So Yellow Rose posted a comment (Hi there! Yellow Rose!) about my previous post about substitute teaching, money, testing and silliness in general. And her comment was right on target:
"So is Awesome Sub not interested in the full-time job, or does she not have the paper qualifications to get on full-time? She sounds ideal."
The answer is....both.
Awesome Sub was pretty much offered the job as long as she took the Praxis and passed. It was her's for the taking.
Except she really didn't want it.
Awesome Sub and I talked quite a bit over the few weeks she was here, and she really was awesome. But she felt completely overwhelmed. She had a Fifth Period Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself (if I know most of the kids in the class from their stints in ISS as sixth graders, then you know it's a tough bunch). And it was a class of 36. And it was an inclusion class. And even with an aide in there, They Would Not Be Quiet and Behave. She told me the only time they got quiet was when I was in there and threatened to haul the lot of them off to ISS for several days.
And that was just the beginning. She was overwhelmed by the time spent planning, and in meetings, and grading papers, and prepping for labs, and generally just all the things that go into being a teacher these days. And she has her own middle school son and felt that she wasn't being the Mother to her own kid that she wanted, and he was being short-changed because of all the time she put into her job.
So she's actually applied for an Aide position, which is a lot less stress, and would still give her a steady paycheck and benefits. And she can leave at 2:30 and take her own kid to his soccer games, and out to dinner after when they suffer a loss and he's upset, and help him do his homework.
I have noticed a trend the past few years with some of our staff - and I don't think our school is unique in this by any measure. Many teachers are leaving because the cost to stay is just too high in terms of emotional well-being.
One of our best sixth grade language arts teachers, who had rock star test scores, decided she had had enough and quit to stay home and being a mom to her kids. She and her husband realize that money will be significantly tighter than when she was working, but now, instead of grading papers all night, she's spending time with her own kids.
Another rising star math teacher quit a few years ago and is now installing fencing. He blames the hours and time put into his teaching job as a contributing factor in the break up of his marriage. Now he has half the stress, makes about the same amount of money, and is able to spend a lot of time with his little girls.
I even had some serious thoughts about leaving myself a few years ago. I was leaving school every day at 6:00 pm, spending all day Saturday grading and prepping, and was constantly being told it wasn't enough. When I started teaching, lesson plans were written in a 3" square block in a lesson plan book. Now we not only need weekly plans, typed, but daily plans, also typed, which are so scripted they explain exactly what you're going to do and say during every minute of class - and can run to two pages long. The hours, the stress, the pressure to get those almighty test scores was tremendous.
And along the way we forgot that these were kids, and not test scores.
If I hadn't been given the gift of ISS, I probably would be out of the profession by now. I have a degree in business, and can run an office with one hand tied behind my back, so finding a job outside of the profession was feasible. I was at the point where something had to give.
And then I was given ISS and decided to stay. At least for a while.