yes, absolutely. Considering what it took to get just the substitute teaching permit itself, yes, it is a bit disappointing. No more disappointing is having to use what I have to fall back on until I seek out how to sell life insurance again. Meaning, substitute teaching is my back-up plan. It is not my first choice, and not even really a 2nd, or 3rd.
According to the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing, I have met the requirements to substitute teach in this state which is why I have been permitted to do so. With such a shortage of substitute teachers, one might think it would be advantageous to simplify the process, especially when considering that substitute teachers have to go through MUCH MORE background, investigation, and testing than do “credentialed” teachers. And some of us have gained in four years what it would take others four decades to accomplish.
The sites make it too easy to give up. I sent a letter last week, and still have not received a response in regards to what they consider to be a “credentialed” substitute teacher. Are they meaning to tell me that there are teachers who are credentialed looking for SUBSTITUTE teaching positions? Well, THAT’S STUPID! DON’T YOU THINK?