Last spring, as I was in the throes of student teaching suburban Chicagoland, my classmates in the city were buzzing about Chicago Public School’s decision to close the substitute teaching pool to new applicants. At the moment, we were disappointed to hear that our expectations of earning some well-deserved cash and teaching experience after our May graduation had been dashed. As the summer ensued I came to think of that decision as the gates of the almighty job market being closed, rather officially, in my face.
With few connections and essentially no experience, substitute teaching is an excellent way to get your foot in the door. There are over 21,000 teachers in CPS and, given that it’s such an enormous district, the principals hire directly for their school. They’re busy people. They need me right up under their nose, especially in a market that qualified resume-me as a dime-a-dozen.
So I tried suburban schools, parochial schools, private schools but quickly found that education in Chicago can be likened to a food chain; the conservatism demonstrated by CPS trickled its way down into my plan B, C, D and so on.
Nine months later, the gates re-open and I can’t help but feel a surge of optimism. The following excerpt from the email gives the specifics.
If you are a regularly certified teacher, CPS will review your application and select applicants who meet prescribed criteria and match the district’s hiring needs. We will make selections on a rolling basis, and we will invite selected applicants to attend substitute teacher hiring events to interview for potential positions. Please note that CPS will not invite all interested applicants to events, and we will not guarantee that all who attend will be hired. Instead, CPS will provide formal offer letters to applicants based on the specific needs of the district at the time of hire (e.g. geographic flexibility, grade-level and subject-area needs).
As you can see, my chances are still pretty slim. They are obligated to place formerly tenured CPS teachers first, and even after that I’m guaranteed nothing. Incredibly, this is a limited-time offer! On January 7th, they are again closing the pool.
True to my closing statement on my resume, I am undaunted by the prospects. I will get in and I will get a full-time classroom teaching position next fall.
So, cheers! To the impending re-titling of this blog in 2011.