November 20th, 2013
A temporary or permanent teaching position is sort after once you break in as a TOC in all districts alike. As a member of both SD42 and SD78, I have access to two districts internal teaching postings. I regularly check the SD42 internal postings, however, nothing of interest has yet appeared. When it comes to SD78 I am less active when looking for consistent work. As I have stated previously, SD42 is my preferred district in terms of location and personal/professional growth. Last year I held a FTE 0.325 at Agassiz Centre for Education (ACE) as a relief teacher at this progressive alternate school in the Fraser Cascade School District. Last week, the position was again posted as this is not a continuing position (it does not run continually year to year, but it is re-posted each year). This time around, I declined the offer to apply for the position.
I continue to hold a TOC position in both districts and enjoy the variety that the Teaching on Call lifestyle provides. Not having a one/two day a week position in Agassiz will allow me to apply for job postings in SD42 if I desire. In the mean time, I will keep taking all work when it presents itself. A typical week so far this school year has me in SD42 one day and in SD78 two or three days. Hopefully over time those two things will be flipped and who knows, once I am known in SD42, I may get even more work.
PS, it’s funny to compare my work week with a good friend who works full time as a Gas Fireplace Installer. He works upwards of 10 hours a day, six days a week, yet I am only working three days a week on average. It is just one example of the struggle it can be as a new teacher today, yesterday and the day before that.
October 29th, 2013
Friday October 25th was a Province wide non-instructional day. Having been a member of two school districts for a short period of time, I made sure to check what both districts were offering as Professional Development. School District 78 had no district wide professional development planned but SD42 had a great selection of options. All the options were at Garibaldi Secondary School in Maple Ridge and they had options including full day and half day seminars. I registered for two half day courses, both run by the same person, Laurie Smith. Laurie teaches Classroom Management at UBC and has been a part of Education in the Lower Mainland for almost 40 years.
The first course was called The Role of the SEA, and the second was about Functional Assessment and Positive Behaviour Plans. Both were quite interesting as neither topic had ever been taught to me in any detail. While sitting in the first seminar, I found myself among many experienced SEAs and just one other teacher. I found this very intriguing as SEAs and teachers share classrooms, yet, very little is crystal clear when it comes to the roles and responsibilities of both when working in collaboration. Collaboration itself was a major theme as SEAs are still viewed by many in the profession as people who come in to assist those in need and leave at the end of the day with no other type of involvement. Teachers need to, if they aren’t already, appreciate and value these professional colleagues and the amazing work they do. Building a cohesive learning environment starts at the top and in the classroom the SEA is an education collaborator in partnership with the teacher. Sharing a common goal, moving towards total inclusion for all, means extensive work and ongoing maintenance of Teacher/SEA relationships.
The afternoon session was even more enlightening. After hearing all the opinions of the wonderful SEAs in the morning session, it was the simplistic, function driven nature of Behaviour that took my interest. Being a part of education and schools in general, you sometimes forget your University level training on Behaviour. Laurie had a great perspective on Behaviour and we talked a lot about Reinforcement (Positive and Negative) as well as Punishment (Positive and Negative) and the common misconceptions related to both. Once this was clear, it became even clearer to see common mistakes made in the classroom when relating to student behaviour. All behaviour is function driven and as well as the behaviour being a form of communication, if its increasing, its being reinforced.
Upon reflecting on my Pro-D day at Garibaldi Secondary, I would have to say it was a great introduction to a progressive school district. Including the free lunch that went along with the insightful discussions, the day was an awesome choice. I am very glad to be a part of SD42 and look forward to working there more and more.
October 21st, 2013
So now that I am a TOC in two districts, it’s now a matter of trying to keep the work coming in, but also phasing out work in SD78. To make things harder, it’s been Hope Secondary that has been my most requested school which also holds the longest transit. Like I’ve stated before, Hope is a wonderful school, but it’s simply too far away. However if it’s the only Secondary School calling me in SD78, apart from my weekly Tuesday appearance at ACE, it makes relying on SD42 alone, near impossible. On the other hand, if I continue to take work in Hope, I am surely limiting my opportunities in SD42.
Which is more important? Transitioning into SD42 as quickly as a can, or ensuring I’m working every, or close to everyday? Right now, it’s hard to say. I want to keep at least a day or two open each week for SD42, but when I continue getting called or asked in person to work in Hope, I am often torn between money now and closer work/future opportunities.
As I digress, I have booked myself a day of Professional Development at the SD42 Non-Instructional Pro-D this Friday the 25th of October. This week being only a 4 day work week, I have 3 days in SD78 and a free day at this stage, I’m hoping I get a call for Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows this Wednesday. Next week I’ve only got one day booked, in fact, it’s my first Elementary School day, but it’s in SD78 and all the way in Hope as well. My goal is to gradually let go of SD78 over the next 2-4 weeks if work in SD42 starts to pick up, which I’m very much hoping it does!
October 18th, 2013
It didn’t take long for me to get my first call for Male Ridge/Pitt Meadows. After being officially hired last Friday, I received my first automated call via the ADS (Automatic Dispatch System) on Tuesday night for the next day. The call itself was a little exciting as SD78 still uses personal phone calls directly from Vice Principals. I had my step by step guide, given to me at orientation a few days beforehand, right by my side during the call. The details were that I had the opportunity to work a half day, for 12:06 until 2:40pm on Wednesday the 16th of October. What made this a little more thrilling, was I only just called a VP back after missing his earlier call, to say I was available for the Wednesday, however, SD42 calls now hold priority for me. I did end up calling him back, only to leave another message stating I received confirmed work for Wednesday. Anyway, back to the call, it was at Garibaldi Secondary teaching Special Education, or SPED. After quick deliberation on which job to take, I followed the cues and accepted my first work in SD42.
The afternoon of Wednesday the 16th was a nice introduction to Garibaldi Secondary as I had a prep block first, where I was able to help out in the Learning Assistance Centre for a block. The second and final block was teaching Adapted Social Studies to SPED students. I must admit I did get a little lost in the building as all corridors looked the same, lined with lockers and filled with students sitting and eating lunch. I also got the blocks mixed up as I assumed block C was before D, however, I was mistaken. Once those two issues were fixed, my day was as good as I could have hoped.
Now to get more and consistent work so I can phase out my SD78 TOC work, especially in Hope, as the drive is just too long. I don’t wish to spend two hours out of my days driving to and from work, it’s just not something I want to be doing any longer.
October 15th, 2013
Two weeks had almost past when I received a call while working at ACE. I checked my voice-mail at lunch time and it was Roxanne from SD42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District). I immediately called her back and to my delight she offered me a TOC contract to work in SD42 and naturally I accepted. During the call, she asked me to come into the SD42 Board Office in Maple Ridge on Friday (it was a Wednesday when I got the call). I was hoping that both Lindsay and I received a call that day about receiving a TOC job at SD42, however, when I returned home that afternoon, the day before her birthday, she had not received such a call. I was still confident they would call her soon, however, she has not been offered a position, which sucks!
The plan was for both of us to get SD42 positions and move directly to Maple Ridge once work picked up. Now I have SD78, SD42 and potentially Meadowridge (I say potentially because they still haven’t called me for a day yet), while Lindsay has SD34 and also Mission, however, she cannot seem to get a hold of the Mission HR rep due to intense phone tag. SO now we are sort of in limbo, not sure when or where to move to to make how jobs and lives easier in terms of location and overall well being as our basement suite is too small and dark.
Now we do more waiting and see where the work takes us, hopefully in a common direction, or moving to another location is going to be more of a challenge than originally thought.