I’m sitting at someone else’s desk, using her resources and marking her students’ essays. I check her mailbox, use her copy code and check her voicemail. I am an LTO.
LTO stands for Long Term Occasional teacher. This is a fancy way of saying I’m filling in for someone. Disclaimer: I am one of many teachers in this board (and province) who are in a similar position; however, my experience could be (and likely is) different than many others out there like me.
When I was in teacher’s college, we were told the job prospects after graduation would be slim. It was a well-known fact in 2009 that there were simply too many teachers and not enough jobs for them all. Upon hearing this, I decided to make a plan. I decided that I’d stick it out for five years and then re-evaluate the situation. So here I am. Re-evaluating.
There was a point in my career, not long ago, when I had almost given up. In between jobs supply teaching, I would search the internet for other jobs inside and outside the world of education. But, I decided to stick it out a bit longer (I had to get through those five years first!) and continued on this path. Reflecting on this, I’m glad I decided to stay in this profession.
I love my job. I get to be social, I get to meet interesting people and I get to challenge young minds. I often complain about my current situation and I realize I have to stop. I commented to a colleague last week that I was tired of interviewing every few months for a new job and then realized I’m fortunate to even have interviews considering many of my friends and colleagues are still waiting on the sidelines trying to get their foot in the door.
No, I don’t have my own desk and no I don’t have my own mailbox (well, sometimes I do), but for a brief time, I can call them “my students” and that’s the most important part, isn’t it? I am thankful to continue to get jobs and hope that one day I’ll become a permanent teacher. Until then, I’ll be the “new guy” every few months and I’ll be okay with it too.