Why It’s Good to be a Teacher-on-Call.

There are definitely some downsides to being a ToC: not knowing if I’m going to work each day (and thus not being able to make doctor/dentist/salon appointments. Yes the salon is just that important to me); not having a steady income, etc. But it has its good points and I figured I’d share them with you. If there is a “you” out there reading this thing.

1. No. Prep. Now, I actually think that making lessons and activities is fun, but to a point. It’s nice to be in a place in my teaching career where I can see how others teach and continue to develop how I’d like to teach. No prep also leads me to:

2. No Marking. Ok, I’ve marked various things as a ToC, from elementary spelling tests, to multiple choice tests, and even essay exam answers, but it never has to come home with me. That’s pretty nice right now.

3. Laundry isn’t super important. When I get ready for work I usually wear my work clothes only while I’m at school and immediately change into comfy clothes at home. Since I’m not exactly running half marathons in my work clothes they don’t get particularly dirty. As a ToC I can wear a shirt a couple of days in a row and no one knows cuz I’m at different schools. This cuts down on laundry and frantic wardrobe choices in the morning, (“I can’t wear that, I wore that last Tuesday, and they’ll know and then that’ll be my Tuesday shirt and…”)

4. Figuring out your niche. I’ve always known I wanted to be a high school teacher, but as a ToC I’ve taught K-12, and various subjects beyond my comfort zone of English and Socials. It’s a great way to find out which age groups you work best with and enjoy teaching the most, and even which schools have an environment that is compatible with you.

5. Bad days end at the door. I’ve had rough days as a practicum teacher, and rough days as a ToC. It’s kind of nice to be able to go home and know that you might not have to be in that class or see those particular students again the next day.

6. Building rapport with many, many students. I love that when I walk in a school and students see me they get excited and ask who I’m in for. Pretty much no matter which school I go to this happens; it’s nice that even though I don’t have as much time as a full-time teacher to build rapport with all the kids I teach, I’m in various classes often enough that I usually have one or two in each class with whom I have a good teaching relationship. That certainly makes classroom management easier too.

7. Holidays. We still get the same holidays and breaks, and can still take part in Pro-D activities if they’re available. It’s a pretty good gig.

I wouldn’t want to ToC forever, but right now it’s working out really well. I’m fortunate to be in the district I want to stay in, which makes my patience in getting a full-time job a lot easier to come by.

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