The Many Benefits of Being Notified of Jobs on your Cell Phone

The education field has come a long way in the last several years due to advancement in technology, user friendly device apps, and the widespread use of cell phones, tablets, and iPads in both the classroom and at home. Contract teachers and substitute teachers alike, incorporate technology into their instruction and personal life.  Included in this modern technology is the advanced services of SubSidekick offered for those working in the professional field of substitute teaching.

SubSidekick is an innovative new approach to offering substitute teachers a way to stay ahead of the competition through the use of an advanced website and convenient job alerts.  One of their many benefits is that of being notified of future teaching assignments via their exclusive SubSidekick App, text messages, email notifications, or desktop alerts.

There are many advantages to having real time alerts regarding potential new assignments. One is that you could have the instant opportunity to accept the assignment before someone else does.  Others who do not subscribe to SubSidekick, may for example, have to wait until the days end to check an overlooked voicemail or return a phone call, and by then someone else could have already agreed to take the assignment.  Additionally, if you’re receiving assignment alerts, you also enjoy the convenience and privacy of easily and instantly accepting or decline the job.

Also, if a certain office staff get in the rhythm of easily making contact with you using this method, that office staff is much more likely to continue making contact that way, as opposed to calling various other substitute teachers and leaving voice mails and waiting on return calls in order to fill the position.

Consider using the services of SubSidekick to make your earning potential as a professional in the field of substitute teaching the very best that it can be. This dynamic company offers a wide array of services, video tutorials, in addition to, a very user friendly website. Contact  them and learn how you too can be notified of jobs via text message or email!

Annual NEA Conference 2018

Each year the NEA (National Education Association) hosts an annual national meeting and representative assembly in a preselected location. This year, the 2018 NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly will be held from June 30 to July 5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over 8,000 NEA members are expected to attend and the agenda involves a variety of meetings relating to racial and social justice, women’s issues and student leadership.

Annual Meeting takes place during the final week of June and/or the first week of July and it is generally devoted to delegate registration and a wide range of pre-RA meetings, conferences, and exhibits. And on the other hand, the Representative Assembly, the highest decision-making body within the over 3 million-member NEA, gathers and participates in debates and discussions regarding vital issues that are impacting our public school systems.

Additionally, there is a list of speeches and speakers including featured speaker, Lily Eskelsen García and NEA President of the nation’s largest labor union. Ms. Eskelsen García is an inspiration to so many teachers too; after beginning her career as a school lunch lady, she now leads some three million NEA members and… “is the first Latina to lead the NEA and one of the country’s most influential Hispanic educators.” Other speakers include:

  • Sydney Chaffee National Teacher of the Year Codman Academy Charter Public School
  • LeVar Burton Author, actor, literacy advocate and recipient of NEA’s 2017 Friend of Education Award.
  • John C. Stocks Executive Director of the National Education Association.
  • Saul Ramos National Education Support Professional of the Year Worcester Public Schools.

So, remember to mark your calendar for June 30 through July 5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You could make a vacation out of it. Not only will you be able to meet important people, make contacts, and learn valuable information about the direction public education is going, but you’ll also have something to add to your resume.

We wish you luck and hope you can attend. Please contact us should you have any questions or concerns.

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11 2018

When you think of some of your earliest childhood memories, it usually almost always involves a teacher. After years and sometimes decades have long passed and transformed us into adults, even then, when we stop and reflect on some of those early years in elementary school we can always remember one of our favorite teachers. Whether is was out on the dusty, sweaty playground, or in class on that special day of “show and tell,” when you brought your beloved hamster to school to introduce him to the class, we usually always remember that favorite teacher, and for a brief moment, as those nostalgic thoughts dance around in our head, we’re for a brief moment a child once again.

I can close my eyes and vividly remember my fourth grade teacher who took the time to come to school dressed in a plaid prairie dress and show us how to churn butter after our class have finished our multi-week activity of reading aloud, Little House On The Prairie. It was magical. It made an impact on me. And even though this occurred sometime around 1974, I can still remember it just like it was yesterday.

My fourth grade teacher didn’t have to go that extra mile and do what she did, but she took it upon herself to go above and beyond, as so many teachers do every single day of the school year. They do these things without being asked, and without any recognition, not because they have to, but because they care.

I’m sure as you’re reading this you can relate to a teacher that touched your life as mine did. We all have a special teacher that’s made an impact on us in one way or another.

