Would you like fries with that?

By Mir
November 16, 2004

The time has come (the walrus said… don’t call me a walrus unless you’re hoping to be smacked, however) for me to take Any Job. As you all know, I passed Dream Job long ago. I spent some time looking for Pretty Good Job, and after a while settled into the search for Acceptable Job. Now? Any Job.

Wanna know why? Well, I had this fabulous back-up plan, you see. Part of the job issue is that I cannot work later than about 3:30 and still get Chickadee off the bus, and I cannot afford to pay for aftercare for her unless I get a job that actually pays well. A dear friend of mine who is a teacher has been urging me to sign up to substitute teach at the elementary schools.

This is an ideal solution, on a number of levels:
1) They are so desperate for subs in our district, they hire anyone.
2) The pay is not as horrible as you’d think.
3) I wouldn’t need any additional care for Chickadee.
4) I wouldn’t have to work on days that school is closed.

Although I love my children with all my heart, and indeed have a soft spot for nearly all children, I have resisted this idea for quite a while, for the following reasons:
1) I spend enough time sick over the winter without spending entire days with hoardes of small germ-carriers.
2) The pay really isn’t all that good.
3) I’m not sure how Chickadee would react to having me at school, but I’ve learned to hope for the best and expect the worst, with her.
4) I would rather gnaw off my right arm than spend even more time per day trying to reason with small people who think that farting is the height of hilarity.

Today I went down to the official school district offices to apply to sub. I was ready. I was even sort of willing. As I haven’t actually done that arm-gnawing thing, yet, I was even able.

Turns out that anyone who works in the schools has to go through criminal background checks. Don’t get me wrong; I fully support this idea. Good for them! Protect my kid! Her teacher may have taken seven weeks to learn her name, but at least she’s not an axe murderer! Good!

I’m not worried about the check itself. Check away! All of my horrible deeds are off the record! (I kid! No horrible deeds! Also, I am kind to animals!) But it takes eight to twelve weeks to come back.

*insert sound of me screaming loudly, here*

If I’d known that, I would’ve applied sooner, I think.

So… for now… gonna sit here and say, “Would you like to Biggie-size that?” for a while until I can say it with a straight face….


  1. Casey

    well just keep posting stuff on ebay until then…I was thinking last night that you could probably find some really good stuff in the Still Good Shed down at the dump…but then I’m a dork like that..heh

  2. Jennifer

    Substitute teaching isn’t all that bad. I’ve been there and been a “real” teacher. A little advice: never sub for a high school P.E. class; if there’s no seating chart, make one; (if you’re subbing at a jr. high or middle school) tell them you’ve done this before and you don’t have any problems sending kids to the office.
    The cool thing about subbing is you can take the jobs you want and if perchance the dream job or other job comes along you don’t have to worry about quitting.
    You also might try other school districts in your area (smaller towns) as not all of them will do a criminal background check or some get the information back faster.
    I wish you the best of luck!

  3. Jenn

    Here’s hoping you get the sub job. Then you just have to pray for teachers to get sick (in the grades that you want, heh.) and then go teach ’em. I hope your background check won’t *really* take 8 to 12 weeks, my husband had to have one and his took 3 weeks, I think. But different state, different process, I guess. Good luck!

  4. ben

    That’s crazy! My last criminal background check took a week, maybe two.

    But, as has already been said, I live in a different state.

    Now, what server are you on so I can figure out why it keeps plugging the wrong e-mail address in when I try and comment?

  5. cbw

    I’m a long-time lurker, firt time poster (hee!). I have been substitute teaching for a few months. For me it has been an odd combination of boring (watching the calcium video six times in seven hours) and hilarious (dealing with the high school boys who claimed that the fourth leg of their table mysteriously disappeared, and they didn’t notice when or how – I did get the table leg back on the table before the end of the period, by the way). I hope your check comes back fast, and that you enjoy subbing.

  6. T. Marie

    Hang in there Mir. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t show up until you’re sure you’re being buried alive. That’s where I was. And no, the light isn’t an oncoming train. Maybe they’ll need subs so bad that they’ll rush that check; because I know they can be done online in 10 minutes. The things you learn when you were a collections employee in a former life… *sigh*

  7. Douglas

    I suppose by “after care” you are referring to some official after-school program, probably offered through the school?

    I’m wondering if there is a more affordable alternative. Is there another parent you’re aware of, who is also meeting his/her child at 3:30, who might not be averse to Chickadee’s playing with her/his son/daughter for an hour-and-a-half each afternoon, for a lesser fee than the official program?

    My two boys were 17 months apart, and were great playmates, so it was much easier to have the two of them together, instead of just one or the other, because they entertained each other.

    Perhaps Chickadee could be the labor-saving entertainer for one of your friends or neighbors.

    Just an idea.

    God has something great in store for you. Keep praying.


  8. Jenny

    Mir! That’s a great idea. Shoot, apply to all the local districts.

    And this stuff has been rocking my sad little world. The kids are even taking it, willingly.


  9. udge

    Go for it, babe! Good luck. And BTW, I know from my mother (who was a teacher) that constant exposure to all those germs hardens you up. When she retired from teaching, she had accumulated three years of unused sick days.

  10. Sheryl

    Before I landed a teaching job I substituted for about 9 months, and it really is much better than its reputation, but what is wrong with these New England people that they are not giving you the fream job? Now please don’t kill me, but does your ex have any business contacts in the town where you live?

  11. Barb

    I subbed for a while and it really wasn’t bad. After a while I learned which classes to turn down and which ones were the good ones. My kids were in elementary school, and I only subbed at their school. It worked great!

    Good luck!

  12. Fraulein N

    Why in the world does a background check take so long? Stupid criminals, getting the system all backed up. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you find a Good Job in the meantime.

  13. Amalah

    But how many McD employees can say, “Fuck all y’all, I’m a freaking Diarist Awards finalist, so kiss my ass.” Not too many I would guess.

    Also, you’ll get free coffee!!

  14. dad

    If they contact me as part of the background check, I’m going to tell them the truth.
    You’re in big trouble!

  15. Steve

    Wait…you mean farting is not the height of hilarity?

    Oy, my whole weltanschauung needs an adjustment!

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