Should I sub, or should I temp?

I’m in a pickle.

I recently moved halfway across the country, leaving a teaching job that I loved for being closer to friends, family, bookstores, Italian restaurants, and a social life. I started looking for a teaching job in February, got out here in July, and now it’s August, and the different school districts are all gearing up for the new school year. I still don’t have a job.

It’s breaking my heart my heart not to have a teaching job. Strange as it may sound, I really love it. Plan B was to get a job as a substitute teacher. The trouble is, though, subbing pays diddly-squat. Most districts run around $75/day. If I subbed every available school day, never took a sick day, I would make just enough to pay bills with nothing left over to wipe out my credit card debt, put into savings, buy the occasional chicken parmagian, or see a movie once a week. I would absolutely have to get a second job, and seeing as I’d only be available evenings and weekends, it would have to be something retail. Also, there’d be no health insurance, no benefits of any sort.


I could go look at a temp agency, which could keep me working, probably at a much better salary - considering that I have fairly strong computer skills, excellent communication, and I can manage a large group of people who really don’t want to work. Most temp agencies, last I checked, had benefits available, once you racked up a certain number of hours, and I wouldn’t feel guilty for leaving the nano-second I have a teaching position lined up.

Trouble is, working as a sub would get me in the doors at different schools. I’d meet the principals (who do the hiring), build a reputation, and also get to know the different campuses. But, if I work two jobs, I know I’m going to get stressed out, and my health has a habit of getting rather precarious (depression, obesity, funky blood sugar). I could volunteer at the schools, but if I’m working a 9-5 temp job, there won’t be much opportunity for that.

With the exception of my two credit cards (which are now maxed out and will go in the desk drawer never to see the light of day again), my living expenses are lower than they have been in years. I’m renting a bedroom from some friends of mine. Other than that, I have a cell phone, car payment, car insurance, student loan, gym membership, and prescriptions that I have to pay for. I can’t really trim much further.

I have one more paycheck before I’m totally broke, but I’m already stressed out, and the sooner I get this figured out the better. Unfortunately, all the stress is sapping my brain, and instead of getting anywhere on figuring out this problem, I mostly run it over and over in my head, getting nowhere.

So, if you have thoughts, throw them out here for my perusal, pretty please.

Screw subbing. My district never hires subs as regular classroom teachers. Do the temp. thing, and keep filing those applications. Do you have any “high-need” qualifications? Are you willing to get them? Let these things be known to the relevant people at the local districts.

Why not temp for a while and see if you miss subbing so much you’d rather go back to it?

Hm. I do know that there are some long-term sub positions that are often available. I just ‘subbed’ for eight months as a high school music teacher after a guy quit and they couldn’t hire anyone right away. The school at which I was subbing also had one or two ‘perma-subs’ who are pretty much there all the time.

So, it can be possible to get a full-time sub position, if you make it clear that that’s what you’re looking for.

How 'bout temping and then tutoring on the side? That way, you’d keep your name in the arena (I assume tutors get referrals from schools? I dunno…). Then when something opens up at the school, kiss the temp gig goodbye.

I only suggest tutoring because college entrance is so competitive, and some times a kid might need to bring up one or two grades to push them into a better school. And I think it pays fairly well, doesn’t it?