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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Working for pennies

Not too long ago I applied to be a substitute teacher ... again. (I used to substitute quite a bit about 10 years ago.) I just started about a month ago and have only had an assignment once. In order to be able to be on the substitute list for the next school year I must accept, and work, at least three times per semester/term. So, instead of waiting for the Subfinder System to call me with an assignment, I've written on my to-do list to remind myself to call it each night this week. I remembered last night and accepted an assignment for tomorrow.
As I lay in bed last night I was feeling somewhat pleased with myself for remembering to call Subfinder and for accepting an assignment. It's extra money, right? All of a sudden I had a sinking feeling as the numbers rolled through my head. I, in fact, wouldn't be making much at all.

You see, substitute teachers with a four-year college degree (that's me) make a whopping $88 per day (as compared to those without a degree who make $86 per day.) After taxes I should bring home about $82 for the day. Daycare for the baby for the day is $35 (their father pays for the other children). So, that leaves $47.

I guess I could look at this positively = that's $47 more than I had before. But I look at it like this: That isn't even enough to fill up my tank. If I bought a box of diapers and a jumbo back of wipes I'd probably have less than $20 left. Not enough for a bill. Okay, let's use the $47 for a bill. Hmmm? Maybe the water bill, which sometimes (really rarely) gets down to less than $40.

Then I got to thinking... the last time I had an assignment it was for half a day, which is $44. After taxes I had $40 and some change. I paid the sitter $35. That left $5. To me it's like I worked for nothing. Well, after tithes that left 60 cents. Okay, so I'd say that's nothing. (Oops! I forgot tithes on the last amount so I'd have about $42 to work with.)
The only way to make this somewhat profitable is to have an assignment everyday so that I can make up for the daycare costs. Expecting an assignment everyday isn't practical. This is a gig where you're called on an as needed basis. They even let you know during the substitute orientation that it is definitely not reliable as far as determining an income. Unless, however, you're able to land some long-term assignments (10 or more consecutive days for the same teacher), which pays $117.50 per day.
Right now, I think I need to come up with a new plan!
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