So as Teacher Appreciation Week 2018 approaches, think about what teacher stands out in your life. Maybe you’re considering a career as a professional contract teacher or possibly you’re just looking into substitute teaching because of that special teacher that taught you; either way, this special Teacher Appreciation Week would be a great time to #ThankATeacher.

And if you’re wanting or needing advice on the professional career of substitute teaching, don’t hesitate to contact us. Possibly you’ll end up touching a life as your favorite teacher did yours!

National Education Association (NEA) for Substitute Teachers

Substitute teachers work in a very demanding field; in many ways, an area that’s even more demanding than that of a contract teacher. Practically being on call 24-7, and having to be ready to perform in multiple grade levels, subjects areas, and various campuses require organization, creativity and skill. It’s something that a substitute teacher is asked to do on a regular basis. Often times, a substitute teacher is barely able to get his/her footing in one assignment before being called to another. But this is what substitute teachers do and so many do it so very well. School districts could not perform without the dedicated work of the substitute teacher; they are a vital lifeline to ensuring that classes across the country continue to operate and function properly each and every day.

For the reasons mentioned above, substitute teachers turn to the NEA (National Education Association) – Substitute Educators for guidance and direction in areas including professional compensation and development, support through collective bargaining and assistance in forming partnership with their full-time colleagues in the classroom.

Professional substitute teachers who are employed with a public school district are eligible for NEA membership and they can join through their NEA state affiliate.

Benefits of membership can be found by visiting NEA member benefits and those benefits include discounts in home and auto, everyday discounts, in addition to discounts in car rental. Also, substitute teachers who are NEA members are eligible to be voting delegates to the Representative Assembly and they are also allowed to hold elective and appointive positions in the Association.

There are many advantages for substitute teachers who are NEA members, and one more in particular is the fact that they provide members with an Educators Employment Liability Program. According to their website, benefits include:

  • “Payment of the legal defense costs of up to $3,000,000 per occurrence in defending civil proceedings (other than proceedings concerning Civil Rights) brought against you in the course of performing your educational employment activities.”
  • “Payment of up to $1,000,000* in damages assessed against you as a result of such civil proceedings.
  • “Payment of up to $300,000* worth of defense, settlement or judgments and other supplementary payments for proceedings concerning Civil Rights.”

In addition to what’s mentioned above, there are many more areas of legal defense that the NEA handles as well. Even though substitute teaching can be such a rewarding field, we still must be prepared for the unexpected in this day and time. Being legally protected and represented by such a large and national organization and having them just a phone call away allows for great peace of mind.

We at SubSidekick encourage you to look into the NEA and all that it has to offer you as a professional and see if it’s right for you. Contact us should you have any questions or concerns and keep on doing the great work that you do!

Teachers, Paraprofessionals and Substitute Teachers Demand Decent Pay!

If you’ve been following the national news the last couple of weeks, then you know that teachers around the country are staging teacher walkouts, and teacher strikes intended to draw attention to, not only the low pay that they receive but for the conditions they have to teach in. They’re also bringing national attention to the fact that so many classrooms are filled with outdated books, workbooks, and various other teaching material. So many teachers even have to buy basic school supplies out of their own pockets, in order to follow the current curriculum, because the school districts do not have the budget to purchase them.

Teachers, paraprofessionals, and substitute teachers have stormed state capitals in peaceful demonstration and spoken on camera to national news journalists about their hopes and frustrations. Across the country teachers are demanding better pay and updated teaching material for their students. One teacher that was interviewed by a national news station talked about have to not only teach computer technology but be evaluated by her superior while she and her class had to use textbooks from l998. In her 1998 computer technology textbook it spoke of the internet being in its infancy stage. Nothing in her classroom set of textbooks even remotely correlated with the 2017-2018 state curriculum! These types of situations are going on all across the country!

Classrooms are running over, teachers are expected to do more and more each year without receiving any legitimate pay raise for all that they do. Many teachers that have spoken on the national news throughout these teacher walkouts and strikes have spoken about having to hold multiple jobs just to make ends meet. One teacher said that he made more with his lawn cutting service that he did as a teacher. Contract teachers are even speaking out for their fellow paraprofessionals and substitute teachers who are paid even lower than them, but still expected to do all that is required of a contract teacher when they are given an assignment.

Substitute teachers in Alabama are the lowest paid substitutes in the nation, barely making over $8 an hour. This should be an embarrassing reality for our politicians.

Additionally, this low pay for teachers and those in the education field is steadily creating a teacher shortage. Many of the younger people are thinking twice about accumulating massive student loans and then ending up in a career that doesn’t allow them to get out of debt.

