Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another Perfect Job for the Noncommittal

As I enjoy my last day of spring break and prepare to return to what may be two more months of substitute teaching, I realize I have found another perfect-fitting job for Camp Fancy-Free.  Luckily, as my tolerance and flexibility for bullshit continues to diminish, I am finding more income-generating matches to my lifestyle.  The latest…substitute teaching…currently in Leadville, Colorado

Its (just about) always sunny in Leadville the last two months.
I had pretty much written off any school/teacher-related work after my experience teaching during my initial stint in Leadville.  I first moved to Leadville soon after graduating from college and signed up to be a substitute teacher, upon my friend, Sara’s, suggestion.  That year, I was called in on the first day of school for a vacant high school special education teacher and proceeded to masquerade in that position for a whole school year.  Without getting into too much detail, I’ll only say that it was a great experience and it scared me away from the profession.  I never really considered subbing or teaching again, until a few months ago when I wanted to get a job, but couldn’t imagine giving up the autonomy that I had been thoroughly enjoying the previous couple of months.  The subustiuting idea dawned on me one day, while hanging out in Bozeman, Montana.  I checked the Lake County School District page, saw they needed subs, and headed towards Leadville.  After moving in with my friend, Wizard and filling out the necessary paperwork, I became licensed to substitute in Colorado and proceeded to get called into work everyday since.  After one month, I conclude it is perfect for my intents and purposes.

First, it most obviously fits my criteria in that it is temporary.  Signing up with only three months in the school year guarantees an end in sight.  This is of single most importance to me.  I never want to have to lie or mislead an employer, but I not looking for a job for the long haul.  Since most employers are looking for the exact opposite criteria in a potential employee, my job searches are limited to short-term opportunities such as seasonal work, special events or projects, and in this case…school!  I can put up with a lot more when I know there is a definite end date. 

The next most awesome thing is that I literally get to choose if I want to work each day.  A lady calls me and ASKS me if I want to work and I can answer yes or no.  This is what I make believe I do with every job.  It is definitely easier to achieve that mindset when it is my reality.  Becasue I came here with the intention of working, I've accepted everyday, but then my family made last minute plans to visit.  No problem, I just said no those days.  Perfect!

Third, everyday is different.  I have thus far agreed to do K-12th grades.  That is a wide spectrum of crazy.  Different places and different faces everyday.  This greatly contributes to my enthusiasm and ability to stick it out no matter how insane it gets in those classrooms. 

A rare moment of calm with third graders, who always make me earn it.
Don’t get me wrong, this job can be rough…some days.  My experience has been that the younger they are, the more of my energy they require.  Most days I leave feeling exhausted.  But as I mentioned, it is just a single serving of each group.  Just one day at a time.  Very manageable.  And other days, especially at the high school, I sit around and read all day.  Or on the best days, when subbing for a gym teacher, I get to play basketball all day! 

So, subbing is perfect.  It is temporary, my daily choice, and provides variety.  The pay is good enough.  And it is in lovely Leadville.  Not necessarily the best place to spend mud season, but it MIGHT be a short one as Leadville has just experienced one of the mildest winters on record.  I, however, just escaped the mud for a week for the lower, warmer and dryer towns south of here.  That is right.  After just one month of working, it is spring break.  I had no choice but to leave and enjoy a week of living in the van and running and biking on sick, dry, singletrack in the desert-esque towns of Buena Vista and Salida.  

Dry trails for spring break.  (Salida, Colorado)
Ask me again in two months, but as of now, I shall add substitute teaching to the list of Camp Fancy-Free’s pre-approved jobs.