From her early years as a student in Pennsylvania and Florida to her current role as a substitute teacher with Swing Education, Mamie Dinani has spent the majority of her life in and around education.
Mamie, who retired as a full-time teacher in 2005, grew up in a family of educators: her mother and uncle were teachers, her aunt an assistant principal. And for the last four decades, she’s taught in the United States and in Zimbabwe, from elementary through adult education. Mamie has been a full-time teacher for Rowland Unified in Southern California, a substitute for Torrance Unified in Southern California, Chico Unified in Northern California, and a substitute teacherSwing.
“Growing up, my family was totally focused on education,” Mamie recalls. “That strong background was instilled in me, and I’ve carried it on even with my own children and all the students that I work with.”
After moving to Northern California in the fall of 2016 to be closer to her daughter, Mamie was running some errands when she drove past Making Waves Academy, a charter school near Oakland. She decided to poke her head in, and ended up chatting with the school’s substitute teacher coordinator.
To her surprise, Mamie learned that like a growing number of schools, Making Waves did not directly employ substitute teachers. Instead, it partnered with Swing Education, which easily connects schools and subs via an online platform.
That caught Mamie’s attention. She signed up with Swing and started subbing in local schools a few short weeks later.
Over her two-plus years with Swing, she’s made a difference for thousands of area students at dozens of area schools.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Swing,” Mamie says. “It’s quite unique, I think.
“I’ve really liked that I’ve had a chance to sub in a variety of schools — elementary, middle school, and high school. I enjoy working with students and encouraging them in their studies.”
A better way to sub
Shortly after starting with Swing in 2016, Mamie took a long-scheduled trip to Zimbabwe. Because Swing substitute teachers set their own schedules (and there’s no minimum or maximum commitment required), there were no issues with her time away, and she picked up right where she left off upon her return.
Mamie also appreciates Swing’s request notification system. As opposed to her previous substitute teaching positions, which made assignments available only over the phone, Swing notifies teachers via text message and an online platform.
“It’s the modern day way of doing things,” Mamie says. “Of course I prefer the texts.”
Above all, though, Mamie appreciates that she’s able to supplement her retirement income doing something that she loves — sharing her passion for learning with a wide range of students.
“All the time that I’ve been in education, I’ve enjoyed it,” Mamie says. “I never got tired of it. I try to tell kids that learning and education are so exciting, and I always think about how I can do the right thing for students in teaching and preparing them for their future.”