In a recent article in FORBES: Teacher Strikes Strike Deeper Than Paychecks the author, and full time teacher, Zak Ringelstein writes “A decades-long war on the American public school teacher has not only led to decreases in pay and benefits for teachers across the country but an overall degradation of the respect for and quality of the teaching profession itself.” I believe this to be true 100%. This didn’t just start. It’s been going on. My mother was a career teacher, as was my grandmother. There’s a lot of teachers in my family and I know firsthand all the things that have trickled down to classroom teachers over the decades from state politicians that have never stepped foot in a classroom as a teacher. Things need to change. Teachers need to have their voice heard and teachers need supplies, modern textbooks and a paycheck comparable to other professions.

And not to leave on a negative note, because the reality is, all of us in the education field know that we will always have a job, we can relocate and normally go right to work in the same field, and there’s no way that we could ever really be without a teaching job in this day and time; they need us too much! So, that stability is one positive note, as far as your finances and steady paychecks are concerned!

Most teachers, like myself, teach because we’ve felt a calling since as long as we can remember. We feel at home in a classroom. We know it’s what we do best and it’s also one of the things we were meant to do. However, we’ve worked hard to put ourselves through college, we’re professionals, and we deserve a decent salary too! Our students deserve better!

Get involved! Call your congressman! And stay connected with like minded people in the education field such as the wonderful staff at SubSidekick. And feel free to contact them  with any other your questions or concerns; they’re just a quick phone call away and would love to hear from you!

“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.” – – Donald D. Quinn

Building Better Work-Life Balance as a Substitute

As a substitute, there are days–and even weeks–when you don’t know whether you’ll be working or not. Since teachers can’t always schedule concerns like illness, you may get last-minute calls that interrupt your plans for the day, leaving you scrambling off to work no matter what you had going on, simply because you can’t afford to miss an opportunity to work. Building work-life balance, therefore, can be a challenge. By following these strategies, you can help build better balance between your career and your regular life.

Set boundaries with your schools. Are there days when you simply aren’t available to work? Are there classes that you really don’t want to sub in? As you build a stronger relationship with the schools where you work most often, they’ll respect those boundaries–and respect you for being willing to set them.

Set boundaries for yourself. There are days when you can drop your plans and head in to work at the drop of a hat. There are also days when you simply can’t–and you shouldn’t be expected to. While it’s important to be available to the schools where you wish to work–and repeatedly turning down those schools may decrease future opportunities–you also need to know where to set your personal boundaries regarding which days you can work and which days you can’t.

Build a life outside of work. It can be difficult to develop relationships with your colleagues when you never know where you’ll be working or you’re in a different part of the building every day. Building a life outside of work, complete with friends, hobbies, and activities, is one of the most effective ways to improve work-life balance.

Know when to turn it off. Most teachers struggle with bringing work home–and substitutes, who need to have plans in place for classrooms that might not have sub plans and materials to provide for students, are no exception. It’s important, however, to know when it’s time to stop working. Set specific work hours for yourself, and when they’re over, turn back to the things you’d rather be doing! You’ll quickly discover that this is more effective than constantly working and helps you keep perspective on your job.

Your job is important, especially if you love what you do and want a better interaction with the students and schools you work with. By building work-life balance, you’ll be able to improve your odds of job and life success. Want to learn more about finding those important jobs as a sub? Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Teachers Can Enjoy Spring Break Too!

Spring Break is more than a vacation for students who are anxious to put down their text-books. It is a welcomed victory and a milestone for teachers everywhere.

And yet, teachers find themselves most often spending this well-earned break in the classroom. Not physically of course, but mentally they plan away new organizational charts and implement classroom management techniques. They find themselves solving problems in the classroom and thinking of how to tackle the next book report assignment. More than likely, they are doing this all while grading a stack of papers.

Some find these activities to be a blast. The perfect way to spend a Spring Break holiday. But for those really needing a break from anything resembling chalk dust and red markers, try these fun activities this Spring Break.

Pot Luck Pool Party

Have fun in the sun and unwind with all your friends. A pool party is simple to throw together and when you include a pot luck, it is an inexpensive affair full of sun, relaxation and potato salad.


Simple enough, right? Until you find yourself nose deep in lesson plans and charts. Force yourself to read something you will find enjoyable. Read for pleasure. Plan an early night in pajamas and snacks and indulge in that book you have not had time to pick up. If you don’t have one of these books on your nightstand already it is the perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and browse the used book stores. You might find that hours have passed while you discovered long-lost literary loves.

