The Educational Equivalent of the Lottery

There is a teaching job that appears periodically called an “Extra Certified Position.”  The job can have several purposes, like giving teachers time to write educational plans for special-needs students or helping out with testing.  But since I don’t know for sure what the job is until I arrive at school, it feels like playing the lottery (or is it Russian Roulette?).

I took two of those jobs last week.  The first day was at the high school, and I ended up all over the building, filling in for a different special-needs teacher or aide (helping other teachers) for each of six periods.  I did get one break — the teacher I was replacing sixth period informed me there were no students then, so I would have nothing to do.  Being the conscientious type, I reported back to the office and was reassigned to a physics class.  Asking me to teach physics suggests desperation, and it was — the teacher had come down with a fever and was going home for the afternoon.  Fortunately, he had a backup plan — show a video, that old standby for substitute teachers.  This video was a “Mythbusters” episode (did you know jawbreakers candy really can explode?), which along with “Bill Nye the Science Guy” is a great fallback for science classes.

Two days later, I had another Extra Certified job at the middle school.  This was a bit different — the math department was tied up in a series of meetings, so I substituted for one math teacher in the morning, and a second one in the afternoon.  There were no videos this time, but between free periods and giving tests, and having a co-teacher for a period, it went pretty well.

I never know when these jobs will appear.  But they must like my work, because the middle school has assigned me for Extra Certified jobs almost the entire month of April.  They didn’t tell me, the month was suddenly scheduled.  When I asked to make sure there was no mistake (which occasional happens — once I was scheduled for Saturday), they said “Oh, yes, we need you for testing.”

It’s nice to be wanted, even though I have no idea what I’ll be doing.

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