Thursday, August 27, 2009

Employment Insurance for Occasional Teachers

Occasional teachers may apply for employment insurance with Service Canada. CLICK HERE for information on the terms under which you might be considered if applying. What should be a nice security net during times when teaching is not an option (summer and March break) is a more difficult process than it makes itself out to be - but if you do have all your documentation in order, I guess it would be a somewhat reliable source of income. Consider this an advice piece, please learn from my mistake.

I do have to commend Service Canada for assembling an online application process that is very easy to use and leaves little room for error. CLICK HERE for the application in English. Service Canada indicates that once your application is processed and sent for approval there is a minimum 28 day waiting period. Here is my caution: be sure that you have all of your documentation collected and prepared - records of employment especially - for when you complete the application. My application, completed at the end of July, is still hanging in limbo as I await a final record of employment from the University I worked for last year - a case of "check back early next week". I've contacted Service Canada and unfortunately no further action can be taken with my application until this R.O.E. is acquired. In my case, because I've worked several jobs (camps, tutoring, part-time contracts with StatsCan) I forgot about this position and did not foresee any serious difficulty in collecting the R.O.E. It will likely be nearly October before I find out if I've qualified, and closer to November before I see any compensation for my time unemployed this summer.

So, if you're as forgetful as I am, review your employment history over the past year well before you begin your application for E.I. Luckily, and this I did not know, you can request that your R.O.E.'s are uploaded directly to Service Canada, and you can access them online after setting up an account - CLICK HERE to do that.

On an unrelated note, it felt like fall today in Ottawa. It's right around the bend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Welcome to "Yo, Sir! Hey, Miss!", a site that aims to unite individuals lost in the battlefield of occasional teaching in Canadian schools. Here is a place where you can share resources; learn about new issues pertaining to the teaching profession; voice your opinion about educational topics; share lesson plan and unit ideas; and, most important of all, connect with other occasional teachers from around the country and learn what they are doing to achieve success in the teaching profession. Here is a community for the lonely, nameless occasional teacher, who floats from school to school, never really becoming one of the team, erupting with ideas and driven to fulfill their pedagogical vision. Teach on, brothers and sisters!

As this site grows, both in content and population, there will be a number of changes to help you more easily access the ideas and resources shared. Ultimately, it will become a storehouse of go-to lesson/unit plans and classroom management techniques, a well-established list of critically reviewed resources, and a forum for intellectual discussion of educational issues. All teachers, even the seasoned, comfortably contracted ones, are welcome to share their ideas and success stories. What did you do, or what are you doing, to make your presence known in your school community? And what have been your most important and revealing educational experiences? I hope you feel free to share your thoughts, it will no doubt go a long way.