This is a difficult and stressful time for many of our NQTs as you set out on the subbing trail, hoping for days, weeks or longer periods of employment, hoping to get your foot in the door, get yourselves known in schools.
But it needn’t be stressful. Remember that the vast majority of principals and teachers know what it was like to be starting out and will be really helpful and supportive. When you are going into a new school, you are almost always going into an environment that will welcome you and make things as easy as possible for you.
Here are a few tips to make things easier
Sign up for the INTO Subsearch service – Subs register their details and availability online and principals use it to search for subs available in their area (http://subsearch.into.ie/)
Sign up for the Text-a-Sub service (run through educationposts.ie) – Subs register their details and principals advertise available position via text or email (http://www.educationposts.ie/page/advertise_a_post/textasub)
Do up a c.v. and a business card, and call in to local schools – the personal touch and putting a face to the name is always helpful. Be aware of the time you call in – if the school has a teaching principal, calling first thing in the morning before school starts or after pupils have left for the day is clearly best. Otherwise you will not get a chance to talk to the principal.
When you are in a school try to talk to the INTO staff rep, find out information about forthcoming INTO meetings (Branch quarterlies take place in October and some branches will be holding meetings for new members and special meetings on the issue of Pay Equalisation before then). By attending INTO meetings, you will not alone keep informed about issues affecting you but you can also use the opportunity to make contact with principals and chat to them on an informal basis – again putting a face to the name and making personal contact.
Some INTO branches and Districts run local sublists, keeping a register of subs available for work and circulating this information to local schools. A really good example of this is the one in District 3 (Donegal/Leitrim) run on a voluntary basis by a couple of local INTO members. Their facebook page is at – https://www.facebook.com/donegal.sublist
There are some really useful groups and pages where you can find valuable information. One of those is the ‘Limerick Teachers’ facebook page – www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009443056222&fref=ts&ref=br_tf
The Voice for Teachers page www.facebook.com/VoiceForTeachers provides a forum where you can ask questions and find out information about anything you’re not sure of – especially with regard to pay and conditions issues.
It probably doesn’t need to be said – but before getting any work you must be registered with the Teaching Council (www.teachingcouncil.ie) and you must have been vetted under the new vetting regulations (unless you’re working in a school that you were in or on their sublist before the end of April) – see http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/Vetting/Guide-to-applying-for-Vetting/
Above all, enjoy the experience. You have worked hard to gain your qualification, you are setting out on a new journey with huge possibilities opening up before you.
And please do join the INTO and become active in your local branch. By working together we can bring about changes and improvements in pay and working conditions. The Pay Equalisation campaign has begun to build momentum and needs the active involvement of as many Lower Paid Teachers as possible to be successful.
You will find full information about how to join here – http://www.into.ie/ROI/AboutINTO/JoinINTO/HowtoJoin/
Subs pay a reduced membership fee of €85 per school year. For those qualified post-2012 there is a reduced rate of €25. A sub usually becomes a member of the branch of the school you are teaching in. If you move to a school in another branch area, you keep membership of the original branch for the full school year. Alternatively, a sub can become a member of the branch that you live in.