How to NOT Get Pimped by a Substitute Teaching Job!

For those of you following my blog, you will note I was laid off the end of January 2009.  As required to collect Unemployment in California, one MUST look for a job.  I have no problem with doing this task as it allows me to improve my cover letter(s), resume, portfolio, interviewing and puts me in a position to see what jobs are out there, observe the hiring trends/practices and a great way to meet other people and network.  Unfortunately, there is a very sad downside to looking for a job:

Currently I work for an agency/organization which provides substitute teachers to a variety of schools.  The agency is wonderful – they are committed to what they do, operate in a professional manner, treat teachers with respect and provide various aspects of professional development.   The agency/organization has committed employees who have longevity with the company so I do not feel as though I am dealing with a headhunter/temp firm out to spin a dollar off my work.  I have been provided with incredible opportunities to sub at some awesome schools and see what is out there for my job search. 

Unfortunately, this agency/organization is caught in a difficult ‘Catch 22’ and I feel saddened by what happened, even though it was no ones particular fault, rather just a convergence of circumstances.

I applied for  teaching position at School X, posted online at Craigslist,  by a third party employment firm a couple months ago, after checking that this school was not represented by my agency/organization.  I submitted a cover letter, resume, etc. and was provided with the pay schedule and benefits information. In addition, I was asked to take a psychology test, which, as I remember, was to see what type of moral character I have and my ability to deal with people different from myself (I am thinking race, religion, sexuality, etc.).  Not to self aggrandize, I am pretty sure I passed the test of moral character – I have pretty high standards for myself (thank you mom and dad!).  I never heard back from the school.  In reviewing the salary schedule, it was clear I would come in at the high end due to my education, years of teaching experience, etc.

The agency/organization I sub for called this morning to see if I would be interested in a long term sub assignment for this school.  Due to the early hour, coffee had not saturated my blood stream so I was unsure why I recognized the name of the school.  It finally came back to me when I looked in my cover letter file.  

While beggars can not be choosers, this particular situation reeked of ugly.  I told the agency/organization  I sub for I had applied for the position months ago via Craigslist after checking their website to be sure it was not a school they worked with…..I have no need nor want  to cause conflict of interest.  I also put out there that I was open to some sort of negotiation due to the uniqueness of the situation.  Going in to teach for 1/2 to 2/3 less than what was posted as salary just seemed like prostituting myself.  Unfortunately, the school which needs a sub cut its nose to spite its face.   

I believe teachers should be fairly paid for what they do, particularly in the maths and sciences, especially when some one has a graduate degree. In addition, it is sad that this school had used a previous service which did not apparently work for their hiring needs, and neglected to save the resumes.  Oh well, we all live and learn.