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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teaching Frustration

Gail's post today hit home for me and as it turns out a lot of other people. Especially teachers. Gail talked about how working after retirement can help the person end up with fewer diseases and function better on a day-to-day basis.

How does this relate to teachers? Well, these days it seems that a lot of teachers are retiring and then coming back to supply. If I was a retired teacher this seems like a pretty good deal. Retire, collect pension, get extra income, teach without having to plan or mark, see your old colleagues and students. Why would you not continue working after retiring?!

However, for us new teachers it sucks. REALLY  SUCKS. It means less jobs for us new teachers. Less jobs = less incomme.I have applied to about 8 school boards and followed up on my applications. I was told repeatedly that unless I have done a placement within their board that they are not looking to hire. Why aren't they looking to hire for the supply list? Well there are several reasons, major ones being declining enrollment and too many people already on the supply list. Many people on those supply lists are retired teachers.

I have gone into schools and have seen the timesheets of retired supply teachers who have full weeks on theirs, where I have a sad one of two days. There is a lot of internal workings to have the retired teacher in that already knows the students, or have a teacher call their retired friends to come in for them. In a lot of ways THAT sort of thing does not seem fair.

Almost no other company offers this return to employment part-time once you retire deal. Teaching is an exception. I have taken many courses, volunteered for months in schools, many optional PD opportunities, paid for expensive AQ courses, volunteered and worked in other programs relating to children and still am having no luck. I'm not sure what else I could be doing, other than going back and learning French, or applying outside of Ontario. I am very thankful that I have a supply position where I am. There are many in my teacher's college year that still do not have that.

I am thankful that I have supportive friends and family and a job even if I would not be able to survive on the income living alone. It's a tough situation for new teachers. I can continue to supply for a few more years though. I LOVE my job and will be persistent...and try to be patient.


  1. ya, clearly I got a lil upset about that article and a little bit more upset at people's reactions to the newer teachers 'whining'. I really think that unless people have been in this situation they have absolutely no idea what it is like. I just loved (being sarcastic) the comments about taking AQs and French courses or volunteering. All things that require lots of money or making no money. The only reason that the one girl's mom was allowed to take courses and waitress on the side was because her husband was probably making enough money in his career to support a family.

    New teachers all over Ontario are doing exactly the same thing. It really doesn't matter. Heck, I got an interview for a really small LTO that I am not qualified for, nor did I submit a personalized cover letter. However when I applied a few months ago for the same school but in a subject i am very much qualified in.....nothing.

    I think retirement will be sweet. If I had a pension right now my life would be super grand. I have a billion things that I want to do and loads of places that I want to volunteer at.

  2. This is why my mom never wants to retire from teaching :(

    I really feel for all the new teachers out there.

  3. It is absolutely hard to get your foot in the door when you are supply teaching. It took me about 4 years until I got my first temporary.

    We do have a lot of retired teachers here who supply teach.(Currently most are in the US for a long winter) There are about 100 folks on our list of subs to call, which isn't that huge. Last week when I was sick they called over 40 people on our list til they found someone available. That is so much of the secretary's time.

    We couldnt' get a supply teacher for 2 half days last week for teachers out at conferences and though I really should have spent another day at home, there wasn't a body to be found. We need more of them. Badly.

    Our part time teacher, who came this year from Ontario orginially, said that her friends back home are having a heck of a time finding supply teaching, let alone a position. I feel for you Girl.

  4. My Aunt is a teacher who is retiring in 2 years or so and she mentioned that there are new rules now in place that limit the amount of supply teaching for retired teachers. She is bummed because she was planning on supply teaching and it now affects her.

    She said they did it to allow for younger, new teachers to come on board which would help your situation! You should look into this!

  5. Christina I have looked into that, and what is in place now is that retired teachers are allowed to supply for as much as they like for the first three years after they retire. Once those THREE years are up, then they have to cut back to 20 days in a year (or so). If they have 19 days and the month is over, they are allowed to supply for as many days as they like the next month.

