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


Today is my 28th birthday. I didn’t teach today, even though there were a couple of assignments I could have accepted. I decided that I would like to have a relatively stress-free birthday, so I chose not to accept the kindergarten and special education assignments that were available. Even though this meant a loss of $90, it was my birthday present to myself. Besides, I had some errands I needed to run. More specifically, I needed to pick up my travel mug that I use to bring herbal tea infusions to school and my book that I was reading. The mug was at Stratton and the book was at Carrie Busey.

It was a nice relaxing day. I had tentatively planned to take advantage of the day off to write up the next part of my philosophy of education, which is currently sitting in a moleskine notebook in note-form (makes sense, right?), but I ended up doing other things instead, like watching The X-Files season one on Netflix and doing some research on my status as a Highly Qualified teacher.

This last is actually an important issue for me. Most of the jobs for which I have applied use an online system called AppliTrack. One of the questions asks if I have obtained a Highly Qualified status from any school districts. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, I am Highly Qualified in the following:

  • Algebra (K-8)
  • Art (K-8)
  • General Math (K-8)
  • Biology
  • Drama/Theatre (K-8)
  • Elementary Self-Contained (K-5)
  • Elementary Self-Contained (K-3)
  • English as a Second Language
  • General Science (K-8)
  • Geography (Middle Grades)
  • History (Middle Grades)
  • Instrumental Music (K-8)
  • Language Arts (1-8)
  • Physical Science (Middle Grades)
  • Reading (K-8)
  • Title I Remedial Math (K-8)
  • Title I Remedial Reading (K-8)
  • Vocal Music (K-8)

That is quite an impressive list, and much, much more than I expected. I thought I was only Highly Qualified in K-9 SCGE, which is what my Elementary Teacher Certificate suggests, but it turns out that, as I have always said is the pragmatic application, I am only qualified for SCGE in K-3 and K-5. Since I am looking for work at an intermediate grades teacher (4-6), this works just fine for me, and was quite a pleasant birthday present. I was able to share this information with an Assistant Superintendent in Mahomet, as well as with a member of the School Board where I grew up, which was all the more pleasant.

Tomorrow I will be subbing for my mother-in-law. Last year her students made a poster for me and brought it to the neighbouring class where I was teaching and sang “Happy Birthday”; I’m curious to see if there will be a reprise of this. Happy birthday to me, Eddie Van Halen, and Australia!


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