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Aesop?
Old 08-19-2013, 11:44 AM
 
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Hi everyone,

I'm new here but not new to subbing. I've been subbing in the same district for 9 years now. I recently got an email saying that our district will start using Aesop for sub calling. We will have an informational meeting this Thursday.

What is your experience with Aesop as opposed to being called by the school secretary, principal, etc? Also, can you think of any issues I should bring up at the meeting?

Thanks!

Tammy


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I. Love. Aesop.
Old 08-19-2013, 12:08 PM
 
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I sub in several districts and all but one use Aesop. What do I love about it? It enables me to fill up my schedule ahead of time for the most part. I still have some days where it ends up being the early-morning call, but I can mostly avaoid that now.

I can often see what's available and CHOOSE which job I'd like to take.

The one district that still uses a sectretary - I hate the way she does things - she'll just call and say "are you available?" before she tells me what job it is.

I also feel like Aesop levels out the playing field. Some teachers ask for their favorites all the time. Yes, there is the Preferred Substitute option on Aesop (in fact, I'm listed as that for several teachers), BUT - after a while, if the person hasn't responded, it becomes open to everyone.

When I started subbing 3 years ago, only one of my districts used Aesop - I keep hoping that last one gives in and makes the switch!
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My town doesn't use Aesop but...
Old 08-19-2013, 12:23 PM
 
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My town uses SmartFind Express, but from what I've seen here it's similar to Aesop. I had to laugh about the secretary who asked, "Are you available?" before saying what the job was. One former Substitute co-ordinator, who would generally only call about Special Ed Para positions, would always do that too. I learned to always respond, "What job do you have available?"

I love having a system rather than relying on someone to call me.
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It's Great!
Old 08-19-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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I've only had a few times when it's been a school secretary or someone at the division call me and that's because all 3 of the divisions that I am currently in use a subfinder system of one kind of another (2 are now using Aesop).
I really like it because as someone mentioned you can job shop and see everything that is available rather than only hearing about one job. I actually like it better than subfinder express (the one division that used that just switched over to Aesop this year) only because Aesop tells you every job that is available right away and you don't have to click around or input dates (although, subfinder express did have an app which was nice).
I think you'll really like it... I can't think of any issues you would need to bring up but I'm already used to using Aesop... since you are used to an actual living and breathing person calling you might having questions about how you will find information out? Like anything you would normally ask the person who calls you will no longer be able to ask (well... you can ask but the robot on the other end won't respond). I still have an issue with figuring out school start times. Sometimes the information that you get is for when they would like you to be at the school and sometimes it is for when school is starting and they actually want you there 20 or so minutes before the time that they give you.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:17 PM
 
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I love ...

that I can see the whole list of jobs at once and choose which one I want!

that I'm not put on the spot to answer quickly during a random phone call, but can check the computer at the best time for me.

that if I don't want to work on a particular day, I don't have to explain to a person. I just don't click on anything.



The only things I don't like are ...

that if a one-day assignment unexpectedly turns into two or three days, the kids don't have the consistency of the same substitute.

it makes some teachers uneasy because when absences are planned, they're used to arranging their own subs and knowing who it will be in advance.


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Old 08-19-2013, 03:19 PM
 
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LynneLC - great response - I'll have to remember that!

cpenner - I agree about the weird times - some teachers put in VERY odd times that I know are not correct. I just accept the job and arrive/leave at the correct times. With one school that I know gets out at 2:30 (high school), there were a few teachers that put in 3:30 as the end time. At this school, the building is all but vacant by 2:45!! So, yeah - not sure what they're thinking when they enter that info, but I just do what the school itself wants.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:22 PM
 
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Quote:
My town uses SmartFind Express, but from what I've seen here it's similar to Aesop.
I've used them both; they're basically the same thing.

I like Aesop. I really like being able to see listings online and/or call in on MY schedule, not someone else's. And like others have said, it's easier to say no to a computer than to an actual person if you're busy/sick/need a mental health day/hate that particular job assignment/etc.

One warning about all the advice you're getting here: Districts can do a fair bit of customizing of Aesop. There are lots of features that can be turned on and off at the district level. So my experience might be different than PP's experiences, and they might all be different than your experience.
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Thanks!
Old 08-19-2013, 04:15 PM
 
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Thanks for the comments everybody!

The sub caller at my school does the "are you available" thing too. I can always tell whether it's going to be an easy day or a tough day by whether she tells me the teacher's name or not!

I have a feeling there will be some screwups with it to begin with. But we'll see how it goes.

To Lakeside's comment....I really don't think it's good to have several different subs in the same job either. I bet there will be some complaints about that in my district for sure.

Thanks again!

Tammy
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:04 PM
 
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Sometimes, though, when it's more than one day, if the teacher lets the office know, they can try to get the same sub back and put it into the system instead of the teacher. I've had that happen more than once - I've had the office contact me at the end of the school day asking if I can come back the next day.
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:32 PM
 
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Glad to hear it. I sure hate to be that third or fourth sub in a row!


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Old 08-20-2013, 04:52 AM
 
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I like being able to choose days in advance and not having to tell someone that I don't want a particular job or grade. The districts I sub for use PCMI which is a lot like Aesop, and one of the districts just recently switched to Aesop. So I will soon be using both Aesop and PCMI. There is one thing though that I don't like about using it, when the teachers first set up their accounts they put in their grade and record their greeting and unless it is updated by them it stays that way the entire time. Which means that if they change the grade they teach it isn't updated unless the teacher remembers to go in and update. I found this out by calling PCMI to complain about the incorrect sub info on their site.

