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davi diaz

From burnout to balance with Swing

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Formerly a full-time educator, Davi Diaz’s substitute teaching journey began with a desire for change. Burned out from her previous profession, Davi took a leap of faith and found renewed passion in her work with Swing. 

Hailing from Sacramento, California, Davi has been substitute teaching with Swing Education since summer 2023. Since completing numerous assignments, she has lots of insight on what makes a successful substitute teaching assignment.

Factors for accepting a request

When selecting assignments, I prioritize several factors. The first thing I look for is whether lesson plans are provided. It’s immensely helpful to have a roadmap for the day in order to understand where the students are in their learning journey. I find that it’s much easier to slip in and see where the students already are, rather than starting from scratch. Proximity to my home and my daughter’s daycare is also important so I can more easily balance my personal and professional life.

When searching for a new assignment, I don’t typically use filters because I am amazed by the wide array of opportunities available in my area, and I like to have options. I’ve recently gotten into the field of adult education, so if I am looking for something specific, I’ll filter for ninth-twelfth grades. Before working with Swing, I didn’t know this was an area I would enjoy, but I keep coming back to these assignments every time they pop up. It’s a completely different dynamic from teaching elementary school children — it’s a very different type of rewarding. 

Subbing with Swing Education

Before I started substitute teaching with Swing, I was a full time teacher. The behavior at that school site was so out of control that it got to the point where I hated going to work, interacting with kids, dealing with the parents. It all became too much. I quit with the intention of going into a new field, but I found myself perusing postings for education. So I joined with Swing and figured it was a good way to get a taste of everything. Substitute teaching showed me that I didn’t hate teaching, I just hated the position that I was in.

Swing has made my work life much more flexible than it ever has been because I get to choose where and when I work. I don’t have to worry about calling in sick or using vacation time to be with my daughter for an event at school.

Advice for schools

Each school campus presents a unique experience, and I’ve encountered a diverse range of environments during my time with Swing. Some schools provide comprehensive support, guiding substitutes through the check-in process, providing access to facilities, and fostering a sense of belonging within the school community. These experiences are particularly rewarding — they make me feel valued and appreciated as a substitute teacher. On the flip side, I’ve also encountered schools where the support for substitutes is minimal, leaving me to find my way around independently. Staff interaction is non-negotiable for me. The sites that don’t make the extra effort are harder to navigate and get through the day.

I really do value the schools that take the time to make you feel comfortable and show you the lay of the land so you don’t feel like an outsider. They go out of their way to make me feel like I’m a part of the community, and that’s really special. I really appreciate when teachers come up to me in the staff lounge or at recess to introduce themselves and tell me a bit about the classroom I’m covering for. Staff interaction is necessary to a positive subbing experience, and the schools that lack that aspect are harder to navigate.

Reflecting on my journey with Swing, I’m grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me to explore diverse educational settings, connect with fellow educators, and make a positive impact in classrooms across Sacramento. Substitute teaching has reignited my passion for education and reaffirmed my belief in its transformative power. With Swing, I look forward to continuing my journey as a dedicated educator, committed to inspiring and empowering learners of all ages.

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Whitepaper

Anatomy of a successful substitute request

To find substitutes that fit your community and want to return to your district, there are concrete steps you can take to make your sub assignments as attractive as possible.

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