Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Gatekeeper

n All your paperwork is in place! Now you just wait for that phone call for your classroom assignment.

That designated person who does the calling will here on out be referred to as "The Gatekeeper." They hold the power, the key, to YOU being called.

Depending on the size of the school district, that phone call can generate from a computerized system or an actual human being.

Large school districts utilize a computer system that you can access with a password. Once in the website, you can actually pick which grade/subject/school site you desire - just remember it is first come, first serve. Those same large districts also will call you about 6:30 am if you don't have a previous assignment and prompt you to accept or decline a job. Later that morning, you could still receive a phone call from the human resource personnel to come in for a teacher that had to leave due to a personal emergency or illness.

For those who deal primarily with smaller districts without an automated phone tree system, it is imperative that you have a good relationship with the employee (The Gatekeeper) who calls you. Imagine their job - having to call (often waking up) potential subs to come in that same day. If you cannot sub, be as polite as possible explaining a plausible reason. If you are willing to come in , try to be cheerful when accepting even though you are dying to go back to bed.

Establishing a friendly relationship with The Gatekeeper will reward you with being called first.

I like to be considerate and let The Gatekeeper know in advance when I will be on vacation via a written note. Do not let them waste time by leaving a message for you that goes unanswered for several days.

Substitutes should carry a business card complete with home and cell phone numbers (when applicable) with them to leave with The Gatekeeper so they will have you in mind quickly the next time a sub is needed. I have been ordering from Vista Print for several years. They have a huge variety of FREE business cards - I just pay shipping ( they have the Vista Print logo on the back but who cares!). I have animal, whimsical and patriotic varieties. I also leave a card with my "end of the day note" to the teacher as a hopeful reminder that he/she will request me the next time.

See the link for Vista Print on the left, you will be impressed with the savings! TIP: I never order the more expensive quick shipping, The standard shipping arrives well before the allotted time -so save a few bucks!

Remember, we are guests not only in the classroom, but in the district.

A gracious guest gets asked back.
Next installment: "My Mary Poppins Bag"

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