The Job* (Part 1)

I have been happily supply teaching in my school board for the last year and a half.

I somehow lucked into a perfect position where I was primarily back and forth between my two favourite schools, and 90% of my work calls were made days in advance. I often worked 3.5 – 4 days a week which was perfect for me, especially now in my large and pregnant state.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I loved life as a supply teacher so much that I had moments where I wasn’t even sure if I wanted a full-time position. My lessons were always created and prepped for me, there was no marking, and each day I left before 3pm and had my evenings completely free.

But there is one school in my board that I knew I would never turn down. It’s my happy place–my “Cinderella” school. You see, for me supply teaching is a bit like shoe shopping. I get to walk in and “try on” different schools to see if it’s a good fit. There are many schools that I love going to, and many that I would absolutely dread spending even half a day at.

And then there’s MDS: My Dream School. In my first few months of supply teaching I was getting calls all over my board as no one school knew who I was yet. As I slowly ticked all the high schools off my list, I realized that there were only a few schools that I had yet to be called to, and MDS was one of them.  I had worked almost 6 months before I got my first call there, and as soon as I walked through the doors I had my Cinderella moment: it was a perfect fit. It was like that moment when the prince’s attendant finally slides the glass slipper onto Cinderella’s foot and it fits so perfectly–this school and I fit together the same way.

After that first random call, I began to be requested there on a regular basis, to the point where I would spend full weeks there just hopping between departments and teachers. I got to know the English department very well, and was often specifically requested by the department head.

This fall has been no different. Early on in the semester I began to be requested at MDS again, and loved spending every moment there. As the wee-bean continued to grow and I began to feel the effects of my second and third trimester, I was very grateful to be supply teaching as the work load was very light. Aside from a few random calls to schools I don’t often go to, I spent a lot of time at my lovely MDS.

On Monday, November 28th I woke up early as I hadn’t yet received a call from dispatch for work. I went through the motions to get ready, and when my phone did ring shortly after 7am with a call to go spend the day at my second favourite school, I happily accepted. This school is right around the corner from me and has the latest start time in my board, so I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and took my time getting ready.

Shortly before 8am my phone rang again. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it anyway. I was shocked to find the  secretary at MDS on the other end. Our conversation went something like this:

Gina: “Hi Shop Girl! Sorry to call you at home, but did you receive a call from dispatch this morning?”

Me: “I did, but it was for another school. Why?”

Gina: “Oh, that makes me SO mad!  Did they even tell you about the request I put in for you?”

Me: “No… what request?”

(I should mention that our school board is one of the few boards in the province that still has real people calling from dispatch. We’re not automated yet.)

Gina: “I put in a request to have you come in and work all week for Mr. S. He’s quite ill and is out all week. I can’t understand why they didn’t give it to you, as soon as I saw he was out I knew you’d be perfect for it as his kids already know you. There’s something weird going on here. I’m going to get the principal to look into it.”

So, I immediately begin trying to find a way to get the assignment, but she let me know that it had already been filled by someone she had never had into the school before. She apologized for the mix-up and promised to figure out what happened before letting me go.

To say I was upset would be putting things mildly. I was mad that I had missed out on a full week of work at my favourite school, and I was furious at dispatch for not even telling me about it. I went to off to work in a rather foul mood.

I was able to put it out of my head as the week progressed, and my second favourite school actually kept me incredibly busy. I worked every day, and on Wednesday night my phone rang again. Dispatch called and let me know that I had been requested to work at MDS on Friday–in for the same teacher I had previously been requested for. I thought it was a bit odd as the original assignment had been for a full week and it had been filled by someone else, but I happily accepted.

While I was working at another school on Thursday, Gina called and left a message on my cell asking if I could tentatively leave Monday open as well as they weren’t sure when this teacher (Mr. S) would be returning. It meant turning down a job at my second favourite school, but I was happy to do it.

That night (December 1st) I went home and was puttering around my house like I always do. I was sitting at my computer when my phone rang shortly after 8pm. It was dispatch again.

Dispatch: “Hi Shop Girl, I have a request for you at MDS.”

Me: “Oh, great!”

Dispatch: “I’m sure you already know this, but you’ve been requested to cover for Mr. S at MDS from December 2nd – January 31st.”

Me: “…pardon me? Did I hear that correctly??”

Dispatch: “Oh! I guess they haven’t spoken with you yet. They’d like you to come in for this teacher until the end of the semester. Will you accept the assignment?”

Me (absolutely flabbergasted): “Oh course! Thank you!!”

I hung up and sat at the table staring at my phone for a moment before I dashed off to find the Hubster. We were both floored by what had just happened, but I was beyond excited. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but I had just been handed a two-month position at my all-time favourite school, and I started the next day.

After the initial rush of excitement died down a little, I realized that this job was going to take me very close to my due date, with just a 5-day window. It worried me a little, but I knew everything would work out. I was just dying for details.

So, the next morning I woke up early, packed my teacher bag and headed off to work.

I had absolutely no idea what I was walking in to…


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  • Miss Gentle Nudge*

    My dearest ShopGirl,

    As I’m sure you are aware, I’m not a big fan of suspense. In fact it annoys me as I like knowing things right away!!! I’ve been waiting far too long for this post, and then all of a sudden you leave me with a cliff hanger like that!?!?! COME ON!

    That’s just not fair to lil ol me!!!

    Also, I left a lil message on facebook for an idea that I think you may like :)

  • Teacher Girl

    Wow! I can imagine that this is both exciting and slightly scary at the same time (5 days before your due date!). I hope things go well for you. I know you’ll do a great job! Congrats! ;)