As a certified teacher who desires to stay within the classroom, but who can’t withstand the daily demands of full-time employment on top of my other responsibilities, I currently am employed as a substitute teacher for a local public school district.
One of the greatest challenges for a substitute teacher is being able to find out when a job is available. The district that I am employed in uses a commonly utilized service called Aesop. With the Aesop system, you can log onto the website and see if any jobs have become available for the district in which you work. My difficulty in using this system was that I didn’t have the time or the ability to continuously access the website to see if there were any jobs open. Because of this difficulty, I was not able to work as often as I would have liked.
Looking for a Solution
I decided to see if there were some apps that could help me with this dilemma. I went onto the Apple app store to see if someone had developed an app to facilitate these specific needs. Sure enough, they did. I found three apps that were designed to specifically help with the notification of open jobs for substitute teachers. Each app is designed to notify the user of available jobs immediately as they are posted on their district’s chosen operating system, like Aesop. In addition, each one of these apps provide additional services which vary slightly from one another. The available apps that I found are as follows: Jobulator, SubstituteAlert, and SubAssistant.
Jobulator is the simpler app of the three that I tested. The process for setting up an account is fairly easy. The only two necessary steps to set up the app is to register for the free trial online at their website and to download the app onto your electronic device. This app provides a message center for notifications from the school district’s operating system (which in my case is Aesop), messages from Jobulator, and Web Alerts. They also provide a calendar which is linked to the Aesop website and has the ability to be synced with your personal calendar if desired. Jobulator sends notifications of available jobs by sending a notification that pops up on your phone’s opening screen.
It also has several different sounds to choose from so that it can be audibly unique from the typical sounds that are standard on most popular cellular phones. The final service within the app is the help center. You can test the app to assure you that it is working properly and you can log out or deactivate the app on your mobile device. After a one month trial period, they give you the option to purchase the continued service for the cost of $40 for one full calendar year of use. That breaks down to $3.33 a month.
SubstituteAlert was the second app that I signed up for the free trial service. This app has the basic settings as the previous app. It contains selections for available jobs, current jobs, settings, ratings, email contact options, and a logout feature. This app also offers different notification sounds, auto-sync with current calendar, and a Google Maps link for directions to the job location. For me, I thought that the Google map option was a wonderful addition, but potentially unnecessary for most users since they are usually aware of the location of the schools within the districts where they work.
Another difference from the previous app is that this app recalled the jobs that were already signed up for in a “list” format rather than showing the jobs on a calendar. This format is quick and convenient for a fast glance, but I found that the “list” format was more difficult for me to use overall as I was trying to see if I was available for a job several weeks out from the current date because I would have to scroll down several times to view the date in question. It is definitely a personal preference issue when deciding which format is best. After the free month trial period, you are given an option to purchase continued services for one of the following two plans: $5 per month for email notifications only or $7 per month for the option of phone call, text, or email notifications to your preferred device.
The third and final app that I analyzed was SubAssistant. Even though the set up process for this app was same as the other two apps, when I logged into the app on my electronic device, I was not able to get the app to send me notifications of available jobs off of the Aesop system. Even after verifying that I was signed into the Aesop system on this app, it would not successfully send me text notifications for available jobs. It was pretty disappointing because one feature that I was excited to test out was the ability to log into multiple notification systems on one app.
For instance, if I worked for multiple school districts and one district used the Aesop system and another district used the SubFinder system, I would be able to register with this app to receive notifications from both individual systems through this one app. That would be very convenient for substitute teachers that work for multiple districts. I tried to contact them through an email about the complications that I was experiencing, but I did not receive a reply. The cost for the continued services for this app is $8 per month.
Overall, I chose the Jobulator app for my personal needs because it was the simplest, fastest, and most user-friendly for me. I have been able to sign up for at least 10-12 jobs per month because I don’t miss the jobs that are available anymore. Don’t waste time chasing after the jobs and let the substitution apps notify you when a job is available.