This year I am guest teaching while I finish my Master’s degree. It works out quite well for me. I can teach during the day and leave at the end of the school day without having any additional grading or lesson planning. I can also take off as many days as needed to work on my Master’s. There are several challenges to guest teaching, however, one in particular is that the guest teacher is responsible for accepting their own jobs.
One of the most commonly used automated systems for guest teachers is Aesop, which stands for Automated Educational Substitute Operator, by Frontline Technologies. Essentially, it is a central database in which district personnel can create a substitute job for an employee who will be absent. Once the job is created, it then uploaded into the substitute employee database for that district.
In years passed, the Aesop system would then call eligible substitutes until one of them accepted the job. However, in the last few years, substitutes have been able to log on to Aesop system via computer and accept jobs online as soon as they were posted. This led to too many people being tied to their computer, constantly hitting refresh and hoping to snag a job. So, Frontline developed some software that could assist substitutes in regaining some of their “freedom” back. This software is called Jobulator.
At first, Jobulator was only available on the desktop. It was a program that ran in the background and an alert with a sound would notify the substitute employee when a job had been posted. The person could walk over to their computer and click “accept”. While this was definitely a step in the right direction towards substitute employee freedom, it was not enough. The employees were still tied to being within hearing distance of their computers.
Jobulator Mobile was then created to finally break those chains. It works wonderfully, the substitute employee receives a push notification to his or her iPhone or Android smartphone when a new job is posted. Then, the employee can simply hit “accept” and immediately receive a confirmation email. Now, a substitute employee can accept jobs wherever he or she is. There is a drawback of course. Since all eligible substitute employees receive the same push notification at the same time, the job will frequently be accepted within seconds. It does take some ninja-like skills sometimes. And if you don’t get the job? Don’t worry, there will always be another one.
The chief complaint against Jobulator is that it a subscription service that costs $39.99/year. Many people do not feel that it is fair to have to “pay to get jobs”. It is important to remember that Jobulator is optional; you do not have to use it. Also, it is imperative you differentiate Jobulator from Aesop. While both services are provided by Frontline, the district that the substitute employee works for pays for the Aesop service and the substitute employee (optionally) pays for Jobulator. The subscription cost of Jobulator goes toward paying for the development and maintenance of the service, however, I cannot guarantee that Frontline does not profit from it.
For some people, paying the $39.99 subscription service fee for Jobulator is too risky. If you are considering using Jobulator but are still somewhat concerned about it, then you should watch the video or try the 30 day free-trial. You do not have to enter in a credit card in order to participate in the trial. You just need your name, an email address, your Aesop number, and your Aesop pin number.
There are a number of new features that will be added to Jobulator in the near future with the release of Jobulator 4.01. These include integration into your iCal or Google calendar, French and Spanish language compatibility, and functionality on iPad and Kindle Fire. I am especially looking forward to the calendar integration.
Personally, I love Jobulator. I have used it to work every single day that I want to work, easily block off days for my grad school work, and always know at least a day or two (or more!) when and where I will be working. It eliminates the rushing that comes with the Aesop system calling me late in the morning and not having enough time to eat breakfast. Sure, the $39.99 subscription fee seems steep at first, but that boils down to 80 cents per week. You’ll be able to recoup the cost in a half day’s worth of work, but I think the ability to wake up in the morning with enough time to prepare for the day and eat breakfast is worth at least $39.99/year.