The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

How It All Works

Today was, like most of the Mondays in October, a day in which I did not have a teaching assignment. I have no idea why this has been the case, but I did make good use of my day off. You see, this weekend was the 25th anniversary of the release of “Back to the Future” and so, of course, I spent the day watching the entire series. In addition to remembering how amazingly awesome the trilogy is, I managed to succeed in getting my wife to upgrade her opinion of the series from “terrible” to “okay” and if that isn’t a success, I don’t know what is!

Now, due to the fact that this blog is dedicated to substituting, it would be a shame for me to leave my post at that. Fortunately, my friend Hannah gave me the idea for what I can write about. She wanted to know how I go about actually receiving assignments to substitute teach, and I realised that I should take time to explain the process.

The first thing you need to know is that in the Champaign school district, all substitute teachers are hired on an as-needed basis. There are some districts that actually have full-time substitute teachers, and I wish Champaign was one of them, but, alas, ’tis not so. Instead, I have work when I am needed. When I first started working as a sub, I learned about assignments through phone calls, either between 5 and 10 pm or after 5 am in the morning. This made the entire process quite difficult, and is probably a reason why I didn’t have many assignments last year.

Champaign instituted a new system this year, though, which has been quite awesome. All substitute assignments are placed through a third-party online service called Aesop, that uses Frontline Placement Services. Any time, any day, I can log on to the site and see what jobs are available in my district. Most of the time, I get this message: “All qualifying Jobs are currently filled. However, please review this web site periodically for new Jobs listings.” Eventually, though, something will show up. It will tell me the school, teacher, date, and time of the assignment, and I am given the option to accept it or reject it. As soon as I accept the assignment, I receive an email that confirms the information. It is also kept on my personal home page on the Aesop site.

This is also why I sometimes receive an assignment at midnight. Teachers are notorious about not wanting to miss work. So if they get sick, they will wait until the last possible moment to decide that they simply can’t go in to work, and they post the absence online. Fortunately, I wake up periodically throughout the night, so I always check for new assignments if I don’t have for the following day.

There are other things, too, such as non-work days, substitute ratings (visible only to other teachers, not subs), and preferred sub lists, but those are just bonus features. The basic process is log on, search for jobs, accept a job, log off, repeat. And that’s how it all works.

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