This has caused problems since their are certain grades I prefer not to accept. One time I accepted kindergarten but when I got to the job I found out it was actually 5th grade, had I known it was that grade I never would have accepted it. It had been years since the teacher had taught that grade, the teachers often have no idea they are supposed to go into their PCMI accounts and update their information. I assume that Aesop doesn't update automatically either. I went to the offices of several schools I Sub for and told them this and they said they would send memos to the teachers to update their sub info, because not even the office realized they were responsible for keeping PCMI updated when teachers change the grade that they teach. It's best to get a list from the Schools of the teacher's and grades they teach at the beginning of each school year, so that you have updated information. I mainly get a list from schools I sub at frequently.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:51 AM
 
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Thanks, Sub14! That's a good point. I only sub at a couple of schools and there's a staff list at the district's website for each school. Of course, that staff list doesn't get updated like it should. But since I limit myself mostly to one school, the other is small so I don't get many calls, then I've heard through the grapevine when someone gets moved. I just checked the staff list for the elementary that I mostly sub at and there's been a lot of changes! Some have retired, others moved to different schools, and there's new teachers I've never heard of. In the past, when I'd get called at the beginning of school to sub for a teacher, I'd say Yes but what does she teach now? At least I won't have to do that with Aesop!

I would bet that after a few years of using Aesop, there'll be a lot of teachers in my district with the wrong grade level on their accounts.
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An AESOP thing
Old 08-20-2013, 08:29 AM
 
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before you are allowed to use AESOP the first time, you have to click to agree with legal disclaimers regarding using third party devices on AESOP (they sell their own alert to new job postings) and other legalese about them essentially not being liable for any employment glitches.

It is a handy way to accept jobs You might ask if the settings will allow teachers to select prearranged subs, some districts allow it, others don't. It can make a difference in leaving contact information for the teacher in case s/he wants you again.

BTW, Welcome to ProTeacher. There are lots of people on here who can be helpful lending an ear when you've had a good or bad day, offering information and advice, etc. You might want to explore some of the various boards--it's a nice community.

There is a place to accept or reject jobs--I NEVER reject individual jobs, I just don't click on them. I believe (without knowing for sure) that such rejections are recorded and may be reported to the district.

You can access the sales pitch AESOP uses to districts and some articles about teacher absenteeism from their sub assigning site. It is good to know what they are telling your employer regarding unemployment benefits for subs, etc.

There have been many discussions about AESOP over years on this board. You can do a search of only ProTeacher in the hard to see search box at the upper right hand corner of most pages.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:00 PM
 
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The district I work for uses AESOP and I find it easy to use.

I will admit to purchasing the app Jobulator for my phone and computer. Others dislike the app and use check for change on their computers. In my district AESOP does not show jobs on Sunday morning, but Jobulator does. Yes I pay $40 per year, but I think it gives me a leg up on getting the jobs I want. JMTC
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Incorrect Info
Old 08-20-2013, 07:17 PM
 
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Someone above mentioned about teachers info being out of date on the system and going in for the wrong grade. Well once I showed up at the school that was listed online and told the secretary I was there to sub for Mr. so and so and she told me he had switched schools! Luckily they weren't far from each other but come on... that should be updated (I should mentioned that it was not a division that uses Aesop though).

Also, another handy thing about Aesop is teachers can upload their plans for the day so you can see them in advance. If you have a lot of time on your hands the day before and get to see the plans you can maybe plan a little something something of your own. Or at the very least know when they have phys-ed so you can go to the bathroom.

AND, teachers can leave notes too... so say they have recess duty they can say that on there so that you come prepared (although, I often find they don't say when they have duty) or tell you which parking stall number is theirs (another story - once I was teaching in the ahem.ghetto.ahem and got a parking spot... but when I got there someone had already taken the spot and I had to park on the street... luckily it wasn't all 2 hour parking).
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:01 AM
 
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I appreciate all the tips!

As to teachers not updating their accounts...after seeing how computer illiterate so many teachers can be...that doesn't surprise me! Several years ago I was offered the computer lab job and turned it down immediately. Any time I subbed for her, at least a couple of teachers would stop by in a panic about something being wrong with their computer. They're supposed to call the tech division for the district but the lady that was in the lab back then spoiled them by immediately dropping everything and going to take care of their problems....most of which were caused by the teacher! They'd see she was gone and say "Do YOU know anything about computers?" I'd say "Nope, sorry!" I definitely don't have the patience with adults to deal with that daily.

CPenner, when you see the teacher's lesson plans on Aesop do you have to print them out or do you assume that the teacher has a printout on her desk?
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Lesson plans on Aesop
Old 08-21-2013, 06:14 AM
 
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If the teacher posts the plans on Aesop, I always print them. Almost always, the teacher also leaves the day's plans on the desk. Sometimes, the teacher also prints the Aesop attachment and leaves it for me ... this is interesting, because if the teacher prints it after I have accepted the job, the print will include information about the sub (me), including my Aesop sub rating.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:03 AM
 
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Oh that's interesting, 2strike! Thanks!
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