I’ve been employed as an Occasional Teacher for just over three years now. I spent some time doing daily supply work and I’ve been very fortunate to have worked in full-time Long Term Occasional positions for nearly the whole time since. My last few LTO positions have been full-time, full-year, so I haven’t really been feeling like an Occasional Teacher, until the end of the year comes and I’m loading up my car, once again. I’m very happy doing what I do. Whether I’m with my class permanently or as an LTO teacher, it doesn’t change my day-to-day life and it certainly doesn’t change how much I care about my work.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not waiting patiently, and excitedly, for a permanent position.
If you’re like me, you’ve been paying close attention to the movement in your board, checking job postings daily, closely monitoring your place on that seniority list, and trying to determine your chances at having enough seniority in an applicant pool to finally get that permanent interview call. By my speculation, I was quite hopeful that this coming school year would finally be my year to gain permanent status.
Recent changes to our education funding have caused up quite a stir about hiring and the potential loss of teaching jobs. I can’t imagine how newly hired permanent teachers or those in positions at risk must be feeling. After all, they were right where I am not long ago.
My fellow Occasional Teachers are worried, too. Could my hoped-for permanent position be delayed by a year, two, or three as a result of the inevitable surplus? Many boards are hoping to absorb job losses through retirements, but it’s easy to see that next year’s hiring just won’t be what it has been over the past few years. It won’t be what I think many of us were expecting, meaning many people in the same boat as I am are probably feeling pretty discouraged right now.
What I want to say is hang in there. Remember that every day you spend in a classroom, whether you’re there for one day as an Occasional Teacher, or a year as an LTO, you are making a difference. You are teaching, inspiring and doing what you are meant to be doing. The road to permanent employment may have just become seemingly longer and harder to navigate, but it certainly doesn’t change the fact that one day, you won’t have to load up your car at the end of the year. One day, you’ll get to stay permanently in your happy place. Don’t give up on that.
It hurts my heart and my head to see colleagues and friends considering alternate employment, purely out of the necessity to provide for their families. I’m talking about people who have poured their heart and soul into becoming a teacher – people who belong in the classroom. Beginning teachers are some of the most driven, excited and passionate people I know. We’ve got so much to offer to our kids.
It certainly is an interesting time in education right now. To all my colleagues out there who are concerned about their jobs or their ability to find work over the next while – I see you. Hang in there and don’t let our circumstance overcome your drive and passion. Good teachers belong in classrooms, and you’ll get there eventually!