    Rebecca, the system just seems so random! I actually haven't applied for any LTOs that I'm not qualified for, maybe I should start doing that too. The rare time an LTO actually does pop up. I know what you mean about what people said to just take French courses, or AQs, easy as that, you will get a job. Not so easy when you have debts and are trying to save for real life. And those courses require going back to university or spending close to $1000.

    Wow Jolie, hearing that makes me want to move out west to work. I wish more people didn't answer their phones here! 4 years is a long time to supply before getting a temporary it seems, but I think it's about average around here. I guess if that is what it takes!

  6. I really feel for you, and I read all the comments yesterday on Gail's blog. Unfortunately, people think teachers whine in general, that they have it easy, blah, blah, blah. I can just hear the frustration in your voice. I have a number of teachers in my family...my aunt retired a few years ago and chooses not to supply. It took my cousin's husband quite a number of years to get a teaching position in a high school in Muskoka. My cousin was lucky, she had a specialty, but even then, she had to take positions and part-times to get her foot in the door that weren't her main subject (Visual Arts).
    Keep plugging away, I am sure your hard work will pay off one day.

  7. I am sorry to hear that it has been so difficult for you to find a position. I have been teaching for 10 years (but I am a French teacher so I was hired right away). I am finishing up my M.Ed, and when I went to my last class, not one newly graduated teacher (from 2006 on) had a job. I know that people in my year had more trouble than I did finding jobs, but nothing like this. Boards making people redundant at the end of the year doesn't help either.
    Keep supplying and getting known. Our board has recently moved to a system where all of the supply days have to go through the computer system. Push your union local to get this rule in place!
    (BTW, retired teachers can do 95 days for the first three years, not an unlimited number. There are rumours that it is going to change to 50 days forever - they can only do 50 in those first three years, but can do 50 days for as many years as they like.)

  8. Anon, oops you are right about the 95 days. I did know that!! I am lucky to get 95 days in my school year though too. I'm not sure 50 days is even a good idea for as long as they like. 50 days for the first 3 years would be better than 95. Hopefully something new is put in place soon. Or call the retired teachers AFTER a few new teachers have had a chance to get the call. Oh well, we will see what happens.

  9. I'm torn on your post. My dad is a retired teacher who was able to supply for the first 5 years of his retirement, 95 days each year. He can only do 20 days now, if he so chooses (he stopped supplying now due to family illnesses). I don't see my dad as taking away supply jobs. Rather, he opened up a full-time permanent position for some teacher.

    I am a supply teacher who has gone from supply, to LTO, to supply and back to LTO's for 3 years now.... still waiting for that ever elusive permanent position. Maybe my board is different, but they've been hiring supplies in fairly large numbers for the past few years. The school that I'm at with my current long term has had to cancel numerous classes as we don't have enough supplies to cover them. We are on a computerized call-out system. No preference over who comes to your classroom. It doesn't depend on the secretary, principal, or teacher who's away, just where the system last left off. I would definitely push your union to initiate with that call-out system.

    I've lived both sides of this story. I've heard arguments both ways for the last 5 or 6 years.

    Don't give up. I hope you get more supply days as the year continues.

  10. Oh... and I know with my board retired teachers are limited to 20 days supply per year now (if they're even allowed that many anymore). They stopped with the 95 for the first 5 years the year my dad retired (about 6 years ago now). Maybe that's why they've been hiring more supplies.

  11. Leighanne, thanks for your comments. I can see where you are coming from as well. It's good that your board is limiting the number of supply days retired teachers can do. I can see why retired teachers are supplying, it's a pretty nice deal for them! I can't say I wouldn't do it in the same position. Maybe even take retirement early knowing that I can still receive income by supplying. It's just hard to wait (for calls, for LTO openings, etc). C'est la vie!