Although the moral of the story goes that slow and steady wins the race, sometimes substitutes have to be the "hare" to get the teaching placements they want!
Most districts in the Minneapolis area - and over 2,500 districts worldwide - use a substitute placement system called Aesop. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the idea of having a computer/automated phone service offering me positions; however, I have found it to be quite convenient and easy to use! Teachers register their absences, and substitutes either reject or accept jobs via the phone or internet. Teachers also have the option of creating a list of preferred substitutes which allow for subs to be notified in advance for specific classroom assignments. Teachers can even give a direct assignment to you if they notify their principal (the secretary will automatically place YOU as accepting the position without it being posted to others). This is definitely the way to go, but it takes some time to get yourself known as a substitute - especially in large districts.
For districts who manually call their substitutes, I have found that they oftentimes give you short notice...generally early the morning of! With Aesop, you can customize your job placement searches in several ways:
Manage work days, choose specific schools, view multiple district jobs, control calling times, and receive email reminders of upcoming jobs.
When you are first introduced to this system, I guarantee that 95% of you will hate it due to the fact that you have to constantly refresh the page. Jobs will be gobbled up within seconds of teachers posting them - beginning substitutes have to take a proactive role in searching for assignments and taking them ASAP!
Once in a classroom that you enjoy subbing in, leave a note to tell the teacher that you wouldn't hesitate to visit again (with your business card attached...hint, hint!). NETWORK - have other teachers spread your name by leaving them multiple business cards to distribute. Within a month or so of pressing the refresh button over and over, you will soon have positions booked weeks in advance. Believe me things get better...It has been months since I have done the wake-up-at-5a.m.-just-to-get-a-job kind of thing. That's just ridiculous! :)
Do your research and click on the links below to find out more. Helpful videos can help you understand this program even more. If you have Firefox, I'll let you in on my little secret...get the free download called Check4Change. Let's just say it's been a life saver!