Sometimes, the randomness of subbing twists my brain. Consider this: I am listed in four districts, but actually work in two.
District #1: The school district where I student taught in the fall of 2008. I subbed several times through the spring of 2009. Then they laid off teachers. Those pink-slipped teachers have priority for long-term jobs in the 09-10 year. I have worked about three days in total at that district this year. I've had several jobs cancelled on me at the last minute, and showed up for one only to be told it didn't exist. I actually received a call for a job from them last week. Thinking I wouldn't get any calls that day, I went for a run. My cell rang at 9:30. I was 4 miles into a run at the time. To get down the trail back to my car, go home and shower, change and get to the school would have taken about two hours. I declined. I have no idea what is going on at that district. I'll be surprised if I get renewed next year, given my lack of work there this year.
District #2: About eight to fifteen miles from home, and the first district where I was hired outside of the one where I student taught. I work a reasonable number of days there. Strangely, I've worked three days over the last two weeks at a school that I'd never set foot in until last week. Such is the random nature of substitute jobs. I've been getting frequent calls from this district recently, but I'm seeing a lot of half-days of work offered. I suspect their substitute teacher pool is dwindling. Perhaps subs are getting other jobs to prepare for the summer.
District #3: My favorite district. In combination with District 2, I work here the most. This is the one that serves the city in which I live, as well as the neighboring city. City Next Door has some extremely high socio-economic areas. It's always interesting to go into the "rich" schools, but I'm always beside myself with joy when I get days at schools that are a 10-minute drive. I've worked here since September of this year. Again, I marvel at the randomness. I've yet to get a day at the elementary school across the street from my home.
District #4: This one boggles my mind for several reasons. I applied in September, and was hired in November. In January, I received a letter that I was officially added to their listings (???) and started getting calls. This district has 100 pink-slipped teachers who receive preference for sub calls. That means it's useless to leave my information behind, because teachers are unable to request specific subs. It also means I can't pro-actively go online to search for open jobs. I have to wait for phone calls. And when those calls come, no grade level is specified, unless the teacher adds it. Not all of them do. This district is in an inner-city, low SES area. That's fine with me, but it equates to over sized classes. And parking is always a mess. Parents double park and block teacher cars in, and then leave their cars there to go find their kids. It has taken me 20 minutes just to get out of parking lots at these schools, and it's very difficult to get home because of traffic and road construction that seems to be all over the place in the area. So, this district is my final option. I take jobs here when I can't get them anyplace else. I think that I've only worked here for three or four days this year, which has probably shot me down on the call list. I haven't received many calls from this district lately.
I have found that I enjoy the transient nature of subbing. I don't get caught up in workplace drama and I can decline jobs if they're not grade levels or schools where I want to spend the day. But, the low salary along with the unpredictable nature of knowing when jobs will be is really starting to wear me down. At this point, next year is up in the air. I went to a job fair last week and was very discouraged, but was told over and over again that all of this is cyclical and jobs will come around again. Sadly, nobody can say exactly when.