Rediscover a Hobby

Plan one day where you devote yourself to the things you used to enjoy. A teachers life is a blessing that fills up most hours. The rewards are great but sometimes the cost is not having enough time to do that thing you love. Rediscover it. Do you like to paint? Then paint. Do you like to write music? Write music. Do you like to spend time with animals? Plan a date to volunteer at the animal shelter. The point is to redirect yourself to…yourself.


The dreaded five letter word. Relax. It sits right there next to the word “self-care” in the “that is for other people but not for me” dictionary. Teachers often find relaxing or taking time for self-care a selfish act. This Spring Break, get out of your comfort zone. Find out what self-care and relaxing really means to you and do it. This is not about woo-woo magical unicorns. This is about being a better teacher, a better colleague, a better partner, spouse, and friend. When you neglect taking time to relax and you are running on Twix bars and a prayer, you are not the best teacher you can be. Self-care and relaxing is about finding time for you. It is about making yourself a priority. After all, you are the most important person in that classroom. Start acting like it.

Go Outside

It is so simple it is almost always overlooked. The power of being outside. We can think of a thousand fun things to do during the Spring Break and most of them will include being inside. So take that fun thing you are thinking of- and take it outside. Eat, read, talk on the phone or grade papers to your heart’s content, just do it outside. It is amazing how much this small change in location will brighten your mood. You never know what you might see or who you might run into.

When Spring Break Sunday rolls around and you are ready to head back into the classroom, do it with renewed vigor. Check out Sub Sidekick for alerts to get you the job!

Top things to do during Spring Break

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – subbing is hard. One of the biggest perks of working in a school, however, are vacations! You still get a spring break! If you’re anything like me, Spring Break usually starts with a lot of lofty ideas for how I’ll use all the extra time, and ends up being a week of avoiding things so I’m right back where I started. Below are easy and achievable ways to make your Spring Break one to remember!

1. Have a staycation, and mean it!

Turn off your phone, your email notifications, load up on your favorite treats, and grab a blanket (and/or a bottle of wine)! Use the time you have to really indulge yourself – maybe it’s a bath every evening, maybe it’s a week with a loved one, maybe it’s catching up on all the new fiction releases! For some, a staycation is hard to actually execute. It’s so easy to switch on your notifications and get swept away by your to-do list. To avoid this, make a list on the first day of break of things that need to happen over the time off. Schedule time each day to work on what absolutely needs to get done, and you’ll feel that much better about treating yourself to a movie and popcorn from the comfort of your own couch.

2. Explore something new in your city/country/state!

Whether it’s a new restaurant, a store that just popped up, or a new hike near your usual trail, go explore! It can be so fun to try something you haven’t tried before, and there’s no reason you can’t do that from the comfort of your own city, or a neighboring one. I’m sure we’d all love to travel somewhere new and exciting on every break, but often spring break is just too short, and travel is just too expensive. However, going somewhere for a change of scenery can happen no matter where you live or what funds you’ve saved.

3. Practice a skill or hobby – or learn a new one!

From day-long workshops at local community colleges or other centers, to a how-to book at the library or a quick Google search, there’s so many ways to learn a new skill. You can get embroidery tutorials on Youtube, free language exercises online, even a kit to make your own cheese!

4. Most important of all: DON’T FEEL GUILTY!

Whatever you do with your break, know that you earned it. Teaching is incredibly fulfilling, and it can also be incredibly exhausting. You know your kids deserve a break, and so do you! Taking time off can help you reset your brain, come up with new ideas, and ultimately make you a better teacher.

If you want to hike a new trail every day, do it! If you want to sit on your couch and watch all the shows you’ve been missing this season, power on! No matter what you choose, make sure it’s exactly what you want to be doing, and nothing more (or less)!

Then, when you’re ready to get back to work, visit our site!

Substitute Teacher Tricks for Encouraging Positive Behavior

Every substitute teacher dreams of having an amazing class that arrived on time, listened as you explained what the assignment was, worked quietly, and stayed engaged without any prompting. While these ideal classrooms do exist, they can be few and far between. It is more common to have a few students who choose not to do their work or become disruptive. Here are a few simple tricks to help encourage on-task behavior.

  • Have a simple reward system in place. If you have a “sub bag,” consider packing a few inexpensive goodies like mechanical pencils, novelty erasers, stickers, or any party-favor items that look like fun giveaways. Pass them out to students who are trying hard to stay focused despite classroom distractions, or reward disruptive students when they are actively trying to not disrupt others.
  • Non-verbal cues are a great way to save face. Students generally don’t like to be singled out in front of their peers. While it may sometimes be unavoidable to call out a student for not being on task, having a range of non-verbal cues is a subtle way of refocusing students.
  • If a student is beyond off-task and creating a situation where other students become distracted, this may be a circumstance where singling out a student is necessary. Without fanfare, write the disruptive student’s name on the board. If it isn’t immediately noticed, eventually whispers will get around and he or she will glance at the board. Use this opportunity to have a quiet conversation about what the student can do to get the name erased. And when you see that behavior happen, erase it immediately.
  • No matter the grade level, every student wants positive feedback. A simple “Thank you for staying focused on your assignment,” or “I’m impressed with how well you explained the science experiment,” will go a long way in keeping students engaged. Walk around the classroom constantly, as this gives you the opportunity to provide specific and meaningful comments to your students.

Students who struggle will often do anything other than their work, and they are often only recognized for not being on task. So make a little extra effort to show them you see them trying, and that you want them to keep on trying. Your confidence in them may be the way over the hurdle behind their off-task behavior. If you would like to learn about other tricks and tips to use in the classroom, Sub Sidekick can help.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Sending Students to the Principal’s Office

Any substitute teacher would agree- the job is no walk in the park. Sure, you aren’t burdened with lesson planning, and some days your main responsibility may be simply handing out worksheets and keeping the kids from running rampant throughout the school. And yet, to really substitute teach productively takes substantial effort and savvy, as well as the ability to step into another teacher’s classroom and encourage a focused and orderly atmosphere. So what do you do when you have a problem student disrupting the class? As educational psychology tells us, positive reinforcement is often the most effective method for classroom management, whether you’re in charge of that classroom full-time or only temporarily.

Stay In Control

In tougher cases, removal of a certain child can sometimes feel like your only option: the student is so unruly to the point of derailing the entire class, and you finally send him or her out of the room, perhaps even to the principal’s office. Rather than modifying the target behavior, the source of the behavior is simply removed. But consider: what exactly does this accomplish? The classroom may be–temporarily–returned to some sort of order, and the surface problem of disturbance is solved, for the moment. But what you’ve just done is reinforce the problem student’s belief that unruly behavior gets them what they want: either attention or escape from the classroom, two common motivations for kids who act out. In turn, the kid is training you, conditioning you to send out any problem students in the future for a quick and easy fix. In addition, you are implicitly telling the rest of the class that you are not the one in control. Resist the temptation of sending away the disturbance, or risk setting a problematic pattern for yourself.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Ensure that your expectations for the class are clear from the start, as this will minimize temptation for the children to test your limits, see what you’ll let them get away with. Begin the day or period with a firm explanation of what behavior you expect to see from them. This doesn’t have to be unnecessarily strict or accusatory–often simply showing your students respect, letting the children know that you see them as responsible and rational human beings, results in their respect in kind. This is also a good time to call role and learn their names as best you can. Using names shows your personal investment in them–it’s a lot less demeaning than “you in the purple shirt”–and allows you to hold specific students accountable if they do act out.

Provide Competing Motivation

So what should you do, when faced with a student who just won’t settle down? If it seems that his or her behavior may largely be a result of high energy, and if you’re dealing with younger kids, try giving the entire class a quick round of ‘wiggle time,’ a minute or so of free license to jump or dance in place, to expend some of that excess liveliness (within reason–don’t turn a blind eye to kids head butting each other or otherwise causing physical harm). Alternatively, learn a quick two minute guided breathing exercise, meditation, or yoga routine you can share with the kids. This can work wonders in calming excessively high energy and focusing attention, and the kids love it.

If the student’s motivation seems to lie more in a need for attention, from you or other students, distract him or her with a stronger motivation. Reward good behaviors–which you delineated at the beginning of class–with anything from candy to five minutes of free time at the end of the period. Or, for younger kids, the reward could be a mysterious box on your desk that you promise to open, containing a puppet or small toys- curiosity is often in and of itself a powerful motivator. The main point is to provide the students with reasons to exhibit good behavior and reduce motivations for disruptive behavior. And if you do find yourself pushed to the point of discharging a student from class, don’t be too hard on yourself; everyone has a breaking point, and it’s better to remove the student from the situation than to snap and lose your cool. Just try not to make it a habit.

However, with these few tactics, you should be able to avoid the final recourse of sending a child out of the classroom. For more tips on substitute teaching and positive reinforcement in the classroom, or to learn about SubFinder, our app designed specifically for people like you, contact us.